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OXFORD, Miss. – With its 85-75 victory over Eastern Kentucky Monday night in The Pavilion, the Ole Miss men’s basketball program reached a milestone. The win put the Rebels over .500 (1,283-1,282) for the first time since 1959.
While that’s definitely great news for the university, head coach Andy Kennedy and his team are focused solely on improving as a team. The Rebels (2-0) will host Georgia State (2-0) this Friday night before they head to Las Vegas for a short tournament during the week of Thanksgiving.
While Coach Kennedy is still tinkering with his lineup, a non-conference matchup against the Panthers will help him get more looks at the talented players on the roster.
Here are three things to watch for in the Rebels’ game with Georgia State:
Senior forward Marcanvis Hymon has been solid in the post in Ole Miss’ first two games of the regular season. On opening night against Louisiana-Lafayette, Hymon recorded a double-double (12 points, 13 rebounds) and followed up that performance with an eight-point, 10-rebound performance against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels. He also had three assists and three blocks in 24 minutes of action.
Hymon shot 3-for-6 from the field and went 2-of-4 from the free throw line. He has been very active on the both ends of the court, giving Andy Kennedy a reliable presence in the paint while newcomers Bruce Stevens and Dominik Olejniczak continue to adjust to the speed of Division I basketball.
The Rebels committed 14 turnovers in their season-opening win over the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns. Against EKU, however, Ole Miss finished with just eight turnovers and forced the Colonels into 12 turnovers, which led to 18 points for the Rebels.
It will be interesting to see if Ole Miss can keep turnovers down for a second-consecutive game, and if it can, the flow of the game will definitely be in the Rebels’ favor.
Ole Miss went 10-of-22 from 3-point range on Monday night, better than the 7-of-21 effort from last Friday night. When a lot of shots from beyond the arc are falling for the Rebels, the offense is more dangerous.
Ole Miss has an array of guards who can shoot from deep. Senior guard Deandre Burnett is a perfect example. He went 4-of-5 from long range Monday night, while Terence Davis finished 3-of-8. Last Friday night, freshman guard Devontae Shuler finished 4-for-6 from three-point range. On any given night, any of the Rebels’ guards can give the offense a spark.
Ole Miss and Georgia State will tip off Friday at 6:00 p.m. (CT) in The Pavilion.
(Feature image credit: Dan Anderson, The Rebel Walk)
Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men’s basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with Rivals.com. A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.