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Ole Miss Men’s Basketball Heads to the Coast to Face Southern Miss in Biloxi

Ole Miss Men’s Basketball Heads to the Coast to Face Southern Miss in Biloxi

BILOXI, Miss. – (Release) The No. 25 Ole Miss men’s basketball team is heading south for the holiday break, as they prepare to take on Southern Miss in Biloxi, Miss. in the Mississippi Coast Coliseum on Saturday, December 23 at 1 p.m.

Ole Miss Rebels (11-0)
Head Coach: Chris Beard • 1st Season at Ole Miss (11-0) • 248-98 career record (12th Season)

Southern Miss Golden Eagles (6-5)
Head Coach: Jay Ladner • 5th Season at Southern Miss (55-78) • 131-166 career record (10th Season)

Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
Play-by-Play: David Kellum
Color: Marc Dukes

The two programs faced off for the first time over 100 years ago in January of 1922, with Ole Miss defeating then “Mississippi Normal” in back-to-back games on the 27th and 28th. The Rebels won the first six games before Southern Miss came out on top 82-73 in Hattiesburg on December 15, 1966. In 1975, the two began a four-game-series meeting in Jackson, Miss. from 1975 to 1979. Overall, Ole Miss leads Southern Miss 18-6 in the series, including a 5-2 advantage when playing in a neutral location. In two games playing in Biloxi, Miss., they’re tied at one apiece, with the Rebels winning in 1993 and the Golden Eagles taking the win in 2008. These two last played in 2011, with Southern Miss picking up an 86-82 win at home in Hattiesburg.

• Ole Miss led by one at the half, 34-33, and went on to score 48 in the second. However, it wasn’t enough to outlast Southern Miss as they would eventually win by four.
• With 26 points, Terrance Henry led the Rebels offensively, adding three rebounds and a block. Reginald Buckner scored 10 and grabbed 16 boards with four blocks for Ole Miss.
• Five players from Southern Miss scored double digits, paced by Angelo Johnson with 23 points.

Southern Miss enters this contest with a record of 6-5. They have defeated William Carey, Xavier (La.), Milwaukee, UAB, Northwestern State, and Lamar. The Golden Eagles won 25 games last season.

Leading the team in scoring is former Rebel Austin Crowley, at 16.0 points per contest. Their leading rebounder is seven-foot center Tegra Izay at 6.1 per game.

The Golden Eagles have averaged 4.4 blocks per game on the season, the 75th-best mark in the NCAA, and at 8.0 steals per game rank 80th.

In his 10th season as an NCAA head coach and fifth at Southern Miss, Jay Ladner led his alma mater to their winningest season in eight years in 2022-23. He previously coached for five years at Southeastern La. where he won 76 total games.

Ole Miss is one of just three teams in the country who remain unbeaten, and are the only one in the SEC, at 11-0. This marks just the fourth time in program history the Rebels have gone undefeated through their first 11 games of the season, with the last coming in 2007-08. Their 11-0 run is also the tied for the fourth-longest overall win streak in program history.

2007-08: Began 13-0
2000-01: Began 11-0
1936-37: Began 11-0

Ole Miss is the third different program head coach Chris Beard has taken to a 10-0 start to begin a season during his nine years as a Division-I coach, having done so in 2015-16 with Little Rock and 2018-19 at Texas Tech.

On December 19 against Troy, Matthew Murrell secured 10 steals to set a new program record for Ole Miss, adding 18 points for the first double-double involving steals in school history. His 10 steals also tied the SEC record for most in a game, the most since 1991, and tie him for the 25th-most in a game in NCAA history. Murrell helped Ole Miss collect 16 steals in the game against Troy, setting a new SJB Pavilion record.

Increasing his average to 2.45 steals per game on the season, Murrell now ranks second in the SEC and No. 22 in the NCAA.

With the hiring of Chris Beard last March, the Ole Miss men’s basketball program is prepared to take the next step forward, bringing in one of the most successful coaches of the last decade.

Compiling a record of 248-98 as an NCAA head coach since 2012, Beard holds one of the highest win percentages in the nation, ranking 10th among active head coaches with 10 or more years of experience at 71.7%.

The 2019 AP National Coach of the Year has led three different programs to the NCAA Tournament over the previous eight years, and is undefeated in the opening round at 5-0. His all-time record in the NCAA Tournament is 11-5 (.688).

With 12 points in Ole Miss’ win over NC State, Matthew Murrell surpassed the 1,000-career point mark, becoming the 42nd student-athlete in program history to do so. Now at 1,102 points in his career with the Rebels, Murrell is 36th in school history and sits three points behind next on the list, Fred Cox (1971-1974).

After posting the third double-double of his career in the season opener (15 points, career-best 12 rebounds), Allen Flanigan followed it up with a career-best 29 points against Eastern Washington. The senior guard surpassed the 1,000 career-point mark against the Eagles, and played a key part in securing the victory by scoring eight of the last 11 points for the Rebels.

He once again led the team in scoring with 23 against Sam Houston, connecting on a career-best 14 makes from the free throw line. The senior helped lead Ole Miss to victory in their first road game at Temple with 26 points, the second-most scored in a game for his career, while tallying a career-best seven assists. Flanigan added his second double-double of the year in a 20-point win over NC State in the ACC/SEC Challenge with 15 points and 10 rebounds and helped Ole Miss take down Memphis with 18. His 17.0 points per game average ranks sixth in the SEC.

In the latest top-25 polls, Ole Miss ranks No. 25 in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll. The Rebels sit in the top-25 of both polls for the first time since January of 2019.

With their 11-0 record in basketball, Ole Miss is one of just three FBS programs in the country to start at 10-0 in hoops and compile a 10-win season in football. They are joined by James Madison and Oklahoma.

The No. 11 Ole Miss football team is set to take on No. 10 Penn State in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on December 30 in Atlanta.

Averaging 6.7 blocks per game, Ole Miss ranks sixth in the country and is keeping opponents to just 39.5 percent shooting from the floor which ranks No. 42 in the nation. The muscle in the paint for the Rebels has been Jamarion Sharp, who leads the SEC in blocks per game (2.82) and blocks (31), ranking No. 4 and No. 7 in the NCAA, respectively.

Sharp’s six blocks against Troy on December 19th are tied for the seventh-most in a game in school history.

Ole Miss has been one of the best in the country at defending the three-point shot this season, holding opponents to 28.4% from deep through nine games, the 31st-best mark in the nation. The Rebels have kept their foe to 20% or less in five games this year:

• Eastern Washington: 4-22 (18.2%)
• NC State: 3-25 (12.0%)
• Memphis: 3-18 (16.7%)
• Mount St. Mary’s: 5-25 (20.0%)
• UCF: 4-22 (18.2%)

Shooting 39.2 percent from the three-point line this season, Ole Miss currently ranks No. 14 in the country from efficiency beyond the arc. Through just 11 games, the Rebels have already shot 50 percent or better from deep four times, the most in an entire season since they hit that mark or better five times during the 2014-15 campaign.

• Detroit Mercy: 9-18 (50.0%)
• Temple: 10-18 (55.6%)
• Memphis: 11-22 (50.0%)
• California: 12-21 (57.1%)

Their current mark of 39.2 percent from three would be the second-highest shooting percentage from deep in a season in school history.

Through the first 11 games of the season, Ole Miss has shown elite ball control and movement on the offensive side. With a total of 178 assists compared to 120 turnovers, the Rebels’ ratio of 1.48 ranks No. 42 in the nation.

The team is led in assists by Jaylen Murray (44 assists to 21 turnovers) and Allen Flanigan (35 assists to 24 turnovers). Murray’s 4.0 assists per game ranks sixth in the SEC.

The roster for Ole Miss this season has the tallest student-athlete in Division I in forward Jamarion Sharp, and has the shortest student-athlete in the country in guard Cam Brent. The two stand a full two feet apart in height, with Sharp at 7’5″ and Brent at 5’5″.

Career milestones to watch for the Rebels:
Jaemyn Brakefield
• Career Rebounds: 443
• Career Games Played: 98
Matthew Murrell
• Career Points: 1,102 – Ranks 36th at Ole Miss (No. 35: Fred Cox, 1,105)
• Career 3PM: 165 – Ranks 10th at Ole Miss (No. 9: Terence Davis, 176)
• Career 3PA: 481 – Ranks 10th at Ole Miss (No. 9: Stefan Moody, 494)
• Career Steals – 98

Transfer forward Jamarion Sharp stands as the tallest student-athlete in NCAA Division I men’s basketball this season at 7’5″, a title he has held for three-straight seasons now, and is even listed as one of the tallest living humans on Wikipedia. After spending his first two college years at John A. Logan College, Sharp played two years at Western Kentucky from 2021 to 2023. In 64 games played, he averaged 7.8 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game, and became just the fifth person ever to lead the NCAA in blocks twice. His margin of 4.13 blocks per game during his career is currently the 13th-best average in college basketball history, while his 310 total blocks rank 85th all time.

With career block No. 300, Sharp became the 95th player in NCAA history to hit that mark. He is one of just 14 on that list to hit the 300-block mark in three years or less.

Career Blocked Shot Average (min. 225 blocks)
1. 5.87 – Keith Closs, Central Conn. St. (54 GP, 317 blks.)
2. 5.66 – Adonal Foyle, Colgate (87 GP, 492 blks.)
3. 5.34 – Shawn James, Northeastern/Duquesne (83 GP, 443 blks.)
4. 5.24 – David Robinson, Navy (67 GP, 351 blks.)
5. 4.66 – Mickell Gladness, Alabama A&M (85 GP, 396 blks.)
6. 4.65 – Wojciech Myrda, La.-Monroe (115 GP, 535 blks.)
7. 4.58 – Shaquille O’Neal, LSU (90 GP, 412 blks.)
8. 4.48 – Jerome James, Florida A&M (81 GP, 363 blks.)
9. 4.42 – Deng Gai, Fairfield (100 GP, 442 blks.)
10. 4.28 – Emeka Okafor, UConn (103 GP, 441 blks.)
11. 4.21 – Justin Williams, Wyoming (58 GP, 244 blks.)
12. 4.17 – Hasheem Thabeet, UConn (100 GP, 417 blks.)
13. 4.13 – Jamarion Sharp, Western Ky./Ole Miss (75 GP, 310 blks.)

Career Blocked Shots
t-81. 314 – Jordan Bachynski, Arizona State
t-81. 314 – Moussa Badiane, East Carolina
t-83. 311 – Cedric Kuakumensah, Brown
t-83. 311 – Jeff Withey, Kansas
85. 310 – Jamarion Sharp, Western Ky./Ole Miss

Among the seven transfers for the Rebels, over half have been to the NCAA Tournament during their collegiate career, with a total of five appearances. Brandon Murray (LSU, 2022 First Round), Austin Nunez (Arizona State, 2023 First Round), and Jaylen Murray (Saint Peter’s, 2022 Elite Eight) have each been to the postseason once in their careers, while Allen Flanigan has been twice (Auburn, 2022 and 2023 Second Round).

The Ole Miss men’s basketball coaching staff is one of the more experienced around the country. In his 14th year as a collegiate head coach, Chris Beard is joined on the court by former head coaches Win Case (16 years), Brian Burg (three years), and Wes Flanigan (two years). Assistant coach Bob Donewald Jr. has 16 years of head coaching experience at the professional and national level, while assistant Al Pinkins has been an associate or assistant coach at six different NCAA Division-I programs, including four within the SEC. The Ole Miss coaching staff has at five other SEC programs: Auburn, Florida, LSU, Mississippi State, and Tennessee.

Head coach Chris Beard and the Ole Miss coaching staff put together one of the top transfer classes in the conference, bringing in seven new players that will help punctuate Beard’s emphasis on defense. Two of the top active career leaders in blocked shots, Moussa Cisse (Oklahoma State) and Jamarion Sharp (Western Kentucky) will set a strong presence down low, coming to Ole Miss with a combined 441 career blocks.

Guard Allen Flanigan (Auburn) brings over 100 games of experience, and is among the active career leaders in minutes played with 2,728. He scored nearly 1,000 points while at Auburn and grabbed just under 500 boards, adding 74 steals on defense.

After spending last season at Georgetown, Brandon Murray returns to the SEC, a conference he played in two years ago at LSU. The guard was selected to the Freshman All-SEC Team in 2022 and brings a combination of scoring (11.7 points per game) and strong defense (1.2 steals per game).

A trio of guards round out the Ole Miss transfer class. Jaylen Murray (St. Peter’s) and Austin Nunez (Arizona State) give Beard a pair of point guards, each of which have displayed the ability to score. Spending two years at Northeast Mississippi CC and a pair at Blue Mountain, Cole McGrath gives the Rebels a shooting guard with big shot-making ability.

Evelyn Van Pelt

Evelyn Van Pelt

Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.

About The Author

Evelyn Van Pelt

Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn's love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.


  1. Cindi Ryan

    We will be there! Hotty Toddy!


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