SEC basketball is still several weeks away, but tonight’s trip to Jonesboro, Ark., will have a conference feel to it for Ole Miss.
The Rebels (5-1) will play in an opponent’s gym for the first time this season when they face Arkansas State. The Red Wolves (3-2) are led by former LSU coach John Brady.
Tipoff at ASU’s Convocation Center is 7 p.m.
The Ole Miss women’s team will be in action across the western border as well. The women (5-1) take on Arkansas-Little Rock at 5:15 p.m., at UALR’s Jack Stephens Center.
Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy and Brady have a friendship that goes back to the 1980s when Brady was a Mississippi State assistant coach and recruited Kennedy, then a player at Louisville.
Last season was Brady’s first at ASU. The Rebels defeated the Red Wolves 65-52 in the season opener.
ASU lost three starters from last year’s 13-17 team. The Red Wolves’ leading scorer comes off the bench. Five-foot-10 sophomore guard Daniel Bryant is averaging 16.4 points a game.
Ole Miss is expected to have both guard Eniel Polynice and forward Murphy Holloway in the lineup. Holloway sat out Sunday’s 73-58 win over Texas Aamp&M Corpus Christi with a slight ankle sprain. Polynice took himself out of the game for the final 10 minutes with an apparent back problem.
In Holloway’s absence the Rebels got strong play from sophomore Terrance Henry with 12 points, four rebounds and three assists. His emergence from an earlier wrist injury would be good news for a front line seeking depth.
“With Murphy out I just tried to come out and play with energy,” Henry said. “In practice I’ve been trying to go as hard as I can to contribute as much as I can to the team.”
The Rebels are being out-rebounded 41.5-40.2 on average. They’re holding opponents to 39.4 percent shooting, just 28.1 from the 3-point line, third in the SEC.
“I was impressed them defensively more than anything else,” Texas Aamp&M-CC coach Perry Clark said.
Ole Miss Women
The Rebels are coming off wins against San Jose State and Florida Atlantic to take the tournament title at FAU.
Guard Bianca Thomas was named tournament MVP and continues to lead the SEC in scoring at 22.7 a game. She’ll reach 1,000 points for her career if she scores 23 today.
UALR (3-3) lost to Nebraska and Drake last week after a 3-1 start. Junior forward Chasity Reed leeds the Trojans with 23.5 points and 9.2 rebounds a game.
UALR has won seven straight regular season home games.
After today, the Rebels play at winless Old Dominion on Sunday before back-to-back games against Ohio State and Texas.
Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal