By Parrish Alford/ NEMS Daily Journal
– Looking back: In a critical week for the Rebels to begin building an NCAA tournament resume, they responded with two wins, one on the road.
They started 1-2 in their first three conference games. A team with NCAA dreams had to start proving its worth.
Defense highlighted Wednesday’s 66-57 win over South Carolina, as the Rebels held the Gamecocks to 32.1 percent shooting, just 28.6 percent in the second half. Chris Warren had 17 points, and Murphy Holloway, against his home-state school, had a double-double, 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Saturday at LSU, Warren scored 14 points, all in the last 8:36, as the Rebels pulled away for a 73-63 win, their second on the road this season and first at LSU in seven years.
– Looking ahead: Resume building is important again this week, and the Rebels are back on the road Thursday at Auburn at 8 p.m., for an ESPNU telecast. The Tigers are just 1-4 in the SEC but have been competitive. Ole Miss is back at home Saturday at 3 for an SEC Network telecast against Arkansas.
– Who’s hot: Warren was 9-for-21 (42.8 percent) from the floor and 5-for-9 (55.5 percent) from 3-point range for the week. He finished drives through the lane better last week than in previous SEC games.
– Who’s not: Foul trouble plagued Terrico White at LSU, but he played 19 minutes, enough to produce more than one point on 0-for-4 floor shooting. It was the least effective game for White, who previously had been held to as few as eight points just once.
– RPI watch: Nothing helps an RPI like winning, and the Rebels have climbed to No. 30.
– Bottom line: Coaches would never say it, but the LSU game was a must win. If you’re going to earn an at-large bid, something Ole Miss hasn’t done since 2002, you have to win on the road against the winless SEC team. Getting a win at Auburn would be big. After that, the Rebels play five of their next seven at home.