Ole Miss (8-2) vs. San Francisco (5-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 23, 3 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) -- Honolulu, Hawaii. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Ole Miss 7-0, USF 4-1. Away Record: Ole Miss 1-1, USF 1-2. Neutral Record: Ole Miss 0-1, USF 0-2. Conference Record: Ole Miss 0-0, USF 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: A first-ever meeting during the semifinals of the annual Diamond Head Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu on Sunday pits the Ole Miss Rebels against the San Francisco Dons.
The Rebels arrived on the island with just one loss in nine games, but the team was taken to overtime by Indiana State on Saturday and left with an 87-85 setback as it fell to the consolation side of the tournament bracket. A perfect 7-0 at home this season, Ole Miss is now just 1-2 playing in games elsewhere.
As for the Dons, they too have enjoyed success in their own building through the first six weeks of the 2012-13 campaign, while playing on the road and on neutral floors has been much more of a challenge. On Saturday the team was swept away by 18th-ranked San Diego State by a final of 80-58, the team's fourth straight setback after opening the campaign with five wins in six chances.
Both programs will be back in action on Tuesday, suiting up against either East Tennessee State or Hawaii, depending on the outcomes on Sunday.
Marshall Henderson scored 27 points, hitting 7-of-16 shots behind the 3-point line, but it wasn't quite enough as the Rebels bowed to Indiana State in overtime. Reginald Buckner recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, adding three blocked shots and a pair of steals, while Murphy Holloway registered a double-double of his own with 16 points and 13 boards, adding three thefts to his stat line. The team shot just 7-of-13 at the free- throw line in the meeting. Holloway is one of only a handful of players in college basketball averaging a double-double with 14.9 ppg and 10.7 rpg, but as great as those numbers might be, still his mere 45.5 percent accuracy at the charity stripe is a glaring issue. Henderson is tops on the unit in scoring with 18.7 ppg as the program continues to outscore the competition by just under 20 ppg.
Cole Dickerson tried to keep San Francisco in the hunt on Saturday as he registered 15 points and 12 rebounds, shooting 3-of-6 behind the 3-point line along the way, but San Diego State was simply too powerful as the Dons suffered the lopsided setback. Cody Doolin checked in with 11 points and a game-high eight assists, followed by De'End Parker with 10 points for a group that shot better beyond the arc (.444) than it did from the floor overall (.396). Dickerson, a leading scorer for the Dons in three of their last four games, is currently second on the team in that department with 13.7 ppg, but is one of the most aggressive in the paint in the entire nation as he averages an astounding 13.0 rpg. Parker is responsible for 14.9 ppg and Doolin another 11.6 ppg, to go along with a team-best 65 assists which is more than half the group's total (113) thus far.
If Dickerson can again be a force in the paint then the Dons have a shot at the win, but he'll need plenty of help from his teammates to make that happen on Sunday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ole Miss 83, San Francisco 74
12/23 10:32:08 ET