Fordham (4-10) at Ole Miss (10-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, January 4, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Tad Smith Coliseum (9,061) -- Oxford, Mississippi.
Television: CSS. Home Record: Fordham 2-1, Ole Miss 7-0. Away Record: Fordham
0-7, Ole Miss 2-1. Neutral Record: Fordham 2-2, Ole Miss 1-1. Conference
Record: Fordham 0-0, Ole Miss 0-0. Series Record: Ole Miss leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Ole Miss Rebels attempt to stay perfect at Tad Smith Coliseum
on Friday night when they host a non-conference bout against the Fordham Rams.
As bad as Fordham may appear by its lackluster record, it has actually played
much better of late, winning three of its last five games. After suffering a
73-48 beat down at Georgia Tech on Dec. 29, the Rams bounced back to defeat
Monmouth at home on Monday, 82-71.
At 10-2, Ole Miss has been one of the nation's most pleasant surprises this
season. The Rebels competed in the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii over
Christmas, and after losing their first game to Indiana State, 87-85, in
overtime, they salvaged the trip by beating San Francisco (85-78) and the host
squad Hawaii (81-66) in the consolation rounds. They now return home for the
first time since Dec. 14, and they'll try for their eighth win without a loss
These two teams have met just once before, with Ole Miss winning back in
December of 1982.
Fordham was actually trailing Monmouth by seven points early in the second
quarter, but thanks to an impressive showing from the field after intermission
(.548), the Rams were able to pull away down the stretch for the double-digit
victory. Leading four players in double figures was Chris Gaston, who tallied
19 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Bryan
Smith logged 18 points and five assists, while Mandell Thomas and Branden
Frazier chipped in with 12 and 11 points, respectively. On the season,
Fordham's offensive output has been modest at best, as it shoots 41.1 percent
from the field for 64.6 ppg, but it has been noticeably better since the
return of Gaston (15.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg), who missed six games in late November
and early December due to injury. Pairing Gaston with Frazier (16.4 ppg, 5.1
apg) gives Fordham a formidable inside-outside duo. Turnovers have been a
problem for the squad, as it coughs the ball up more than 16 times per game
for a minus-4.0 margin.
Offense production has been the strength of this year's Ole Miss club, as it
ranks seventh in the nation in scoring with 82.1 ppg. While its .445 field
goal percentage may seem rather modest, the team has been able to get to that
figure thanks in large part to a strong effort on the glass (plus-4.1
rebounding margin) and a relentless attack at the defensive end (plus-6.0
turnover margin). The Rebels' latest win over Hawaii was a microcosm of many
of the things they have done well this year, as they shot 44.3 percent from
the floor and 80 percent from the foul line while winning the turnover battle,
15-8. Murphy Holloway was fantastic in the win, tallying 18 points and nine
rebounds, while Nick Williams and Marshall Henderson netted 16 points apiece.
Marshall has been one of the best guards in the SEC, scoring 17.9 ppg, and his
49 3-pointers are tied for eighth-most in the country. Holloway (15.8 ppg,
10.8 rpg) has been rock solid in the frontcourt, while Williams (11.0 ppg) and
Reginald Buckner (10.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg) round out the Rebels' balanced scoring
Fordham has been much-improved since it welcomed Gaston back to the lineup
and, at full strength, it can certainly give the Rebels a run for their money.
But Ole Miss has played too well on its home floor this season to slip up
against a team as inconsistent as the Rams.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ole Miss 80, Fordham 70
01/04 10:32:05 ET
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