Wild West Throwdown

Arkansas will try to start a new home-court winning streak Saturday when the Razorbacks (14-7, 4-4) host Ole Miss (14-8, 2-5) in a 5 p.m. game at Bud Walton Arena.

Two teams desperate to get an SEC win will hook it up late Saturday afternoon at Bud Walton Arena.

Ole Miss (14-8, 2-5) – fresh off a home win over No. 10 Kentucky after an abysmal league start – will visit Arkansas (14-7, 4-4), a squad coming in off a heartbreaking 60-59 home loss to Georgia.

The game will have a 5 p.m. tip-off and be televised live by ESPN2.

"We just need to continue to grow and work and make a few more plays here and there," Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey said. "A lot of these games are so close and it comes down to fundamental things and the ball bounces for you sometimes funny in the game. But I am excited and we have a lot of basketball left to play."

The Razorbacks are in second place in the SEC West and need the win to keep SEC Western Division and overall leader Alabama (6-1) – who is at Tennessee today – from putting even more distance between it and the field.

It's not lost on Pelphrey that the Crimson Tide and Rebels have only played two Eastern Division teams while the Razorbacks have played five to this point.

"There's a Western Division champ and there is an Eastern Division champ," Pelphrey said. "I don't think either side knows what is going to happen, who it is going to be. Obviously Alabama has positioned themselves very well on our side, but that is why you play the game."

The Rebels started the season 1-5 in league play, but remain a dangerous team that starts all juniors and seniors.

"I think all of us here in the SEC understand what a good basketball team Mississippi is and how well they are coached," Pelphrey said. "Certainly the win over Kentucky is a big deal for them at home and for their fans and media to talk about, but I believe whether they won or lost Mississippi would still come in here ready to play."

Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said earlier this week it was time for his team to feel a sense of urgency and the Rebels went out did that against Kentucky.

"It's time to start stringing wins together," Kennedy said. "No question it was a high-level basketball game. We've shown before we can compete, now we've shown we can win."

Ole Miss is led by senior guard Chris Warren, who is averaging 18 points a game and hit a game-winning 3-pointer Tuesday night lift the Rebels over the visiting Wildcats.

The shot didn't surprise Kennedy, who will be looking for his 100th win as the Rebels' coach.

"A lot of guys take big shots," Kennedy said. "Great players make big shots."

Pelphrey, whose team upset Vanderbilt on the road in its previous game, admires what he sees from Warren and the Rebels offensively.

He is joined in the starting line-up by 6-6 senior guard Zach Graham (14.0) as well as 6-9, 238-pound forward Reginald Buckner (7.3, 6.3), 6-10 forward Terrence Henry (8.9, 5.7) and 6-4 small forward Nick Williams (7.6, 4.0).

"Ole Miss is an outstanding offensive basketball team," Pelphrey said. "Chris Warren is one of the best players in this league. I think he is getting almost four 3-pointers a game. They are a very fast, aggressive, athletic team."

Arkansas freshman Mardracus Wade said that the loss to Georgia was tough, but his team plans to come back strong on Saturday.

"That was hard to swallow," Wade said. "We played so well at Vandy and to come back home and lose like this. ... We just have to prepare for the next game. Keep our heads high, poke our chests out and get ready."

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