Ranked Rebels to Visit Lebo's Tigers

A preview of Thursday night's Auburn home basketball game vs. Ole Miss is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn has enjoyed plenty of success over the years in home basketball games vs. Ole Miss. In what will be the Rebels' final contest at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum the host Tigers should have their hands full on Thursday night matching that trend, Coach Jeff Lebo predicts.

"They are very good," Lebo says of the 18th-ranked Rebels. "They are strong. They are physical. They can defend. There are not many that I have seen that have the depth in the backcourt that Ole Miss has.

"Obviously last year, they didn't have Chris Warren, who was hurt. (Eniel) Polynice was out. You look at their numbers this year and that is about 27 points, and their two leading assists guys and their two leading guys with steals.

"Then you add Terrico White into the mix," Lebo says. "Terrico is playing a little bit more off the ball this year. You have Warren, White, Polynice and Zach Graham is having a heck of a year for them shooting the basketball."

The Rebels are 15-4 overall and 3-2 in the SEC. Ole Miss is 2-1 in league road games with the only setback a 71-69 decision at Tennessee.

"They have a little bit of everything," Lebo says of Coach Andy Kennedy's Rebels. "They have some depth on the perimeter. What makes them so hard to guard is their ability to play one-on-one. What makes them effective playing one-on-one is they can shoot it and put the ball on the floor. They are pretty good at doing both, and they can do it at a multitude of spots.

"That gets you spread out and having to defend spread out on the perimeter," says Lebo, whose Tigers go into the game with a 10-10 mark and 1-4 record in the SEC. "They are very good at it. They are excellent at it. They are averaging 81 points a game so they can score, and they can score in a hurry.

"They can score in transition," the coach adds. "They can score in a half set shooting a three-ball and they are excellent driving the ball to the basket. They shoot quickly. Their big guys are excellent at weakside rebounding the basketball, and they are big and athletic."

Tipoff is scheduled for 8:05 pm. at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum, which will be replaced next season by the new Auburn Arena scheduled to be finished this summer. Ole Miss is 10-47 all-time in games played in Auburn and 8-33 in games played at the Coliseum. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

With two home games this week with Alabama visiting on Saturday and three of the next four contests at home, if Auburn is going to make a run in conference play it will likely have to start this week.

"It is very crucial," Lebo says of his team's upcoming four games. "We have played our best basketball here in the last couple of games. You look at the second half of Kentucky, we played very well that half. I said that was probably our best half of basketball. LSU, offensively for the whole game, I thought we were awfully sharp. The first half against Vanderbilt, we were awfully good. We are playing against really good teams. We played No. 1 Kentucky. Tennessee was No. 9 at the time and Vanderbilt with those two on the road. We have Ole Miss here right on top of it."

Warren, a 5-10 junior, leads Ole Miss in scoring with 16.5 points per game and is averaging 3.4 assists.

Terrico White

White, a 6-5 sophomore guard, is scoring 15.2 points per game and adding 4.4 rebounds.

The next leading scorer comes off the bench. Graham, a 6-6 junior guard, is averaging 10.6 points and 3.7 rebounds.

A fourth Ole Miss player scoring in double figures is 6-5 junior guard Poylnice at 10.2 points to go with 4.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists.

Ole Miss goes with a three-guard starting lineup and two forwards--6-7, 230 sophomore Murphy Holloway (9.8 points, 6.8 rebounds) and 6-9, 202 sophomore Terrance Henry (4.9 points and 2.6 rebounds).

Reginald Buckner, a 6-8, 233 freshman, adds inside depth and averages 4.8 points and 4.9 rebounds.

The Tigers will continue to play without injured forward Kenny Gabriel (ankle injury). Senior guard DeWayne Reed leads the Tigers in scoring with 16.5 points per game and is the top assists man with 4.5 per contest.

Senior forward Lucas Hargrove leads the Tigers in rebounding at 7.3 per game to go with 13.3 points per contest. Frankie Sullivan is scoring 13.8 points a game for Auburn.

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