Rebels host Ragin' Cajuns tonight

Game two of the Andy Kennedy era is set for today as Louisiana-Lafayette plays the Ole Miss Rebels at 7 p.m. in Oxford. The Rebs got off to a rousing start with a 72-49 win over Mississippi Valley State Friday night. The Ragin' Cajuns are also 1-0 with a 76-68 win over Ouachita Baptist in Lafayette, La.

From the gamenotes of Kyle Campbell of Ole Miss athletics media relations:

The Ragin' Cajuns overcame 31 turnovers to win their season opener. Senior guard Ross Mouton has been the focal point of the ULL offense thus far, topping the Cajuns with 26 points on 10-of-19 shooting in Friday's opener. The performance was a follow-up to a 22-point outing in the exhibition with Spring Hill. Louisiana-Lafayette returns five letterwinners from last season's 13-16 squad which rallied to win seven of the final eight Sun Belt games and finish second in the SBC West Division. Maurice Barksdale, Valentino Hart, Rhett Hebert, Adam James and Ross Mouton are the veterans of the Ragin' Cajuns. Barksdale, an anticipated returnee, had season-ending wrist surgery last week limiting the Ragin' Cajuns to only four returnees.

Senior guard Todd Abernethy did not practice Monday following a slight concussion and stitches over his left eye from a hit he got from an opposing player's shoulder during the Valley game. It is not yet known if he will be available for tonight's contest. Senior center Dwayne Curtis is still out for at least a couple of more weeks as he recovers from a stress fracture in his left foot.

Sophomore forward Xavier Hansbro earned his first career start in Friday's win over Mississippi Valley State. The Trezevant, Tenn., native responded with his second double-digit scoring outing as a Rebel, dropping in 11 points along with 6 rebounds. Coincidentally, Hansbro's only other double-figure game was in last year's season opener, when he 4-of-6 3-pointers for 12 points against Southern Utah.

With starting point guard Abernethy leaving with injury in the first game's opening moments, junior guard Brian Smith stepped in admirably. Smith played 21 minutes and recorded career highs of 10 points and 4 rebounds. He connected on 4-of-7 field goals, including 2-of-4 treys.

Ole Miss has lost four straight to the Cajuns, with the lone Rebel victory in five meetings coming during the 1969-70 season 89-77 in Lafayette. In 1983, 1989, 1991, 1992, the school then known as Southwestern Louisiana claimed victories over Ole Miss.

In UL-Lafayette, Ole Miss faces its first of six games against schools from Louisiana this regular season. The Rebels also host Louisiana-Monroe, Nicholls State and New Orleans, along with two SEC bouts against LSU. Ole Miss is 175-189 all-time against Louisiana schools including such frequent foes as Tulane (35-55) and conference rival LSU (77-112).

Over the last decade, the "Tad Pad" proved to be one of the toughest arenas in the nation for opposing teams to play. With the home-opening win over MVSU, Ole Miss has won 133 of its last 165 games (.806 winning percentage) in Oxford dating back to the 1995-96 campaign. Included during this run are homecourt winning streaks of 29 and 15 games. The Rebels have an all-time record of 367-179 (.672 winning percentage) at C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum, which opened in the 1965-66 season.

Since the 1993-94 season, the Rebels have posted an impressive 123-41 record (.750 winning percentage) versus non-conference opponents. Ole Miss has been particularly dominant against out of conference clubs at home. Last year's loss to No. 5 Memphis was only the Rebels' fifth non-SEC home loss since 1995.

Rebel fans can catch the Ole Miss basketball teams in action on this season, as the premium site for will air live webcasts for seven home games. Remaining games on the schedule include Tennessee Tech, Nicholls State, Louisiana-Monroe, UIC and Alabama A&M. offers interviews and features with the teams, live streaming of coaches' press conference, video of great games in Ole Miss history and more. The site showcases the coaches' weekly TV and radio shows as well as live video coverage of select live home and road Rebel sporting events.

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