Wednesday night in Oxford they almost pulled off a key win, but West Virginia prevailed 80-78. Leading 71-66 with under five minutes left, the Rebels weren't able to finish. Even with a 78-77 lead in the games' last minute, they had their chances.
With two losses already, the other to Utah, a win today in their first true road game has become more important. With games at New Mexico and against Louisville (in Cincinnati) upcoming, the Rebels, 5-2, basically can't afford a loss in this one.
At least one area continues to haunt.
"We've got to improve our offensive rebounding," said junior David Huertas. "Against good teams, we won't win if don't do better. We fumble a lot of balls. We really struggle in that area. I'm not going to lie. We've got to get better."
As Huertas and Chris Warren continue to carry the scoring load, the Rebels look for other scorers. Freshmen Terrico White and Murphy Holloway appear to be trying to fill that void.
"They stepped up big," said Huertas of White's 13 points and Holloway's 11 against the Mountainners. "They played well and shot well, and that's what we need the rest of the season."
Lakefront Arena is the venue today, and this game was scheduled for last season. Ole Miss beat the Privateers 85-77 two years ago in Oxford. But the return game was postponed until this year while Lakefront was still under renovation from Hurricane Katrina. Since the storm, UNO had played in a smaller, on-campus gym.
There had been some discussions last year of having the game go on as planned but playing it in the downtown New Orleans Arena next to the Louisiana Superdome. But the ultimate decision was to wait until this season and play at the renovated arena on campus.
UNO is 2-4 on the season. New Orleans enters Saturday's matchup with a two-game winning streak after dropping its first four contests of the year. The two-game streak coincides with the return of last year's second-leading scorer, senior Kyndall Dykes, who scored 15 points in the most recent 49-39 win over intra-city rival Tulane.
For the year, UNO is scoring 55.8 points per game compared to 62.0 allowed. The Privateers hold a 35.0 to 34.7 rebounding advantage. Joe Pasternack, a New Orleans native and Indiana graduate, is in his second season as head coach after leading UNO to a 19-13 record and fourth-place Sun Belt Conference finish a season ago.
First True Road Game
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