Progress at the Point

Terrico White continues to get more and more comfortable at point guard. The Ole Miss freshman from Memphis was the best he's been yet in Wednesday's 74-65 win over Arkansas.

He played 30 minutes, scored 18 points, was 6-12 in the game including 3-6 from 3-point range, made three free throws in four attempts, pulled down a couple of rebounds, had three assists and just one turnover.

And he wasn't even supposed to play the point for this team.

But Chris Warren's season-ending injury, along with those of Eniel Polynice and Trevor Gaskins, changed everything for everybody on this year's squad.

Guys are searching for their roles and identities. Some, like freshman point guard Will Bogan, have been thrust into things in a major way and have had to grow up fast.

Terrico White is also one of them, and he is doing just that.

There are differences, according to Terrico, in playing point guard in college and playing it in high school. He has experience with it from his high school days. But he says things were different for him then.

"In high school playing point guard, I shot the ball," he said. "But now I am trying to be a real point guard and pass the ball and only shoot when I'm open."

Against Arkansas the 6-foot-5, 211-pounder did most everything well, including shoot the basketball.

"My shot's coming back," said the athletic and talented Craigmont High graduate. "The first few games I was in a slump and not shooting the ball with confidence. Now I am."

When Arkansas trimmed a 21-point first-half Rebel lead (32-11) down to six points (34-28) by early in the second half, it was Terrico who reversed the trend with a 3-pointer that pushed his team's advantage out to 37-28. After the Hogs missed on a trey, junior guard David Huertas followed up Terrico's shot with a 3-pointer of his own to make it 40-28.

Although 17 minutes remained, the Rebs had answered.

"They made a little run and kind of rattled us," Terrico said. "So I hit a 3 and David hit a 3. That really got us back to playing good again."

The lead swelled to 21 points again (53-32) before Arkansas made another run. But the Razorbacks never cut it to more than the final margin of nine.

The Rebels have slowed things down offensively with the loss of the three injured players. Terrico's play in controlling the tempo was key in this one and will be game after game as the SEC season gets into full swing.

"We're asking Terrico, who hasn't played point guard but the last three games, to do things offensively, defensively, control the team, know the plays," Coach Andy Kennedy said. "So it's been a little bit of a challenge. But I thought he was tremendous tonight. Shot the ball with great confidence. Only had one turnover. He just has to continue to get better."

Terrico said the team's early positive start Wednesday night helped their confidence throughout the contest.

"When we got up like 20, we had hit them early and wanted to maintain the lead the whole game," he said.

Which they did, never trailing the Razorbacks all night.

The Rebels improved to 10-6 overall and 1-1 in league play with LSU coming in on Saturday afternoon. Despite the fact that Warren, Polynice, and Gaskins are gone for the season due to injury, Terrico said don't count the Rebels out.

"Even though the three went down," he said, "we've still got the players to win. We've just got to play up to our ability."

Certainly against Arkansas they showed quite a few signs of doing just that.

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