FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Mike Anderson begins Tuesday's rematch with the Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford, Miss. stressing a Razorbacks search party to locate Ole Miss guard Terence Davis.
The Razorbacks, 17-8 overall, 6-6 in the SEC and 97-93 victors over the Rebels, on Jan. 21 at Walton Arena in Fayetteville, and Rebels, 11-14, 4-8, tip off at 6 tonight on the SEC Network at The Pavilion.
“We played them earlier in the year and we were able to outlast them,” Anderson said Monday.
Though up 50-38 at half, the Razorbacks know they survived more than thrived that second half at Walton. Junior guard Davis rallied the Rebels while scoring a game-high 30 points including 5 of 8 3-point shots.
Seldom has Anderson seen a scorer more distinctly prominent so difficult for his team to find.
“First of all we've got to find him in transition,” Anderson said. “Offensively they're going to run a lot of stuff through him, and he does a good job of getting to the basket and making some tough, tough shots. I think he probably had about four threes that he was just spotting up. … Whether or be a loose ball or … we leave him wide open and he's making us pay. He's important to what they do.”
The man most important in directing Davis and the Rebels do, 12-year Rebels coach Andy Kennedy, was reported Monday by multiple media outlets including the Jackson Clarion Ledger, to be stepping down from his Ole Miss command after this season ends.
“Well I don’t know if the rumors or whatever it is are true and going but obviously Andy is a great guy and a good friend of mine,” Anderson said Monday. “He played at UAB (the University of Alabama-Birmingham was Anderson’s first head coaching job) so I know him from there and in the coaching ranks.”
Anderson knows Kennedy coaches tonight and that despite the Rebels losing their last five games, they always seem on against Arkansas.
“Any time Ole Miss and Arkansas play you know those games are going to be intense,” Anderson said. “They are going to go down to the wire.”
While Arkansas and Ole Miss combined for 190 points in Fayetteville, Daryl Macon predicted tonight’s outcome hinges on defense.
“We’ve got to bring our hard hats and play together as a team,” Macon said. “If we go on the road with a defensive mindset first, we’ll come out with a win.”