Kennedy reflects after 200th win with Rebels

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rebeljim
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Kennedy reflects after 200th win with Rebels

Post by rebeljim » Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:58 am

Andy Kennedy won his 200th game as Ole Miss basketball coach with the Rebels’ 99-80 victory against Louisiana Tech on Tuesday night.

Now in his 10th season and getting ready to lead the Rebels out of Tad Smith Coliseum and into the sparkling new Pavilion at Ole Miss, Kennedy’s clearest memory is that of losing.

Not his losing but the losing of Todd Abernethy, Bam Doyne, Clarence Sanders and other members of his first Ole Miss team in 2006-07.

“These guys had never experienced a winning season. There was not a guy looking at me who had ever experienced a winning season in college basketball,” he said.

Kennedy challenged that group, pushed that group, and some late-season magic against LSU followed by the debut of a trapping halfcourt defense that became his trademark helped the Rebels go 21-13 and 8-8 in the SEC with a share of the West title that first season.

“I remember vividly Glenn ‘Big Baby’ Davis trying to throw it cross-court, and Brian Smith, with all that length at 5-foot-4, batting the ball to Todd who threw it to Cla (Sanders) in the corner. He hit a big 3, and we beat LSU,” Kennedy said.

Now Abernethy is an assistant coach, and Doyne is a graduate assistant.

Kennedy is 200-116 as Ole Miss coach, and the Rebels (8-2) are on a five-game win streak as they play at Memphis Friday night.

Kennedy’s first and fourth teams shared SEC West titles.

He’s had five Ole Miss teams reach the NIT, two of them – in 2007 and 2010 – reach the semifinals in New York.

It was in his seventh season – after five 20-win seasons – that Kennedy broke through the NCAA tournament barrier.

That 2013 Ole Miss team won 27 games and upset No. 5 seed Wisconsin in a second-round game in Kansas City.

Now the Rebels have reached the NCAA tournament in two of the last three years.

They rallied to beat BYU in a First Four game in Dayton last year before losing in the second round against Xavier in Jacksonville, Florida.

Worst to first

Kennedy inserted a half-court trap and zone defense against a ranked Alabama team after the LSU game.

The next game the Rebels rallied from four points back in the final two minutes to beat Auburn.

“That three-game stretch is what I remember. That team went from worst to first, experienced a winning season and got to postseason which created the energy and enthusiasm by which we got the Tuohy Center (practice and training facility). Now that has led to the Pavilion,” Kennedy said. “That’s what I reflect on as I look back at 200.”

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Re: Kennedy reflects after 200th win with Rebels

Post by CMB » Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:07 pm

good stuff. I was at that LSU game. I believe it was on Valentines Day that year. The place just erupted when Sanders hit that 3. Seems like the refs had to determine if it was a 2 or 3.... I just know the whole place was going nuts

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