Facing their first true test of the season against Georgia Tech in the second annual Barclays Classic, Mississippi — behind 16 points from Derrick Millinghaus — defeated the Yellow Jackets 77-67. With their win, Mississippi will face Penn State in the championship game of the classic on Saturday afternoon, who beat St. John’s in overtime, 89-82.
When the Rebels take the floor, all eyes tend to focus on Marshall Henderson. Despite coming off of the bench against Georgia Tech, Henderson wasn’t bashful with his shot as he hoisted up 16 of them — 14 from beyond the arc — making four three-pointers en route to a 15 point effort. However, center Demarco Cox had a big game scoring 15 points and pulling down 13 rebounds; Georgia Tech had no answer for him inside.
The game was close midway through the first half as a Marcus Georges-Hunt layup made it 22-16 in favor of Mississippi with 9:23 remaining, but the Yellow Jackets would score just five points the rest of the half, and trailed 35-21 at the break. The lead ballooned to 21 on a Demarco Cox layup with 4:24 remaining in regulation, but Georgia Tech went on a late run to make the final score appear more respectable.
The lone bright spot for Georgia Tech was the play of sophomore guard Solomon Poole who scored a career high 24 points on 9-16 shooting coming off the bench. Conversely, Poole’s classmate, Chris Bolden, continues to struggle. Bolden was just 1-8 from the field and is now shooting a paltry 20.5% on the young season. If the Yellow Jackets are to have success this season, Bolden has to be better.
Mississippi will be challenged tomorrow against Penn State and their talented back court of D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier, who combined to score 54 points against the Red Storm.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.