Rebel Basketball Game Notes
Jan. 5, 2006
SEC OPENER: Ole Miss (10-3) vs. Alabama (7-5)
OLE MISS OPENS SEC PLAY AT ALABAMA: Ole Miss opens its Southeastern Conference schedule at Alabama Saturday. It marks the ninth time in the last 11 years and seventh in head coach Rod Barnes' eight seasons to tip off SEC play on the road. The Rebels are off to their best start since 2001-02, having concluded non-conference play with a 10-3 record. Ole Miss is currently riding a four-game win streak after Tuesday's 65-59 victory over Western Carolina. Dwayne Curtis notched his third straight 20-point game, while the starting backcourt of Todd Abernethy and Clarence Sanders scored 14 and 15, respectively. With a 35-23 edge against WCU, the Rebels have outrebounded nine of the 13 opponents.
BARNES IN EIGHTH SEASON AS REBEL MENTOR: Rod Barnes is in his eighth season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program and is eight victories away from reaching B.L. "Country" Graham's school record for coaching wins (145). The 2001 Naismith and CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year, Barnes has a 137-96 record. Barnes' 137 coaching victories in his first 233 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span and is the second-most wins in school history. His .588 winning percentage is the highest of any Rebel coach of eight years or more. In 2000-01, Barnes was the SEC Coach of the Year, and guided Ole Miss to a school-record 27 wins and the program's first NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 berth. Another winning season and postseason tournament followed in 2001-02 -- both were the sixth straight for the Ole Miss program. Barnes was hired as the Rebel head coach on April 9, 1998. A 1988 graduate of Ole Miss, Barnes served as an assistant under Evans from 1993-98. During his time as an assistant coach, the Rebels compiled a record of 76-63 and won back-to-back Southeastern Conference Western Division titles and received consecutive NCAA Tournament berths in 1997 and 1998. Barnes played at Ole Miss from 1984-88 and was an All-American honorable mention his senior season. He is the only person in SEC history to earn both All-SEC and SEC Coach of the Year honors.
SCOUTING THE CRIMSON TIDE: The preseason favorite to win the SEC Western Division, Alabama began the campaign ranked 14th in the nation, but has since dropped out of the polls with a 7-5 record. However, three of the Crimson Tide's five losses have come against top-25 teams, including an 87-76 home loss to Memphis. Alabama knocked off Birmingham Southern 61-57 Monday, but is 3-4 in its last seven games. Eighth-year UA head coach Mark Gottfried has three starters back from last year's SEC West Co-Champion squad in All-SEC honorees Chuck Davis, Ronald Steele and Jermareo Davidson. Davis, a senior forward and preseason Wooden Award candidate, ranks fourth in the conference in scoring at 17.8. Junior center Jermareo Davidson is posting 12.1 points and is second in the SEC in rebounding at 9.7. Sophomore point guard Ronald Steele averages 11.0 points, 3.7 assists and nearly 36 minutes per game. The Tide boasts three of the SEC's top-10 shot blockers in Davidson (2.33), Davis (1.92) and freshman forward Richard Hendrix (1.83).
OLE MISS-ALABAMA SERIES: Saturday's game will be the 157th meeting between the two schools. The Crimson Tide holds a 110-46 lead in the series, which began in 1921. The teams had split their season series for six straight years, until Alabama took all three meetings last year, including the Rebels' season finale in the SEC Tournament second round to run the UA win streak in the series to four (see complete recaps and boxes on page 6). The Tide holds a 65-8 lead in games played in Tuscaloosa and has won eight straight at Coleman Coliseum, including last year's 71-45 encounter that saw Ole Miss forward Jermey Parnell shine with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals. The last Rebel victory in Tuscaloosa was a 74-63 triumph during the 1997-98 campaign. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 6-9 versus Alabama and 0-7 against the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.
HOLDING COURT: In recent years, the Ole Miss-Alabama series has been a matter of location, location, location. Prior to the Crimson Tide's win in Oxford last year, the home team had prevailed in 13 straight meetings between the Rebels and Tide. Before that UA win a year ago, the last time the road team ruled was during the 1997-98 season, when Ole Miss pulled off a 74-63 victory in Tuscaloosa.
SWEET HOME ALABAMA: A pair of Rebels will be returning to their home state of Alabama this weekend. Junior guard Clarence Sanders hails from Phenix City, while freshman forward Trey Hampton is from Hoover. Playing at Central High School, Sanders faced off with Alabama's Ronald Steele and John Carroll High in the 2003 6A state semifinals. Despite 4-of-8 3-pointers and 28 points from Sanders, his Red Devils fell 77-61 in overtime, as Steele posted 18 points and 7 assists for the victorious Cavaliers. With Hoover and John Carroll both 6A Birmingham area schools, Hampton and Steele were common adversaries during their high school days. Hampton also compete against Richard Hendrix and Athens High in his prep career.
FAMILIAR FOES: Saturday's match-up between Ole Miss and Alabama will feature head coaches at the helm of basketball programs where they also played. Rod Barnes played at Ole Miss from 1985-88, and is the first Rebel head coach to have played his collegiate basketball at Ole Miss since Cob Jarvis (1969-76). Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried played at his alma mater from 1985-87 and helped lead the Crimson Tide to three-consecutive NCAA Sweet 16 appearances. During their playing careers, Barnes' and Gottfried's teams met six times from 1984-85 to 1986-87. Gottfried's squads won all six meetings in those match-ups. Both Barnes and Gottfried became head coaches at their alma mater in 1998-99, and the Tide mentor holds a 9-6 lead head-to-head.
REBELS IN SEC OPENERS: The Rebels have an overall record of 25-47 in Southeastern Conference openers in their previous 72 years of play in the league. Under head coach Rod Barnes, the Rebels are 1-6 in SEC openers, with five of those games on the road. In the last 12 years, Ole Miss has a 4-8 record in SEC openers with the victories coming in 1994-95 (Arkansas, 76-71), 1996-97 (at Arkansas, 91-74), 1997-98 (South Carolina, 73-54) and 2000-01 (at Vanderbilt, 81-68). The Rebels lost their SEC opener at Arkansas 69-46 last season.
REBELS IN SEC ROAD OPENERS: The Rebels are beginning SEC play on the road for the seventh time in Rod Barnes' eight years at the helm, and will open the conference schedule at Alabama for the first time since the 1977-78 campaign. Ole Miss has an all-time record of 8-64 in Southeastern Conference road openers. The Rebels posted victories in three of their last nine SEC road openers. In 1996-97, Ole Miss won its first conference road game of the year with a 91-74 victory over Arkansas in Fayetteville, and in 1997-98, the Rebels defeated Alabama 74-63 in Tuscaloosa. Ole Miss also picked up a win in 2000-01, at Vanderbilt 81-68, in its last league opener victory. Head coach Rod Barnes is 1-6 in SEC road openers. The 2003-04 season was the only time in Barnes' tenure that the Rebels' SEC opener was not on the road.
SUMMER TEAMMATES: Ole Miss junior Jermey Parnell and Alabama senior Chuck Davis competed as teammates in May, traveling together through the Far East on the Sports Reach team. Parnell and Davis were two of the leaders on the eight-man squad, which was comprised entirely of SEC players. Parnell averaged 13.3 points and 9.0 rebounds, while Davis posted 21.9 points and 8.0 rebounds.
D.C. PRESIDES OVER REBEL CHARGE: In his first season in the Red and Blue, Dwayne Curtis has been a force for the Rebels this year and is coming off three consecutive 20-point performances. The 6-foot-8, 290-pound center lit up Southeastern Louisiana for 23 points and 9 rebounds. He followed up with a career-high 25 points with 9 rebounds and 2 steals against Alcorn State, and totaled 21 points, 6 boards and 3 steals vs. Western Carolina Tuesday. For the season, Curtis has turned in nine games scoring in double-figures with five 20-point outings. He has posted two double-doubles, including 18 points and 12 rebounds against South Carolina State. The Chicago native lit up Centenary for 21 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks and 3 steals and returned home to Chicago to hang 20 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocked shots on UIC. He leads Ole Miss in scoring (13.8), rebounding (7.1), steals (1.5) and blocks (0.8). He is third in assists (2.1).
VIVA LA BAM: After two years in a lesser role, Bam Doyne has moved into the forefront as a key cog in the Rebel attack this season. The junior swingman is one of the club's top defenders but is also punching in the offense. Doyne has notched double-figures seven times and topped Ole Miss in scoring in three games. He recorded a new scoring career high for the third instance this season with his 24-point performance against Arkansas State, in which he notched 6 rebounds, 4 assists and drilled 4-of-4 free throws in the final 41 seconds. He followed up that game with another clutch performance against Southeastern Louisiana, scoring 11 of his 15 points as part of the Rebels' game-winning, second-half rally. Despite a 1.0 career rebounding average, the Little Rock native is grabbing 4.4 boards this year, and his 2.5 assists per game is second on the team.
CURTIS AMONG SEC LEADERS: In his first season as a Rebel, sophomore center Dwayne Curtis is ranking among the SEC leaders in several categories. Here is how the transfer from Auburn stacks up in the league:
"O"-RRIVAL: The Ole Miss offense has shown some major signs of improvement at the season's start. The Rebels are currently averaging 70.6 points per game, which is 6.8 higher than last year's team scoring clip and would be the highest since posting 72.0 in 2001-02. Ole Miss has also raised its field goal percentage from 44.8 a year ago to 46.4. The Rebels topped the 100-point plateau against Centenary, 107-67, for the first time since a 105-71 victory over Alabama in 2001 and only the second time since 1998. The Rebels have shot 50 percent or better in five games and in the 60s twice, including a 60.9 clip against Arkansas State.
DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE: Throughout his Rebel tenure, defense has become a trademark of Rod Barnes' squads, and this year is no different. Ole Miss limited Nicholls to 43 points, making the third time this season and 30th instance in Barnes' eight years at the helm that the opposition was contained below 50. The Rebels also held the Colonels to 32.7 percent shooting in registering the third opponent of the year to be held in the 30s from the field. Louisiana-Monroe was limited to 31.1 percent shooting and 1-of-19 from 3-point range. Ole Miss held Memphis 17 points below their scoring average. The Rebels currently rank fourth in the SEC in 3-point percentage defense (.340). Ole Miss is also forcing 16.5 turnovers per game. The Rebels pressured South Carolina State into 25 turnovers, Centenary into 23 and Nicholls into 21. Ole Miss totaled 13 steals against Arkansas State.
BULKING UP: The new big bodies in the Rebel lineup have paid some dividends in the early season. After being outrebounded a year ago, Ole Miss enjoys a 2.1 rebounding edge this year and has outrebounded 9-of-13 opponents -- winning all nine games. The Rebels are also averaging 3.8 blocked shots per game, a considerable increase from last year's 2.0 average.
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