Rebel Basketball Game Notes
Jan. 11, 2005
Game 16: Ole Miss (9-6, 0-2) vs. Georgia (6-6, 0-2)
OLE MISS LOOKS FOR FIRST SEC WIN AGAINST GEORGIA: Winners in seven of their last nine games, the Rebels continue the two-game SEC homestand with Georgia Wednesday. Ole Miss dropped to 0-2 in SEC play after an 87-76 home loss to No. 18 Mississippi State Saturday. After missing the first game of his Rebel career at Arkansas, senior forward Tommie Eddie returned to the lineup with a team-high 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting. It marked his sixth game of the year with 17 or more points. Junior forward Londrick Nolen posted 12 points and 7 rebounds, and remains the team-leader in those categories at 12.7 ppg and 5.1 rpg.
BARNES IN SEVENTH SEASON AS REBEL MENTOR: Rod Barnes is in his seventh season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program and recently took the bench for his 200th game as a head coach. The 2001 Naismith and CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year, Barnes has a 122-82 record. Barnes' 122 coaching victories in his first 204 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span and is the second-most wins in school history. His .598 winning percentage is the highest of any Rebel coach of seven years or more.
In 2000-01, Barnes was the Southeastern Conference 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 named All-SEC his senior season. He still ranks on the Ole Miss career charts in scoring (18th; 1,201 points), assists (2nd; 456) and steals (7th; 154).
TUBBY SMITH TO SPEAK TO OLE MISS TIP-OFF CLUB: Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith will speak at the Ole Miss Tip-Off Club luncheon, Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 12:30 p.m. at the Downtown Oxford Inn and Suites. Tickets are $15 for Tip-Off Club Members, and $25 for non-members. For tickets, go to www.tipoffclub.com.
SCOUTING GEORGIA: Georgia will be also in search of its first conference win Wednesday after opening league play with a 72-65 home loss to Tennessee and a 74-54 beating at South Carolina on Saturday. With only one starter back from last year's 16-14 team, second-year head coach Dennis Felton's Bulldogs have struggled this season with a 6-6 mark, the worst overall record in the SEC. UGA has suffered home losses to Western Kentucky, Nevada and Stetson, which opened the club's current three-game skid. Guard Levi Stukes was a 2004 SEC All-Freshman Team pick, and has been the top Dawg this year at 17.2 ppg, which ranks fourth in the conference. He is also top 10 in three-point percentage and threes made. Freshman backcourt-mate Sundiata Gaines is among the SEC leaders in assists (3.75), and steals (2.58) and is Georgia's second-leading scorer (13.9). Gaines is one of three freshmen in the starting lineup, along with center Dave Bliss and guard Channing Toney. There are no upperclassmen in the UGA regular rotation.
OLE MISS-GEORGIA SERIES: Wednesday's game is the 98th meeting between the two schools, with Georgia holding a 63-34 lead in the series. However, Ole Miss has a 22-21 edge in games played in Oxford. The Bulldogs have won five straight in the series, including a 64-51 triumph in Athens a year ago (see page 6). The Rebels' last victory in the series was an 85-76 home win in the 1998-99 campaign. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 1-5 versus Georgia and 1-2 against the Bulldogs in Oxford.
A CLOSE SERIES OF LATE: Although both schools have their own rivals (Ole Miss-Mississippi State, Georgia-Florida) and usually only play once a season, you would almost think the Rebels and Bulldogs have a rivalry going from all the tight games the two programs have had in recent years. In the nine meetings between the two schools since the 1996-97 season, the average margin of victory has been only 6.7 points (60 total points). Eight of the last nine games have been decided by single digits. UGA holds a 6-3 edge in those last nine encounters.
QUOTING BARNES: On facing Georgia: "I've watched Georgia on tape, and Dennis has done a really good job. Both teams will be hungry, and we are looking to bounce back from our loss against Mississippi State."
On points of emphasis: "We have a fairly young team in terms of guys playing. We have to play better, and we are more concerned with Ole Miss getting better. They (Georgia) are a sound team even though they are a young team."
On Dennis Felton: "It's a difficult situation for him. The thing I admire about Dennis more than anything is he has never complained. He always talks positive, and I hope he gets the opportunity to succeed because he is doing a great job. The atmosphere of their program and what Dennis has done is great."
AWESOME EDDIE: Tommie Eddie's game-winning trey at VCU -- his first three-point attempt as a Rebel -- may have been the most memorable shot, but the senior forward has turned in several outstanding performances through the first half of the season. Eddie has shot a spectacular 64.1 percent, and posted six games of 17 or more points, including Saturday's 17-point outing on 6-of-7 shooting vs. Mississippi State. The Brooklyn native dropped in the Rebels' first 10 points in the 65-53 road win over Memphis and finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and a career-high four assists. Eddie enjoyed perhaps his best game as a Rebel in the victory over Tennessee Tech, shooting a flawless 8-for-8 from the field en route to a career-high 24 points. Defensively, the Brooklyn native was also stellar against the Golden Eagles, registering a career-best four steals while helping limit Preseason OVC Player of the Year Willie Jenkins to two points. Eddie followed up the TTU game with another excellent outing at Arkansas State, with 18 points and eight boards. Against UL-Monroe, he was 8-of-11 for 17 points and vs. UT-Martin, he made 9-of-11 for 20.
SUPER SUB: Since stepping into the sixth man role, Todd Abernethy has kept providing the Rebels consistency and production off the bench. In his nine games as a sub, the sophomore guard has posted five double-figure scoring outings and four games with four or more assists. Against Mississippi State Saturday, Abernethy equaled his season-high for assists with 6 to go with 11 points and 4 boards. He now faces a team in Georgia he had success against last year, having posted a career-high 7 assists with no turnovers in Athens.
MR. DO-IT-ALL: Some people think they can do everything, and newcomer Londrick Nolen is proving he can. The junior forward from Southwest Tennessee Community College is the only player to start every game, and has filled the stat line in the process. Nolen currently tops the Rebels in scoring (12.7), rebounding (5.1), blocks (11) and steals (20). His 51.0 percent shooting is second on the team and top-10 in the SEC. Nolen has scored in double-figure in 11 of the last 12 games, and notched his first double-double in the Red and Blue with 19 points and 12 rebounds at Arkansas. Facing UL-Monroe, he turned in a season-high 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-5 threes, with five assists. Nolen tallied a team-best 21 points and 5-of-7 treys at Arkansas State. He posted 16 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals against Troy.
CAPTAIN CAVADAS: Senior point guard and one of three team captains, Cavadas Nunnery has been a catalyst in the Rebels' recent success. Since entering the starting lineup for the first time in his career at Memphis, Ole Miss has posted a 7-2 record. In the win over the Tigers, the Magnolia, Miss., native responded with a career-high 10 points and 5 rebounds along with 5 assists. Nunnery was 3-for-4 from the field and 4-of-6 from the free throw line. He also did an outstanding defensive job on Tiger star guard Darius Washington, forcing the former prep All-American into 8 turnovers. Nunnery recorded a game-high 6 assists with only one turnover vs. Nicholls State, and totaled 5 points, 5 assists and 3 steals vs. Southeastern Louisiana. Against Mississippi State Saturday, he finished with 6 points and 6 assists.
"TAD PAD" SWEET "TAD PAD": The "Tad Pad" has proven to be one of the toughest arenas in the nation for opposing teams to play. The Rebels boasted a 12-5 home record last season and are 5-2 so far in 2004-05. Ole Miss has won 109 of its last 131 games (.832 winning percentage) at home, including homecourt winning streaks of 29, 20 and 15 games. The Rebels have an all-time record of 351-169 (.675 winning percentage) at Tad Smith Coliseum, which opened in the 1965-66 season. In head coach Rod Barnes' era, the Rebels have a home record of 81-21 (.794 winning percentage), including a 34-17 homecourt record against SEC foes (.667 winning percentage).
DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE: It has been Rod Barnes' trademark defense that has spurred the Rebels' turnaround, winning seven of their last nine games. Ole Miss contained Southeastern Louisiana to 48 points, marking the second time this season and 27th time in Barnes' seven years at the helm that the opposition was held under 50 points. Ole Miss managed the feat six times in 2003-04. The Rebels also forced Southeastern into 22 turnovers. Ole Miss has pressured three opponents into 22 or more turnovers, having forced 26 against Louisiana Monroe and 25 against Tennessee Tech. The Rebels also held Tech's Willie Jenkins, a CollegeInsider.com Preseason All-American, to two points. Ole Miss handcuffed VCU to 36.7 percent from the field, in one of three times this season an opponent has been held in the 30s.
RAINING TREYS: Despite a tough outing against Mississippi State, the Rebels remain among the top four in the SEC in three-point shooting, firing at a 38.8 percent clip. Ole Miss nailed 12-of-19 threes (.632 percent) against Nicholls State, 13-of-24 threes (.542 percent) vs. Tennessee Tech, and 11-of-23 (.478 percent) at Arkansas State. Senior Kendrick Fox is 24-of-54 (.444) from behind the arc, while freshman Brandon Patterson has made 22-of-54 (.407). Londrick Nolen is 21-of-55 (.382), and Todd Abernethy is 16-of-47 (.340). Newcomers Nolen and Patterson have each made good on five treys in a game, which ties the ninth-highest total in school history. Nolen pulled off the feat at ASU, while Patterson caught fire against Tennessee Tech. Fox was 4-for-4 in threes vs. Nicholls State, and Nolen was 4-of-5 against UL-Monroe.
BEASTS ON THE BOARDS: Ole Miss has owned the boards of late, outrebounding the opposition in six of the last nine games, including a lopsided 42-29 advantage at Arkansas. The Rebels overcame shooting woes in the win over Southeastern Louisiana with a dominant 34-20 edge in boards. Ole Miss is 8-1 this season when outrebounding its opponent.
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