Rebel Basketball Game Notes
Jan. 13, 2006
Game 16: Ole Miss (12-3, 2-0) vs. Mississippi State (11-4, 1-1)
REBELS-BULLDOGS RENEW RIVALRY: Ole Miss renews its rivalry with Mississippi State Saturday in an SEC Western Division clash. The Rebels are off to their first 2-0 conference start since the 2000-01 campaign following Wednesday's 68-63 victory over South Carolina. Junior Bam Doyne notched his second 20-point performance of the year with 23 and hit two key free throws with 9 seconds remaining. The Little Rock native also finished with a career-high nine rebounds with five assists, while reigning SEC Player of the Week Dwayne Curtis added 15 points. The Rebels are riding a six-game win streak and are 12-3 for the first time since the 2001-02 season.
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 six 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 139-96 record. Barnes' 139 coaching victories in his first 235 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span and is the second-most wins in school history. His .592 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 Rob 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 BULLDOGS: Mississippi State is coming off a 75-60 loss to No. 2 Florida Wednesday night in Gainesville. Winners of eight of their last 10 decisions, eighth-year head coach Rick Stansbury's Bulldogs claimed a 69-67 home decision over Arkansas this past Saturday night. With four players averaging in double figures in the scoring column, State is led by senior co-captain Jamall Edmondson (14.5 ppg), though the point guard has missed the past three games with a groin injury. Rookie swingman Jamont Gordon, a two-time SEC Freshman of the Week honoree, is averaging 13.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. Following his 18-point, 9-rebound effort against the Razorbacks, sophomore forward Charles Rhodes is posting 10.2 points and 6.3 rebounds, while junior swingman Dietric Slater provides 10.5 points off the bench. MSU tops the SEC in field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 38.0 percent shooting.
OLE MISS-MISSISSIPPI STATE SERIES: Saturday's game will the 232nd meeting between the two schools, with the Bulldogs holding an all-time series lead of 130-101. The Rebels hold a 74-40 series advantage in games played in Oxford and have taken six of the last 10 at Tad Smith Coliseum. State has won eight straight in the series, although all but one game was decided by less than 12 points. The Rebels held double-figure leads in both of last year's games but could not hold on. The Bulldogs came from 12 down for an 87-76 win in Oxford and from 10 back for a nail-biting 71-68 victory in Starkville. The last time Ole Miss was victorious was a 66-59 win in Oxford during the 2001-02 campaign.
A HEATED RIVALRY: Everyone knows how heated the rivalry is between Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The two schools have turned it up a little more on the hardwood in recent years. In the 20 meetings between the two schools since the 1995-96 season, the average margin of victory has been only 8.0 points. In fact, 16 of the last 20 encounters have been decided by 11 points or less.
QUOTING BARNES On the team's improvement: "I think winning the South Carolina game was good for our kids. We had a lead and had opportunities to fold and we didn't lose our composure. That was important for us." On the good start: "Our league is so tough that if you have a bad start, it can be tough to get wins. If we had lost that first game at Alabama, our kids would be questioning themselves. We accomplished that. To come back and play an experienced team like South Carolina, it helps with our confidence."
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. After scoring 10 or more points only three times in his first two seasons, Doyne has notched double-figures eight times this year and topped Ole Miss in scoring in four games including his 23-point effort against South Carolina Wednesday, in which he tallied a career-high 9 rebounds with five assists. Doyne reached the 20-point plateau for the first time in his career earlier this season against Arkansas State, striking for 24 with 6 rebounds, 4 assists and drilling 4-of-4 free throws in the final 41 seconds to seal the win. 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. In warrior fashion, Doyne played all 40 minutes at Alabama last Saturday and notched 13 points and 6 rebounds. He also provided strong defense on the Tide's Ronald Steele, limiting the All-SEC guard to 0-of-10 shooting and 2 points. The Little Rock native ranks second on the team in scoring (10.9), rebounds (4.8), assists (2.7) and steals (1.1).
SEC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Dwayne Curtis was named the SEC Player of the Week on Monday. A sophomore center, Curtis posted 21 points, a career-high 14 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks in directing the Rebels to their first win in Tuscaloosa since 1997-98. It marked his fourth straight 20-point performance and third double-double of the year. Curtis also totaled 21 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals in last Tuesday's victory over Western Carolina. In his first season in the Red and Blue, Curtis has scored in double-figures in 11 of 15 games with six 20-point outings. He also posted 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 (14.4), rebounding (7.5), steals (1.6) and blocks (1.0). He is also third in assists (1.9). This marks Ole Miss' first SEC Player of the Week selection of the 2005-06 season and the first for Curtis. The last Ole Miss player to earn the distinction was Todd Abernethy in the first week of the 2004-05 campaign. This is the 11th time a Rebel has received the honor since the 1995-96 season.
SUMMER TEAMMATES: Ole Miss' Jermey Parnell and Mississippi State's Jerrell Houston and Wes Morgan competed as teammates in May, traveling together through the Far East on the Sports Reach team. The trio were among the leaders on the eight-man squad, which was comprised entirely of SEC players and posted a 7-0 mark in its tour. In addition, Rebel Bam Doyne and Bulldog Piotr Stelmach traveled together through Germany July 25- August 5 on the SCORE team sponsored by Phil Waldrep Ministries International. The SCORE squad claimed the Tubingen Invitational title and finished 2-3 on the trip. Besides playing ball, the team members also participated in basketball clinics on the local level and visited a cancer ward of a local children's hospital.
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:
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. Nationally-ranked Memphis was held 17 points below its scoring average. The Rebels contained Alabama to 38.2 percent shooting and South Carolina to 34.5, making five opponents this season to be held in the 30s from the field. The Gamecocks were also limited to 2-of-19 (.105) from 3-point range. The Rebels currently rank second in the SEC in 3-point percentage defense (.311). Ole Miss is forcing 16.2 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 and 11 at Alabama.
"O"-RRIVAL: The Ole Miss offense has shown some major signs of improvement this season. The Rebels are currently averaging 70.5 points per game, which is 6.7 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 six games, including against South Carolina Wednesday, and in the 60s twice.
CHARITABLE STRIPE: Ole Miss is having an improved season from the free throw line, connecting on 214-of-317 for a 67.5 percentage. That figure is the Rebels' highest free throw clip since shooting 72.6 percent in 2002-03. Ole Miss is shooting 77.5 percent (55-of-71) over the last three games. At Alabama, Ole Miss connected on 21-of-26 attempts for an 80.8 percentage, which is the team's highest in a game since shooting 90.0 percent (18-of-20) against South Carolina in the 2003 SEC Tournament. Sophomore Jermey Parnell shot 45.2 percent a year ago but is an improved 83.9 this year. Bam Doyne boasts a 73.2 free throw percentage, while Todd Abernethy is hitting 72.2 percent.
BULKING UP: The new big bodies in the Rebel lineup have paid some dividends this season. After being outrebounded a year ago, Ole Miss enjoys a 1.4 rebounding edge this year and has outrebounded 9-of-15 opponents -- winning all nine games. The Rebels are also averaging 3.9 blocked shots per game, a considerable increase from last year's 2.0 average.
YOUTH IS SERVED: The Rebels boast a young roster this year with five freshmen and five sophomores wearing the Red and Blue. In fact, Ole Miss is the third-youngest team in the SEC and 25th in the nation, based on the players' class athletically.
"TAD PAD" SWEET "TAD PAD": The "Tad Pad" has proven to be one of the toughest arenas in the nation for opposing teams to pay. With a 9-1 mark this year, Ole Miss has won 121 of its last 148 games (.818 winning percentage) at home, including homecourt winning streaks of 29, 20 and 15 games. The Rebels have an all-time record of 363-174 (.676 winning percentage) at C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum, which opened in the 1965-66 season. In head coach Rod Barnes' era, the Rebels have a home record of 93-26 (.782 winning percentage), including a 36-21 homecourt record against SEC foes (.632 winning percentage).
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Ole Miss makes its third of 10 appearances this season on a major carrier Saturday against Mississippi State on JP Sports. Two more games on the slate have also been picked up by Jefferson-Pilot -- Tennessee on Feb. 4 and Kentucky on Feb. 22. The Rebels have already faced No. 5 Memphis and Alabama, both on FSN. In addition, Ole Miss has played twice on local TV, matching up with UIC on Comcast Sportsnet Chicago and Saint Louis on Charter Communications (St. Louis). This season will mark the eighth straight year that the Rebels have appeared on TV 10 or more times. Under head coach Rod Barnes (since 1998-99), Ole Miss has played 92 television games with a 46-46 record.
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