Ole Miss Basketball Game Notes

Jan. 19, 2004

GAME #15: Ole Miss (8-6, 0-3) vs. LSU (12-2, 2-1)
January 21, 2004 * 7 p.m. CT
C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum * Oxford, Miss.

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MEDIA
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Gary Darby, color analyst)
Gametracker: www.olemisssports.com

OLE MISS CONTINUES SEC WEST STRETCH WITH LSU: In search of its first SEC win, Ole Miss hosts LSU Wednesday in one of five straight Western Division games for the Rebels to open league play. Despite a strong second-half comeback, Ole Miss fell short Saturday at Arkansas, 86-78. It snapped a seven-game win streak against the Razorbacks. The Rebels trimmed a 20-point deficit to five with 22 seconds remaining, thanks in part to an 11-0 run by Aaron Harper. The senior forward turned in 19 points in the second half and finished with 22, eight rebounds and six assists, all team highs.

BARNES IN SIXTH SEASON AS REBEL MENTOR: Rod Barnes is in the midst of his sixth season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. The 2001 Naismith and CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year, Barnes has a 108-67 record (.617 winning percentage). The 100 wins in his first five seasons is the most by a Rebel coach in that span of time in Ole Miss history. In 2000-01, Barnes was the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, and guided Ole Miss to a school-record 17 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).

SCOUTING LSU: LSU is off to a 12-2 start for the second straight year. However, the Fighting Tigers are fresh off their first SEC loss of the season, 64-54, to Mississippi State Saturday in Baton Rouge. Jaime Lloreda led LSU with 13 points and nine rebounds, and is averaging 17.7 and 11.6, respectively. Alongside Lloreda on the LSU frontline is freshman Brandon Bass who has posted averages of 13.6 points and 7.6 rebounds. Both Tigers rank among the top three in the SEC in blocked shots, as Bass swats away 2.00 per game and Lloreda 1.69. LSU head coach John Brady is in his seventh year at the helm and returns eight letterwinners and two starters from last year's 21-11 squad that tied for second in the SEC West and earned an NCAA Tournament berth.

OLE MISS-LSU SERIES: Wednesday's game will be the 184th meeting between the two schools. The series with the Tigers, which began in 1909, is the second longest in Ole Miss basketball history. LSU leads the all-time series 107-76, but the teams split their two meetings a year ago. The Rebels hold a 47-31 lead in games played in Oxford. Ole Miss has won two of the last three meetings against LSU in Oxford, with the Tigers pulling off a 77-64 win in Tad Smith Coliseum last year. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 5-5 versus LSU and is 3-2 versus LSU in Oxford.

QUOTING BARNES ON LSU: "We're thankful that our kids are pretty healthy at this point. We need to be healthy, because LSU is an extremely tough basketball team and they're coming off a tough loss. Our team is going to have to be prepared. We're definitely a team that needs to win."

SECOND-HALF TEAM: Ole Miss has been an outstanding second-half team this season, and Saturday's Arkansas battle was just another example. Down by as much as 20 points after halftime, the Rebels narrowed the gap to five by the final 22 seconds before coming up short of the win. It marked the third time this season that Ole Miss trimmed a second-half deficit of 17 or more points to six points or less. In two other games, the Rebels trailed by double-digits and rallied for the victory. Through 14 games, Ole Miss has outscored its opponents by 58 points (515-457) in the second half.

CLASH OF SEC STARS: Wednesday's battle will feature arguably the Southeastern Conference's top two forwards in LSU's Jaime Lloreda and Ole Miss' Justin Reed. They are the only two players in the SEC to rank top five in both points and rebounds. The following chart displays where the two frontcourt studs measure up among the conference statistical leaders:

SCORING
1.	Scooter McFadgon, UT	18.1
T1.	Justin Reed, OM		18.1
3.	Jonathon Modica, AR	18.0
4. 	Matt Freije, VU		17.9
5.	Jaime Lloreda, LSU		17.7

REBOUNDING 1. Jaime Lloreda, LSU 11.6 2. Lawrence Roberts, MS 10.5 3. Chris Daniels, UG 10.0 4. Chuck Hayes, UK 8.5 5. Justin Reed, OM 8.3

RISING JUNIORS: After playing a reserve role over the course of their Rebel tenure, the junior trio of Justin Johnson, Cavadas Nunnery and Kendrick Fox have emerged as impact players this season for Ole Miss. At the season's midway point, all three have established new season-high totals in nearly every statistical category. After only four starts in his first two years, Johnson has settled in at the off-guard spot, starting the last 10 games there. The Fayetteville, N.C., native has eclipsed his previous game-high for points twice, including a 20-point outburst at Arkansas on Saturday. He also posted a career-high five rebounds twice and five steals vs. Louisiana-Monroe. Nunnery has provided a spark off the Rebel bench and ranks second on the team in steals (20) and third in assists (37). In SEC play, he has been a major contributor, leading the conference in assist/turnover ratio with 11 dimes and no TOs and is tied for sixth in the league in steals at 2.00 per game. Nunnery posted five assists and four steals at Auburn. Fox has been in the Ole Miss starting lineup six times this season after only two starts as a freshman and sophomore. A hometown talent from Lafayette High School, Fox boasts his first three career double-digit point games this year, including a 17-point performance at Evansville. That evening saw Fox knock down five three-pointers, including the game-winner with four seconds remaining.

REED ENTERS ELITE CLUB: With his six rebounds at Arkansas, Justin Reed entered an elite Ole Miss category. The senior forward became only the fifth Rebel move into the top 10 in both career points and rebounds. With his 20 points at Auburn, Reed moved over the 1,500 plateau for his career, making him the ninth Ole Miss player to reach that mark. With 673 rebounds in the Red and Blue, Reed has passed Jason Smith (1996-99) for 10th on the all-time rebound list.

PROTECTING THE BALL: The Rebels have been among college basketball's best this season in the turnover category. Ole Miss tops the SEC and ranks top 20 in the nation in fewest turnovers per game (12.4). The Rebels are also second in the conference in TO margin (+3.29). Leading the charge is freshman point guard Todd Abernethy with a 3.6/1 assist/turnover ratio. In addition, the Rebels have forced 16 or more turnovers in seven of the 14 games, and induced 23 takeaways against Nicholls State. In SEC play, junior point guard Cavadas Nunnery has been the catalyst, leading the conference in assist/turnover ratio with 11 dimes and no TOs. With his four steals at Arkansas, Nunnery is also averaging 2.00 steals per game in league play, tied for sixth in the SEC.

 

 

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