Rebel Basketball Game Notes
Jan. 21, 2005
Game 19: Ole Miss (11-7, 2-3) vs. #22 Alabama (14-3, 3-1)
REBS FACE SECOND STRAIGHT TOP-25 FOE: A winner in nine of its last 12 games, Ole Miss faces its second straight top-25 opponent at home Saturday in No. 22 Alabama. The Rebels saw their two-game SEC win streak snapped and their upset bid of No. 8 Kentucky fall short in a 53-50 loss to the Wildcats Wednesday. Ole Miss led by as much as 15 and was ahead until the final 3:41. For the fifth time this season, the Rebels held an opponent in the 30s in shooting percentage, as the Wildcats were limited to 37.3 percent, including a 20.8 clip in the first half. Senior forward Tommie Eddie topped the Rebels with 14 points, 6 rebounds and a career-high 5 steals. Junior forward and leading scorer Londrick Nolen scored in double-figures for the 13th time in the last 15 games with 12 along with 5 boards and 2 assists.
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 124-83 record. Barnes' 124 coaching victories in his first 207 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span and is the second-most wins in school history. His .599 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).
NEW REBEL FOOTBALL COACH INTRODUCED AT HALFTIME: New Ole Miss head football coach Ed Orgeron will speak at halftime of Saturday's Alabama game. Orgeron became the University of Mississippi's 35th head football coach on December 16, 2004.
SCOUTING ALABAMA: Riding a three-game win streak, the 21st-ranked Crimson Tide rolls into Oxford as the SEC Western Division leader and fresh off a record-setting domination of No. 19 Mississippi State, 98-49 Tuesday in Tuscaloosa. Seventh-year UA head coach Mark Gottfried has four starters back from last year's NCAA Elite Eight team, including three Preseason All-SEC players in Kennedy Winston, Earnest Shelton and Chuck Davis. Shelton, a senior guard, dropped in a career-high 34 points against MSU and is Alabama's leading scorer at 17.9 points per game. Winston, a junior forward and Preseason All-America, is close behind at 17.4, as they form the top scoring tandem in the SEC, with both players ranking in the league's top five scorers. Junior forward Chuck Davis is posting averages of 14.8 points and 7.2 boards. Sophomore forward Jermareo Davidson is fifth in the conference in rebounding at 7.9, while SEC Freshman of the Year candidate Ronald Steele is third in assists at 5.24.
OLE MISS-ALABAMA SERIES: Saturday's game will be the 154th meeting between the two schools. The Crimson Tide holds a 107-46 lead in the series, which began in 1921. The teams have split their season series the last six years including 2004-05, when the Rebels won 71-60 in Oxford and lost 89-64 in Tuscaloosa. The series is tied at 35-35 in games played in Oxford, and Ole Miss has won the last seven meetings against Alabama at Tad Smith Coliseum. The last UA win in Oxford came in the 1996-97 season, a 59-46 victory. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 6-6 versus Alabama and 6-0 against the Crimson Tide in Oxford.
SEC GOOD WORKS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior forward Kendrick Fox has been named the SEC Good Works Team Player of the Week. The Oxford native participates in "Reading with the Rebels", where Ole Miss players read to elementary school students. He helped conduct a "Bingo Night" at the Azalea Gardens nursing home and joined his teammates in visiting the Alpha House, a homeless youth shelter in Tupelo. He has also taken part in a canned food drive for the underprivileged during the holidays.
HOLDING COURT: In recent years, the Ole Miss-Alabama series has been a matter of location, location, location. In the last 13 meetings between the Rebels and Tide, the home team has prevailed. The last time the road team won was during the 1997-98 season, when Ole Miss pulled off a 74-63 victory in Tuscaloosa.
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. 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 each has won on his homecourt in all 12 meetings.
DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE: It has been Rod Barnes' trademark defense that has spurred the Rebels' turnaround, winning nine of their last 12 games. The Rebels rank fourth in the SEC in scoring defense (61.8), and limited Kentucky to 53 points on Wednesday, the Wildcats lowest scoring output of the year. Ole Miss also handcuffed Kentucky to 37.3 percent from the field, in one of five times this season an opponent has been held in the 30s in shooting percentage. The Rebels limited Georgia to 33.3 percent shooting and also pressured the Bulldogs into 21 turnovers. Ole Miss has forced four opponents into 20-plus turnovers. The Rebels, who tallied 12 steals, also held UGA sophomore guard Levi Stukes, the SEC's fourth-leading scorer, to no field goals (0-for-8) and four points --13 below his average.
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 this season. Eddie has shot a spectacular 62.2 percent, and posted six games of 17 or more points, including a 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.
"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 6-2 so far in 2004-05. Ole Miss has won 110 of its last 133 games (.827 winning percentage) at home, including homecourt winning streaks of 29, 20 and 15 games. The Rebels have an all-time record of 352-170 (.674 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 82-22 (.788 winning percentage), including a 35-18 homecourt record against SEC foes (.660 winning percentage).
OLE MISS VERSUS RANKED TEAMS: Ole Miss faces its third nationally-ranked opponent of the year Saturday in Alabama, tabbed No. 22 by both the AP and USA Today/ESPN. In their other two matchups with ranked foes, the Rebels lost to No. 18 Mississippi State 87-76 on Jan. 8 and suffered a bitter 53-50 defeat to No. 8 Kentucky Saturday. Ole Miss was 1-3 against top-25 foes last season and notched a 79-68 win over No. 23 South Carolina. Under head coach Rod Barnes (since the 1998-99 season), the Rebels are 20-29 record vs. ranked opponents.
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 has started all but one game, and has filled the stat line in the process. Nolen currently tops the Rebels in scoring (12.9), rebounding (5.1) and blocks (14). His 52.0 percent shooting is second on the team and top-10 in the SEC. Nolen has scored in double-figures in 13 of the last 15 games with three 20-point outings, including 21 against Auburn when he dropped in 18 second-half points. Nolen notched his first double-double in the Red and Blue with 19 points and 12 rebounds at Arkansas. Facing UL-Monroe, he notched 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.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Ole Miss makes its third consecutive TV appearance Saturday against Alabama on JP Sports. The Rebels have at least 10 televised contests on the 2004-05 docket. The Rebels are 1-3 in TV games, with a 79-72 victory at Auburn on FSN South. Ole Miss dropped nail-bitters to Florida State 69-64 (FSN), Mississippi State 87-76 (JP), and Kentucky 53-50 (JP) on Wednesday. Under head coach Rod Barnes (since 1998-99), Ole Miss has played 83 television games and has a 43-40 record in those matchups.
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