Rebel Basketball Game Notes

Jan. 23, 2006

Ole Miss Basketball Game Notes in PDF Format

Game 18: Ole Miss (13-4, 3-1) vs. Arkansas (13-5, 2-3)
January 25, 2006 • 7 p.m. CT
Fayetteville, Ark. • Bud Walton Arena (19,200)

TV: None
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Pete Cordelli, color analyst, Richard Cross, analyst)
SIRIUS Satellite Radio: Channel 121 (Arkansas)

REBELS CONTINUE ROAD SWING AT ARKANSAS: Ole Miss hits the road for the second straight game, traveling to Arkansas for an SEC West clash on Wednesday. The Rebels had their seven-game win streak snapped Sunday at Georgia 72-65. Sophomore center Dwayne Curtis just missed his seventh 20-point outing of the year with a game-high 19 along with 6 rebounds. Junior guard Clarence Sanders dropped in 12 points, while Londrick Nolen and Bam Doyne each posted 9 points and 3 steals. Despite the loss, Ole Miss is off to its best SEC start since opening 3-1 in 1997-98 and its finest overall start since beginning 13-4 in 2001-02.

BARNES APPROACHES COACHING RECORD: Rod Barnes is in his eighth season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program and is five victories away from reaching B.L. "Country" Graham's school record for coaching wins (145). The 2001 Naismith and National Coach of the Year, Barnes has a 140-97 record. Barnes' 140 coaching victories in his first 237 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span. His .591 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 RAZORBACKS: Stan Heath's Razorbacks coasted through the non-conference schedule with an 11-2 mark, with the lone losses coming to UConn and Maryland. Arkansas is off to a 2-3 start in SEC play with the three losses by a total of 10 points, including an overtime setback at Alabama. The Razorbacks rebounded for a 68-52 victory at Auburn on Saturday. Arkansas is led by the SEC's scoring and steals leader Ronnie Brewer. The junior guard and preseason All-America is posting 18.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.9 steals. Senior guard Jonathon Modica is dropping in 13.8 points, while sophomore forward Darian Townes is notching 11.1 points and 6.4 rebounds. With Townes (1.94 bpg) and sophomore center Steven Hill (3.11 bpg), the Razorbacks boast two of the conference's top-6 shot blockers. The lineup also features the SEC's No. 1 assist man in senior guard Dontell Jefferson and his 5.8 average.

OLE MISS-ARKANSAS SERIES: Wednesday's game will be the 57th meeting between the two schools, with the Razorbacks holding an all-time series lead of 37-19. The series began in 1937. Since Arkansas joined the Southeastern Conference in the 1991-92 season, the series is tied at 14-14. Ole Miss has won 11 of the last 15 meetings against the Razorbacks. Arkansas swept last year's season series, winning 69-46 in Fayetteville and 66-65 in Oxford (see page 6). Arkansas holds a 12-6 series lead in games played in Fayetteville, but Ole Miss has won five of the last nine encounters in Bud Walton Arena. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 10-4 versus Arkansas and 4-3 against the Razorbacks in Fayetteville.

ARKANSAS REBELS: Ole Miss certainly holds a strong connection with the nearby western state of Arkansas. The Rebels have sported 15 Arkansas natives on their roster under head coach Rod Barnes (since 1998-99), including four current players -- Bam Doyne (Little Rock), Jermey Parnell (Gosnell), Brandon Patterson (Altheimer) and Mike Smith (Jacksonville). Other notable Rebels from Arkansas include Jason Smith (Wheatley), Keith Carter (Perryville), Jason Flannigan (Little Rock) and Jason Harrison (Little Rock). In addition, one of Ole Miss' fall signees, 6-foot-1, 165-pound guard Solomon Bozeman, current resides in Magnolia, Ark., where his father Eric, a former Rebel assistant, is the head coach at Southern Arkansas. Current Ole Miss assistant coach Grant Pate coached at both Ouachita Baptist in Arkadelphia, Ark., and Arkansas-Monticello before joining the Rebel staff.

HAVEN'T WE MET BEFORE?: Wednesday's game between Arkansas and Ole Miss is the seventh time Rod Barnes and Stan Heath will face each other as head coaches, but before these contests, the two were on opposing benches once before. Back in the 1999 NCAA Tournament, Barnes, then the Rebels' first-year head coach, guided Ole Miss to the second round of the NCAA Tournament where it played Michigan State. Heath was an assistant on that Spartan coaching staff. Michigan State won a hard-fought 74-66 game, and went on to advance to the Final Four.

REBELS AMONG TEAM LEADERS IN SEC PLAY: With a 3-1 record, Ole Miss sits second in the SEC Western Division standings and is among the leaders in several statistical categories. Below is how the Rebels rank in SEC games only:
Scoring offense: 4th (69.8)
Scoring defense: 4th (65.2)
Scoring margin: 4th (+4.5)
Free throw percentage: 4th (.699)
Field goal percentage: 2nd (.475)
Field goal pct. defense: 3rd (.406)
3-point field goal pct. defense: 1st (.200)
Steals: T3rd (7.75)
Turnover margin: 3rd (+2.25)

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 a recent stretch of four straight 20-point games. 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. Curtis capped the streak with 21 points, a career-high 14 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks in directing the Rebels to their first win at Alabama since 1997-98. The performance earned him SEC Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career. For the season, Curtis has scored in double-figures in 13 of 17 games with six 20-point outings and three double-doubles. He posted 18 points and 12 rebounds against South Carolina State. The Chicago native scorched 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 (14.8), rebounding (7.4), steals (1.5) and blocks (0.9). He is also tied for third in assists (1.7). In SEC play, Curtis is top-5 in the conference in scoring (18.0), rebounding (8.5) and field goal percentage (.620).

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. He tallied a career-high 9 rebounds with 5 assists against the Gamecocks and hit 2 key free throws with 9 ticks left. 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 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. Doyne led the team in assists against Mississippi State with a career-high 6 along with 6 points and 5 rebounds. The Little Rock native tops the team in assists (2.8) and ranks second in scoring (10.5), rebounds (4.8) and steals (1.2). In SEC play, Doyne is averaging 35.2 minutes, 12.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists.

CAPTAIN TODD: After being winless in his first four career games against Mississippi State, junior guard Todd Abernethy took charge in leading the Rebels past the rival Bulldogs. The two-year team captain turned in his first career 20-point game with a career-high 22 along with 5 assists. Abernethy pumped in 17 in the second half and 7 in the final three minutes. His fourth 3-pointer of the game with 39 seconds left squashed MSU's final rallying efforts and ended the eight-game skid to the Dogs. Abernethy finished 4-of-7 from behind the arc against State and boasts season percentages of .463 (31-of-67) and .500 (7-of-14) in SEC play. The Carmel, Ind., native drilled 4-of-6 against Centenary and connected on 3-of-4 vs. Nicholls and Southern Utah.

• After starting his first six career games, freshman forward Trey Hampton has come off the bench the last 11. Hampton's first game as a reserve turned out to be his best yet. The Hoover, Ala., native dropped in a career-high 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting against Saint Louis, including 2-for-2 in 3-pointers. He followed up with an 8-point showing against No. 5 Memphis. Hampton returned home to Alabama to post 4 points, including an emphatic breakaway dunk, with 3 boards against the Crimson Tide.
• Freshman forward Xavier Hansbro ranks fifth among SEC freshman in 3-point percentage at .353 (12-of-34). Hanbro drilled 4-of-6 treys, including 3 in the final 3:44, for 12 points in his Rebel debut against Southern Utah.
• After missing time and seeing little action in five of the final six non-conference games, senior forward Londrick Nolen has reemerged in SEC play and returned to the starting lineup. The Memphis native posted a season-high 15 points at Alabama for his fifth double-digit game of the year and 21st of his two-year Rebel tenure. Nolen tallied 9 points, 4 assists and 3 steals at Georgia. He is averaging 2.0 steals in SEC play, tied for second-best in the league.
• Sophomore Jermey Parnell posted his third career double-figure game against Alcorn State with a career-high 11 points, hitting 2-of-2 field goals and 7-of-8 free throws. After shooting 45.2 percent from the free throw line as a freshman, Parnell is a team-best 82.4 percent (28-for-34) from the stripe this year.
• Junior guard Clarence Sanders has shown to be a streaky scorer this season. Sanders has posted four games of 15 or more points, but also four games with 1 or no points. He had his best game as a Rebel against Arkansas State with 20 points and 4 3-pointers. However, Sanders followed up with 4 points vs. Southeastern Louisiana and 0 vs. Alcorn State. He returned to form against Western Carolina with 15, but was held scoreless at Alabama.
• Sophomore guard Brian Smith has provided solid play at the point off the bench over the last eight games, averaging 14.0 minutes, 4.8 points and 64.7 percent shooting, including 72.7 percent from behind the arc (8-of-11). In three games during the stretch, Smith has scored a career-high 8 points and hit 2 3-pointers, including Saturday's loss to Georgia. He clinched the Rebel win over Southeastern Louisiana with 2 clutch treys in the final 3:33. The Lexington native notched 7 points in 18 minutes vs. South Carolina.
• Freshman forward Mike Smith earned his first career start at Georgia, but played only 8 minutes with 1 rebound and 1 block. Smith averaged 20.0 minutes in the Rebels' final four non-conference games. The Jacksonville, Ark., native turned in his finest game at Ole Miss against Alcorn State, posting career-bests of 9 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, including 5 offensive boards.
• With the starting frontcourt in foul trouble, freshman center Marquis Young garnered five key minutes during the final 9:30 of the South Carolina game. The Chicago native grabbed 2 rebounds in his first action since the Dec. 15 Nicholls game. Young has earned minutes in the Rebels' last three games.

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:
Scoring: 9th (14.8)
Rebounding: 5th (7.4)
Field goal percentage: 2nd (.620)
Offensive rebounds: T2nd (3.18)
Scoring (SEC play): 4th (18.0)
Rebounding (SEC play): 4th (8.5)
Field goal pct. (SEC play): 2nd (.625)
Offensive rebounds (SEC play): 2nd (3.50)

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 No.1 in the SEC in 3-point percentage defense at .307 and also first in SEC play at an astonishing .200. The Red and Blue is also tops in overall field goal percentage in conference play (.406). 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 took some major steps forward this season. The Rebels are currently averaging 70.4 points per game, which is 6.6 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 46.7, which is currently fourth-best in the SEC. 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, and in the 60s twice.

GOING STREAKING: Opening the conference slate with a 3-0 mark, the Rebels reeled off seven consecutive wins. The seven-game streak matched the longest since opening the 2000-01 campaign with 11 straight victories. Ole Miss also won seven in a row last year and in 2001-02.

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.



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