Rebel Basketball Game Notes
Jan. 25, 2005
Game 20: Ole Miss (11-8, 2-4) vs. LSU (9-6, 2-2)
REBS BEGIN ROAD SWING AT LSU: With a 3-1 mark in its last four road games, Ole Miss opens a two-game swing Wednesday at LSU. The Rebels fell short in upset bids of No.8 Kentucky and No. 22 Alabama last week at home, despite holding second-half leads of at least 8 points in both games. Senior forward Tommie Eddie notched his seventh game of 16 or more points against Alabama with 16 along with 6 rebounds. Senior guard Cavadas Nunnery scored a career-high 13 points with 4 assists. Ole Miss has won nine of its last 13 games and is 2-2 in its last four SEC outings.
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 124-84 record. Barnes' 124 coaching victories in his first 208 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span and is the second-most wins in school history. His .596 winning percentage is the highest of any Rebel coach of seven 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 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 had its three-game win streak, which included overtime home victories over Ohio State and Arkansas, snapped in an 89-53 beating at Kentucky Saturday. The Fighting Tigers enter the week alone in third place in the SEC Western Division at 2-2, 9-6 overall. The young LSU frontcourt features two of the best forwards in the league in sophomore Brandon Bass and freshman Glen Davis. Bass is sixth in the league in scoring at 16.9, while Davis is notching 13.7 per game. Both players rank among the top four in the SEC in rebounding with Davis at 8.7 and Bass at 8.5. Davis has been spectacular in conference play with double-doubles of 26 points and 18 boards vs. Arkansas and 28 and 14 against South Carolina. In SEC action, Davis is the league's No. 1 rebounder at 12.8 rpg and is fourth-best in scoring at 19.0 ppg. Point guard Tack Minor is the SEC's top assist man at 5.8 per outing, while guards Antonio Hudson and Darrel Mitchell are among the league's best three-point shooters at 40.5 and 38.8 percent, respectively.
OLE MISS-LSU SERIES: Wednesday's game will be the 186th 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 108-77, and the teams have split their last eight meetings. The home team prevailed in both games a year ago.
The Tigers hold a 71-25 lead in games played in Baton Rouge. However, the long-time rivals have split their last eight encounters in Baton Rouge. The Rebels took the 2002-03 matchup 67-57 in the Maravich Center, but lost last year's meeting 58-45 as the Tigers rallied from 16 points down in the second half (see page 6). Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 6-6 against LSU and is 2-4 vs. the Tigers in Baton Rouge.
QUOTING BARNES: On facing LSU: "We are coming off two tough losses to very good basketball teams. LSU is a very talented team, very similar to Alabama with a great inside and outside game. It's always tough on the road."
On defending LSU: "We have to defend on the perimeter. That's going to be difficult. You have to eliminate their touches near the basket. Hopefully, we'll do a better job on the boards than we have done. They are similar to Alabama, in that everyone of their kids is a threat."
On bench play this season: "I think we have to get those guys a little more involved than we have in the past. If we can get those guys back where they were, we will be ok. I think late in the game we may have guys a little bit too tired. We are going to try to implement a few more kids."
DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE: It has been Rod Barnes' trademark defense that has spurred the Rebels' turnaround, winning nine of their last 13 games. The Rebels rank third in the SEC in scoring defense (62.1), and limited Kentucky to 53 points -- the Wildcats lowest scoring output of the year and 22.6 below their average. On Saturday, Ole Miss held Alabama 14.8 points below their scoring average at 66. The Rebels have limited two opponents under 50 points this season (Southeastern Louisiana to 48 and Troy to 49), making 27 times in Barnes' seven years at the helm that the opposition was contained below 50.
Ole Miss 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.
PROTECTING THE BALL: In Saturday's loss to No. 22 Alabama, Ole Miss committed only two turnovers -- the lowest single-game total in the Rod Barnes era (since 1998-99). It marked the third time this season that the Rebels have been in single-digits in giveaways. Ole Miss ranks fourth in the SEC in turnover margin at +2.53, and starting point guard Cavadas Nunnery is fourth in the conference in assist/turnover ratio at 1.79.
AWESOME EDDIE: Tommie Eddie's game-winning trey with 2.8 seconds left 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 outstanding 60.0 percent, and posted seven games of 16 or more points, including a 16-point outing with 6 rebounds vs. 22nd-ranked Alabama Saturday. Eddie also posted 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting against No. 18 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 All-American Willie Jenkins to two points.
CAJUN FEAST: In LSU, Ole Miss faces its fourth opponent of the season from Louisiana. The Rebels are 3-0 against the state so far with wins over Nicholls State 87-55, Louisiana Monroe 84-58, and Southeastern Louisiana 64-48. Ole Miss is 173-185 all-time against Louisiana schools including such frequent foes as Tulane (35-55) and SEC rival LSU (77-108).
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 9-4 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 secured the victory over Georgia with a steal, two key rebounds and a clinching free throw all in the final 30 seconds. He finished with 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Against Mississippi State, he totaled 6 points and 6 assists. Last week, Nunnery scored 7 points vs. No. 8 Kentucky and followed up with a career-high 13 against No. 22 Alabama. Nunnery ranks fourth in the SEC in assist/turnover ratio (1.79).
FOX NAMED TO SEC GOOD WORKS TEAM: Last week, senior forward Kendrick Fox was 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.
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