Rebel Basketball Game Notes
Jan. 26, 2006
Game 19: Ole Miss (13-5, 3-2) vs. LSU (13-5, 5-0)
OLE MISS RETURNS HOME FOR RIVAL LSU: After two straight on the road, the Rebels return to Oxford Saturday to face SEC leader LSU. After winning seven straight and opening league play 3-0, Ole Miss has dropped its last two, including Wednesday's 71-58 defeat at Arkansas. Junior guard Clarence Sanders came off the bench for a team-high 12 points, all in the second half. Sophomore center Dwayne Curtis posted his fourth double-double of the year with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Despite the loss, Ole Miss is off to its best start since beginning 14-4, 3-2 in SEC, in 2001-02. That squad went on become the program's fifth and most recent team to win 20 games and earn an NCAA Tournament berth.
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 CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year, Barnes has a 140-98 record. Barnes' 140 coaching victories in his first 238 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span. His .588 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 TIGERS: After an 8-5 non-conference season, LSU has opened SEC play with a 5-0 mark to take over first place in the league overall. John Brady's Fighting Tigers dismantled Georgia 81-52 Wednesday in achieving their best start since 1980-81. The young LSU frontcourt features two of the SEC's best in sophomore Glen Davis and freshman Tyrus Thomas. A preseason Naismith Award Candidate, Davis is second in the league in scoring at 17.6 and third in rebounding at 9.1, while Thomas is notching 13.8 points and leading the conference in rebounding at 9.8, field goal percentage at .629 and blocked shots at 3.39. That tandem has helped make LSU No.1 in the SEC in rebounding and blocks. Senior guard Darrel Mitchell is among the league's top 5 in scoring (17.4), assists (4.72), steals (2.11), 3-point shooting (.444), 3-pointers made (2.44) and minutes (35.22).
OLE MISS-LSU SERIES: Saturday's game will be the 188th 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 110-77. In the last 10 games, the Tigers hold a narrow 6-4 advantage and swept last year's season series. LSU prevailed 70-60 in Baton Rouge and 58-53 in the Ole Miss home finale. The Rebels hold a 48-31 lead in games played in Oxford. Ole Miss has taken three of the last five and nine of the last 12 meetings at Tad Smith Coliseum. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 6-8 against LSU and 4-3 vs. the Tigers in Oxford.
LAURINBURG REUNION: Saturday's game will feature three players from last year's national champion Laurinburg Prep team, which has been called the top prep squad of all-time. Ole Miss freshman forward Mike Smith started 10 games for Laurinburg, including the national championship game. From LSU, Magnum Rolle and Chris Johnson also played for the 40-0 team, which sent 18 players to Division I programs.
"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 10-1 mark this year, Ole Miss has won 122 of its last 149 games (.819 winning percentage) in Oxford, including homecourt winning streaks of 29, 20 and 15 games. The Rebels have an all-time record of 364-174 (.677 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 94-26 (.783 winning percentage), including a 37-21 homecourt record against SEC foes (.638 winning percentage). Ole Miss knocked off South Carolina and Mississippi State in its first two conference home games this year.
REBELS AMONG TEAM LEADERS IN SEC PLAY: With a 3-2 record, Ole Miss is tied for 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:
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 14 of 18 games with six 20-point outings and four 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 (14.6), rebounding (7.6), steals (1.4) and blocks (0.8). He is also tied for third in assists (1.7). In SEC play, Curtis is top-7 in the conference in scoring (16.4), rebounding (8.8) and field goal percentage (.567).
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 (2.7) and ranks second in scoring (10.3), rebounds (4.6) and steals (1.2). In SEC play, Doyne is averaging 33.2 minutes, 11.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.2 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 .465 (33-of-71) and .500 (9-of-18) in SEC play. The Carmel, Ind., native drilled 4-of-6 against Centenary and connected on 3-of-4 vs. Nicholls and Southern Utah. Abernethy knocked down 2-of-4 treys at Arkansas Wednesday.
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 No.1 in the SEC in 3-point percentage defense at .307 and also first in SEC play at an astonishing .200. Ole Miss is forcing 16.0 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 69.7 points per game, which is 5.9 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 46.3, which is currently fifth-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 matches 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.
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