Rebel Basketball Game Notes
Jan. 28, 2005
Game 21: Ole Miss (11-9, 2-5) vs. Vanderbilt (11-8, 2-4)
REBELS CONTINUE ROAD SWING AT VANDERBILT: Ole Miss faces its second straight SEC road game, and tries to snap a three-game skid at Vanderbilt Saturday. The Rebels came up short of earning a road win at LSU Wednesday 70-60, despite leading by as much as 10 in the second half. Senior forward Tommie Eddie led the Rebels with 15 points and 6 rebounds, and is averaging those same numbers over the last three games. Junior forward Londrick Nolen posted team-highs in rebounds with 7 and assists with 4, and hit double-figure points for the 14th time in his last 17 games with 12.
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 124-85 record. Barnes' 124 coaching victories in his first 209 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span and is the second-most wins in school history. His .593 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 VANDERBILT: The Commodores also skid into the weekend, struggling through a four-game losing streak, the team's longest since dropping eight in a row late in the 2002-2003 campaign. Vanderbilt's 68-63 defeat at South Carolina on Wednesday was similar to the Rebels' midweek matchup, as VU enjoyed a six-point lead at the break only to fall victim to a 16-0 Gamecock run during an 8:50 scoring drought. Despite the second-half cold spell in Columbia, the Dores remain the SEC's top three-point shooting team, leading the conference in threes made (10.26) and ranking second in percentage (.407). Junior guard Mario Moore tops the club and is among the SEC leaders in scoring (13.3), assists (3.68), threes (2.32) and three-point accuracy (.404). Freshman forward Shan Foster has been Vanderbilt's best weapon in league play, averaging a team-high 12.7 ppg, while ranking second in the conference in threes (3.50) and three percentage (.583). Senior center Dawid Przybyszewski provides 8.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg and a 42.7 three-point clip, while swingman Corey Smith is tallying 11.1 ppg off the pine. Vanderbilt has had more home wins than any other SEC team since the start of last season (25-3).
OLE MISS-VANDERBILT SERIES: Saturday's game will be the 105th meeting between Ole Miss and Vanderbilt on the hardwood. The Commodores hold a 66-38 lead in the series, which began in 1925. The teams have split their last six regular-season meetings. Vanderbilt took last year's regular-season meeting 77-65 in Oxford and less than three weeks later, ousted Ole Miss from the SEC Tournament with a 70-50 first round win in Atlanta. The Commodores hold a commanding 44-7 in games played in Nashville and held court in the last encounter there, 76-68 in 2002-03. In the previous game at Memorial Gym, Ole Miss posted an 81-68 victory (Jan. 6, 2001), in its first win since the 1984-85 season. Rebel head coach Rod Barnes is 3-4 versus Vanderbilt and 1-2 at Memorial Gymnasium.
QUOTING BARNES: "It will be a tough task going to Vanderbilt. They have a good team and we will have to play well. We have been playing teams tough but then struggle the last five minutes of the game. We have to work on finishing games and trying to get back in the win column."
COMING UP SHORT: Facing difficult circumstances, the Rebels have turned in outstanding efforts in their last three games, but have finished just short in the end. Matched up with two top-20 opponents and a tough division rival on the road, Ole Miss held halftime leads in its last three games and led by 8 or more points in the second half of all three. The Rebels led eighth-ranked Kentucky until the final 3:41, and had two shot attempts to tie the game in the 53-50 heartbreaker.
IT'S A STEAL: The Rebels collected 12 steals at LSU on Wednesday, marking the ninth time this season to clock in double-figure thefts. For the second straight game, Todd Abernethy made 3 steals, while Cavadas Nunnery added 3 more. In SEC play, Ole Miss is tied for third in steals at 7.00 spg, while Nunnery is eighth in the league at 1.57.
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. He led the Rebels with 15 points and 6 rebounds at LSU Wednesday, and he is averaging those same numbers over the last three games. Eddie has shot a outstanding 58.8 percent, and posted seven games of 16 or more points, including a 16-point outing with 6 rebounds vs. 22nd-ranked Alabama. 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.
DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE: Rod Barnes' trademark defense has continued to key the Rebels' success. The Rebels rank fourth in the SEC in scoring defense (62.5), and limited Kentucky to 53 points -- the Wildcats lowest scoring output of the year and 22.6 below their average. 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.
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. Wednesday was a prime example as he tallied 12 points and paced Ole Miss in rebounds with 7 and assists with 4. Nolen currently tops the Rebels in scoring (12.5), rebounding (5.1) and blocks (14). In SEC play, he is 11th in the conference in rebounding (6.3) and 13th in scoring (12.9). Nolen has punched in double-figures in 14 of the last 17 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.
SUPER SUB: Since stepping into the sixth man role, Todd Abernethy has kept providing the Rebels consistency and production off the bench. Wednesday at LSU, the sophomore guard tallied 8 points, 5 rebounds and, for the second straight game, 3 steals. Since becoming a sub for the first time in his career 14 games ago, Abernethy has posted six double-figure scoring outings and five games with four or more assists. Against Mississippi State, Abernethy equaled his season-high for assists with 6 to go with 11 points and 4 boards. The Carmel, Ind., native topped Ole Miss in scoring in the win over Georgia with 13 points.
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