Rebel Basketball Game Notes
Feb. 4, 2005
Game 23: Ole Miss (12-10, 3-6) vs. Arkansas (14-7, 2-6)
REBELS AIM AT SECOND STRAIGHT SEC WIN: Ole Miss looks for a second straight SEC win at home Saturday against Arkansas. The Rebels snapped a four-game skid Wednesday with a 70-55 victory over Auburn. Senior Justin Johnson led four Rebels in double-figures with a season-high 19 points. Johnson drilled a career-best 5-of-7 three-pointers, as the Rebels were 11-of-25 from behind the arc. Senior forward Tommie Eddie turned in his eighth game of 16-plus points with 18, his most ever in an SEC contest. Johnson, Londrick Nolen and Cavadas Nunnery each grabbed 3 steals, as Ole Miss posted its 10th game in double-digits steals with an SEC season-high of 14. Nolen, a junior forward, tallied 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and the 3 steals.
MEET THE BASEBALL REBELS: Prior to the Rebel basketball game, the Ole Miss baseball team will hold "Meet the Rebels" Day Saturday at 3 p.m., at Tad Smith Coliseum. Rebel players and coaches will be available in the concourse area of the Coliseum to sign autographs.
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' 125 coaching victories in his first 211 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span and is the second-most wins in school history. His .592 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 ARKANSAS: Arkansas began the season 13-1, but since their home win over the Rebels on Jan. 5, the Razorbacks have gone 1-6, including a 64-52 loss at South Carolina on Wednesday. Sophomore guard Ronnie Brewer, a Preseason All-SEC pick, has been the head Hog, ranking among the league leaders in scoring (16.5), field goal percentage (.492) and assists (3.43). Brewer is the SEC leader in steals at 2.95, and Arkansas is tops in the conference (9.67). The Razorbacks are also No. 1 in blocked shots (5.90), thanks to freshman 7-foot center Steven Hill's SEC-best 2.48 average. Sophomore swingman Olu Famutimi is second in scoring at 10.7 ppg, while junior point guard Eric Ferguson is scoring 9.9 points and is among the SEC's top-10 in assists (4.24), assist/ turnover ratio (2.78) and steals (1.71). UA head coach Stan Heath is in his third year at the helm and returns nine letterwinners and four starters from last year's 12-16 squad that finished last in the SEC Western Division. Arkansas was tabbed fourth in the West in the preseason, just ahead of Ole Miss.
OLE MISS-ARKANSAS SERIES: Saturday's game will be the 56th meeting between the two schools, with the Razorbacks holding an all-time series lead of 36-19. The series began in 1937. Since Arkansas joined the Southeastern Conference in the 1991-92 season, the Rebels lead the series 14-13. Ole Miss has won 11 of the last 14 meetings against the Razorbacks. The home team won in each meeting a year ago, and Arkansas prevailed 69-46 in Fayetteville in this season's first encounter. Ole Miss holds an 11-3 series lead in games played in Oxford, and has won nine straight encounters in Tad Smith Coliseum. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 10-3 vs. Arkansas and 6-0 against the Razorbacks in Oxford.
HAVEN'T WE MET BEFORE?: Saturday's game between Arkansas and Ole Miss is the sixth 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' 1st-year head coach, guided Ole Miss to the 2nd 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.
J.J. HEATS UP: Justin Johnson sparked Ole Miss in the win over Auburn Wednesday. The senior forward paced the Rebels and finished one point shy of his career-high with 19 points, his most since dropping 20 at Arkansas last year. It was his fifth game in double-figures his season. Johnson knocked down a career-best 5-of-7 three-pointers and grabbed 3 steals.
ARKANSAS REBELS: Ole Miss certainly holds a strong connection with the nearby western state of Arkansas. The Rebels have sported 14 Arkansas natives on their roster under head coach Rod Barnes (since 1998-99), including current players Bam Doyne (Little Rock), Jermey Parnell (Gosnell) and Brandon Patterson (Altheimer). 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-7, 240-pound forward Mike Smith, is from Jacksonville, Ark.
IT'S A STEAL: The Rebels collected 14 steals against Auburn Wednesday, marking the 10th time this season to clock in double-figure thefts. Cavadas Nunnery, Londrick Nolen and Justin Johnson each notched 3 steals against the Tigers. Nunnery has notched at least 3 steals in five games this year, including LSU where the Rebels tallied 12. In SEC play, Ole Miss is third in steals at 7.44 spg, while Nunnery is sixth in the league at 1.67.
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 an outstanding 58.4 percent, and posted eight games of 16 or more points, including an 18-point outing with 6 rebounds against Auburn Wednesday. Eddie also posted 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting against No. 18 Mississippi State and 16 points with 6 rebounds vs. 22nd-ranked Alabama. 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. Eddie led the Rebels at LSU with 15 points and 6 rebounds.
DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE: Rod Barnes' trademark defense has continued to key the Rebels' success. The Rebels rank third in the SEC in scoring defense (62.6), 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 held UGA guard Levi Stukes, the SEC's fourth-leading scorer, to no field goals (0-for-8) and four points --13 below his average. Ole Miss also tallied 12 steals and pressured the Bulldogs into 21 turnovers. The Rebels have forced five opponents into 20-plus turnovers, including Auburn Wednesday.
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's game against Auburn was a prime example as he tallied 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Nolen currently tops the Rebels in scoring (12.3), rebounding (5.0) and blocks (14) and ranks top-3 in assists (45) and steals (26). In SEC play, he is 13th in the conference in rebounding (5.8) and 17th in scoring (12.3). Nolen has punched in double-figures in 15 of the last 19 games with three 20-point outings, including 21 at 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 fourth TV appearance of the season Saturday against Arkansas on FSN South. The Rebels have at least 10 televised contests on the 2004-05 docket. The Rebels are 1-4 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), Kentucky 53-50 (JP) and Alabama 66-58 (JP). Under head coach Rod Barnes (since 1998-99), Ole Miss has played 84 television games and has a 43-41 record in those matchups.
BEASTS ON THE BOARDS: An edge on the boards has translated into wins for the Rebels this season. Ole Miss is 10-1 this season when outrebounding its opponent. The Rebels held a 32-30 advantage in Wednesday's win over Auburn and enjoyed a 42-29 edge on the boards at Arkansas -- Ole Miss' only loss with a rebounding lead.
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