Rebel Basketball Game Notes
Feb. 10, 2005
Game 24: Ole Miss (12-11, 3-7) vs. #17 Alabama (18-4, 7-2)
REBS TRAVEL TO WEST LEADER BAMA: After a midweek break, Ole Miss returns to action Saturday on the road against No. 17 Alabama. The Rebels had won eight in a row over Arkansas in Tad Smith Coliseum before Saturday's 66-65 Razorback victory. Ole Miss rallied from 11 down in the second half to tie the game in the final minute, before Dontell Jefferson's game-winning free throw with 2.2 seconds left. Senior forward Marvin Moore posted his second career 20-point outing with a game-high 22 along with 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Junior forward Londrick Nolen clocked in with 11 points and 6 boards.
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 124-86 record. Barnes' 125 coaching victories in his first 212 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span and is the second-most wins in school history. His .590 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 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 ALABAMA: The Crimson Tide has risen as high as 11th in the national polls this year and is currently the SEC Western Division leader. Alabama has won seven of its last eight games and is fresh off a 72-54 beating of Tennessee Wednesday in Knoxville. Seventh-year UA head coach Mark Gottfried has four starters back from last year's NCAA Elite Eight team, including three Preseason All-SEC players in Kennedy Winston, Earnest Shelton and Chuck Davis. Winston, a junior forward who has been named to the Naismith and Wooden Awards midseason lists, and Shelton, a senior guard, form the top scoring duo in the conference with point averages of 17.2 and 17.0, respectively. Davis joins them in double-digits at 14.0 ppg, while ranking among the SEC's best in rebounds (7.2) and blocked shots (1.91). Sophomore forward Jermareo Davidson is fourth in the league in rebounding at 8.8, while SEC Freshman of the Year candidate Ronald Steele is third in assists at 5.0.
OLE MISS-ALABAMA SERIES: Saturday's game will be the 155th meeting between the two schools. The Crimson Tide holds a 108-46 lead in the series, which began in 1921. The teams have split their season series the last six years, and earlier this season, Alabama snapped a seven-game skid in Oxford with a 66-58 victory (see page 7). The Tide holds a 64-8 lead in games played in Tuscaloosa and has won seven straight at Coleman Coliseum, including last year's 84-69 encounter (see page 6). The last Rebel victory in Tuscaloosa was a 74-63 triumph during the 1997-98 campaign. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 6-7 versus Alabama and 0-6 against the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.
HOLDING COURT: In recent years, the Ole Miss-Alabama series has been a matter of location, location, location. Prior to the Crimson Tide's win in Oxford earlier this year, the home team had prevailed in 13 straight meetings between the Rebels and Tide. Before the UA win in January, the last time the road team ruled was during the 1997-98 season, when Ole Miss pulled off a 74-63 victory in Tuscaloosa.
FAMILIAR FOES: Saturday's match-up between Ole Miss and Alabama will feature head coaches at the helm of basketball programs where they also played. Rod Barnes played at Ole Miss from 1985-88, and is the first Rebel head coach to have played his collegiate basketball at Ole Miss since Cob Jarvis. Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried played at his alma mater from 1985-87 and helped lead the Crimson Tide to three-consecutive NCAA Sweet 16 appearances. During their playing careers, Barnes' and Gottfried's teams met six times from 1984-85 to 1986-87. Gottfried's squads won all six meetings in those match-ups. Both Barnes and Gottfried became head coaches at their alma mater in 1998-99, and the Tide mentor holds a narrow 7-6 lead head-to-head.
OLE MISS VERSUS RANKED TEAMS: Ole Miss faces its fourth nationally-ranked opponent of the year Saturday in Alabama, tabbed No. 17 by the AP and No. 19 by USA Today/ESPN. The Rebels held healthy leads in their other three matchups with ranked foes, but fell just short each time. The Rebels were up by as much as 12 points to No. 18 Mississippi State before falling 87-76. Ole Miss led No. 8 Kentucky until the final 3:41 and had two shot attempts to tie in a bitter 53-50 defeat. In the Rebels' first matchup with then-No. 22 Alabama, Ole Miss was ahead by as much as eight in the second half and was within three points with 2:51 left. Ole Miss was 1-3 against top-25 foes last season and notched a 79-68 win over No. 23 South Carolina. Under head coach Rod Barnes (since the 1998-99 season), the Rebels have a 20-30 record vs. ranked opponents.
MARVELOUS MARVIN: Over the last month, senior forward Marvin Moore has displayed the talents that made him one of the nation's top juco players at Southern Union Community College, where he averaged 23.1 points and 9.9 rebounds as a sophomore in 2002-03. Since his trip to Auburn six games ago, Moore has averaged 9.3 points and 63.4 percent shooting with four double-digit outings and his first two career 20-point performances. Returning to his home state of Alabama, Moore lit up Auburn for 23 points and 12 boards, doubling his previous career highs in the Red and Blue. Making only his third career start, Moore recorded his first double-double as a Rebel and grabbed all 7 of the team's offensive boards. He followed up with a big boost off the bench in the win over Georgia with 10 points and 4 rebounds. Prior to those two games when he shot 72.2 percent (13-for-18), Moore had notched only one previous double-digit scoring outing -- 10 points in his Rebel debut against Arkansas State last year. Moore blew up again last Saturday against Arkansas with game-highs of 22 points and 8 rebounds along with 4 assists. He also tallied 6 points and 6 rebounds against No. 8 Kentucky, and hit double-figures at Vanderbilt with 10 points.
COMING UP SHORT: The Rebels have been on the short end of some nail-bitting battles in conference play. Ole Miss held second-half leads in four of the seven SEC defeats, and either led or was within two possessions inside the final minute of those four games. 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. Ole Miss was on top of No. 22 Alabama by as much as eight points in the second stanza, and held a three-point edge over Arkansas last Saturday with 1:15 remaining.
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. Nolen currently tops the Rebels in scoring (12.3), rebounding (5.0) and blocks (16) and ranks top-3 in assists (45) and steals (26). In SEC play, he is 12th in the conference in rebounding (5.8) and 17th in scoring (12.2). Nolen has punched in double-figures in 16 of the last 20 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.
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 (62.7), 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 at home.
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