Rebel Basketball Game Notes
Feb. 15, 2005
Game 25: Ole Miss (12-12, 3-8) vs. Florida (15-6, 7-3)
OLE MISS CONTINUES ROAD SWING AT FLORIDA: Ole Miss looks to move back over the .500 mark for the season Wednesday at Florida. The Rebels lost their second straight game Saturday, falling to 17th-ranked Alabama 71-45 in Tuscaloosa. It marked the first time in eight years for the Rebels to suffer a season-sweep to the Crimson Tide. Senior guard Justin Johnson knocked down 3-of-4 three-pointers and topped Ole Miss in scoring for the second time in the last three games with 11 points, his sixth double-digit outing of the season. Freshman center Jermey Parnell came off the bench for his best game as a Rebel with career highs of 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.
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 125-88 record. Barnes' 125 coaching victories in his first 213 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span and is the second-most wins in school history. His .587 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 FLORIDA: Florida sits second in the SEC Eastern Division and has won four of its last six games, including an 84-73 road win at Tennessee Saturday. Junior guard Matt Walsh posted a game-high 23 points for his fifth 20-point outing and first since missing four games with an ankle sprain. Walsh has teamed with junior guard Anthony Roberson and senior forward David Lee to form the SEC's top scoring trio and help give the Gators the No. 1 offense in the league at 80.3 points per game. Roberson is the conference's top scorer overall (18.2) and in league play (21.2). Lee, who has turned in seven double-doubles, is averaging 13.0 ppg and is top six in the SEC in rebounding at 8.1. In his ninth year at the helm, UF head coach Billy Donovan returned all five starters from last year's 20-11 squad that finished second in the SEC East and earned the program's sixth straight NCAA Tournament bid.
OLE MISS-FLORIDA SERIES: Wednesday's game will be the 94th meeting between the two schools. Florida holds a 52-41 lead in the series, which began in 1940. The teams have split the last eight meetings, and the Gators have won the last two, including last year's 81-66 result in Oxford. Florida enjoys a 31-11 edge in Gainesville, although the clubs have split the last two encounters at the O'Connell Center. Rebel head coach Rod Barnes is 3-5 versus Florida and 1-2 against the Gators in Gainesville.
QUOTING BARNES: (On playing Florida) "We are coming off a tough loss against Alabama, and now we are headed to Florida. That's a tough position to be in. It seems like Matt Walsh has found his stroke again. It will be a tough game for us, but our kids will be prepared and continue to fight." (On Matt Walsh) "Just watching the last game, I thought he really found his stroke. He got off to a good start in the first half. We happen to catch Florida when he is playing well again, and that is tough for us."
COOLIDGE BALL HONORED AS SEC LIVING LEGEND: Coolidge Ball will be part of the SEC Basketball Legends 2005 class to be honored at the SEC Men's Tournament March 10-13 at the Georgia Done in Atlanta, announced by league commissioner Mike Slive. Ball's impact on The University of Mississippi extended far beyond his accomplishments on the court. In 1970, Ball became Ole Miss' first black student-athlete. His ground-breaking career saw him earn UPI All-SEC third team honors in all three of his varsity seasons, and garner All-SEC distinction from the league coaches in 1972 and 1973. Ball compiled 1,072 points in his career and helped direct the Rebels to three straight winning seasons for the first time since 1936-38. In 1972, he topped the Rebels in scoring (16.8) and assists (42). Ball led the club in rebounding (9.8) in 1973, and his 754 career boards ranks seventh-best in school history. A native of Indianaola, Miss., Ball remains an active part of the Ole Miss basketball family and has served as president of the Rebel Tip-Off Club.
VOICE OF REBELS NAMED SPORTSCASTER OF YEAR: For the fourth time in the last seven years, David Kellum has been named the Mississippi Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters of America. Kellum, an Oxford native, is in his 16th season as the Voice of the Rebels and has been associated with Ole Miss broadcasts for 27 years. He became the play-by-play announcer for Rebel baseball as a freshman student at Ole Miss in 1978.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Ole Miss makes its fifth TV appearance of the season Wednesday against Florida on Sun Sports, formerly the Sunshine Network. The game will air delayed at 11 p.m. ET and is available locally on certain DirecTV packages. The Rebels have at least 10 televised contests on the 2004-05 docket. The Rebels are 1-5 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), Alabama 66-58 (JP) and Arkansas 66-65 (FSN). Under head coach Rod Barnes (since 1998-99), Ole Miss has played 85 television games and has a 43-42 record in those matchups.
J.J. HEATS UP: Justin Johnson has given Ole Miss a spark of late, averaging 11.8 points and knocking down 9-of-14 three-pointers (.643) over the last three games. The senior forward led the Rebels in scoring for the first time in his career in the home win over Auburn and finished one point shy of his personal-high with 19 points, his most since dropping 20 at Arkansas last year. He nailed a career-best 5-of-7 three-pointers and grabbed 3 steals. Two games later, Johnson paced Ole Miss again with 11 points and 3-of-4 treys at Alabama Saturday. It was his sixth game in double-figures this season.
SUPER SUB: Sophomore guard Todd Abernethy started the first 34 games of his collegiate career, but moved to the sixth-man role earlier this season against Memphis. In his 17 games off the pine, Abernethy has posted six double-figure scoring outings and six 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, and posted 9 points and 4 assists against both Vanderbilt and Alabama. Abernethy also grabbed a team-high 9 rebounds against the Commodores.
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 eight 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 at home with 1:15 remaining. Five of Ole Miss' eight SEC losses have been decided by 11 points or less.
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