Rebel Basketball Game Notes
Feb. 16, 2006
Game 25: Ole Miss (14-10, 4-7) vs. Mississippi State (12-12, 2-9)
REBELS LOOK FOR SEASON SWEEP OF STATE: Ole Miss aims at a season sweep of Mississippi State with Saturday's encounter in Starkville. Both teams will be wearing throwback uniforms as part of the SEC Throwback program. The Rebels ended their seven-game skid with a 73-70 victory over Arkansas Wednesday. Senior forward Londrick Nolen posted his fourth career 20-point performance with a season-high 20 with 8 rebounds, while sophomore center Dwayne Curtis notched his fifth double-double with 19 points and 13 boards. In the final nine seconds, Bam Doyne hit two free throws and grabbed the game's last rebound to seal the win. The Rebels' record pace is their best since opening 18-6 in 2001-02.
BARNES APPROACHES COACHING RECORD: Rod Barnes is in his eighth season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program and is four 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 141-103 record. Barnes' 141 coaching victories in his first 244 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span. His .578 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 BULLDOGS: After opening the year 11-3, Mississippi State has dropped nine of its last 10 games and coming off a 72-59 loss at LSU Wednesday. Rick Stansbury's Bulldogs are powered by the young tandem of freshman swingman Jamont Gordon (13.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg , 4.2 apg) and sophomore forward Charles Rhodes (13.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg). In SEC play, Gordon ranks third in the league in assists with a 4.82 average, while Rhodes is second in both boards at 9.0 and field goal percentage at .552. Senior guard Jamall Edmondson contributes 12.9 points per contest, while junior swingman Dietric Slater adds 9.5. MSU is among the conference leaders in field goal percentage defense (.411), 3-point defense (.330) and rebounding margin (+3.4).
OLE MISS-MISSISSIPPI STATE SERIES: Saturday's game will the 233rd meeting between the two schools, with the Bulldogs holding an all-time series lead of 130-102. Ole Miss snapped an eight-game skid in the series with a 75-65 win in Oxford on Jan. 14. MSU enjoys an 85-23 series advantage in games played in Starkville, and have taken seven straight over the Rebels in Humphrey Coliseum. The Bulldogs came from 10 back for a nail-biting 71-68 victory in last year's meeting at the Hump. The last time Ole Miss posted a win in Starkville was the 1997-98 campaign -- an 82-78 victory on Feb. 21, 1998.
TURNING BACK THE CLOCK: The SEC Throwback Uniform program begins Saturday. All 12 conference schools will be wearing their throwback uniforms at games this weekend and for the week to follow, and will also sport the gear again during the SEC Tournament in Nashville. The Rebels will be dawning the uniforms they wore from 1978-79 to 1991-92. It was Ole Miss' uniform when it claimed the 1981 SEC Tournament title, and the old English lettering was worn by such Rebel greats as John Stroud, Carlos Clark, Sean Tuohy, Rod Barnes and Gerald Glass.
A HEATED RIVALRY: Everyone knows how heated the rivalry is between Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The two schools have turned it up a little more on the hardwood in recent years. In the 21 meetings between the two schools since the 1995-96 season, the average margin of victory has been only 8.1 points. In fact, 17 of the last 21 encounters have been decided by 11 points or less.
SUMMER TEAMMATES: Ole Miss' Jermey Parnell and Mississippi State's Wes Morgan competed as teammates in May, traveling together through the Far East on the Sports Reach team. The duo were among the leaders on the eight-man squad, which was comprised entirely of SEC players and posted a 7-0 mark in its tour. In addition, Rebel Bam Doyne and Bulldog Piotr Stelmach traveled together through Germany July 25- August 5 on the SCORE team sponsored by Phil Waldrep Ministries International. The SCORE squad claimed the Tubingen Invitational title and finished 2-3 on the trip. Besides playing ball, the team members also participated in basketball clinics on the local level and visited a cancer ward of a local children's hospital.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Ole Miss makes its seventh of 10 appearances this season on a major carrier and first ever live showing on ESPN Classic Saturday at Mississippi State. The Rebels also appeared on the ESPN family of networks against Florida on ESPN 2. Ole Miss faced Memphis, Alabama and Georgia on FSN and Mississippi State and Tennessee on JP. In addition, Ole Miss has played twice on local TV, matching up with UIC on Comcast Sportsnet Chicago and Saint Louis on Charter Communications (St. Louis). This season will mark the eighth straight year that the Rebels have appeared on TV 10 or more times. Under head coach Rod Barnes (since 1998-99), Ole Miss has played 96 television games with a 47-49 record.
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. Curtis has scored in double-figures in 17 of 24 games with six 20-point outings and five double-doubles, including his 19-point, 13-rebound game in Wednesday's win over Arkansas. Curtis tops Ole Miss in scoring (13.6), rebounding (7.5), steals (1.4), blocks (0.8) and field goal percentage (.580, which ranks second in the SEC). 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 provided 18 points and 12 rebounds against South Carolina State. At one point this season, Curtis reeled off 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.
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 nine times this year and topped Ole Miss in scoring in five games including his 20-point effort against LSU. He was 6-of-7 shooting, 3-for-3 from the arc and 5-for-6 from the stripe in notching his third 20-point game of the year. Doyne led Ole Miss past South Carolina with 23 points, a career-high 9 rebounds and 5 assists 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. Doyne's crunch time antics came into play again in Wednesday's 73-70 win over Arkansas, when he drilled 2 free throws and grabbed the game's final rebound all in the last 9 seconds. 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. He failed to find his shooting touch at Tennessee, but pitched in with 2 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals. The Little Rock native ranks second on the club in rebounds (4.4), assists (2.4) and steals (1.1) and is tied for third in scoring (9.4).
CAPTAIN TODD: A career 39.4-percent 3-point shooter, two-year team captain Todd Abernethy has been particular accurate from behind the arc this year, boasting season percentages of .462 (43-of-93) and .475 (19-of-40) in SEC play. The junior guard was 4-of-7 from behind the arc against Mississippi State, 4-of-6 against Centenary and 3-of-4 vs. Nicholls and Southern Utah. The Carmel, Ind., native notched his 12th double-digit scoring game of the year against Arkansas Wednesday with 11 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. He posted 14 points and 4 assists at Tennessee and 10 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists at Auburn. After being winless in his first four career games against Mississippi State, Abernethy took charge in leading the Rebels past the rival Bulldogs on Jan. 14. He 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.
HOT CLAY: Streaky shooter Clarence Sanders hit a hot streak in the middle of conference play, averaging 16.8 points over a five-game SEC stretch. The junior guard exploded at Tennessee drilling 7 3-pointers -- the most ever by a Rebel against an SEC opponent and one shy of Keith Carter's school record from 1998. Sanders' 29 points equaled the most by an Ole Miss player since Aaron Harper hung 30 on Auburn in 2003-04. Sanders is second on the team in scoring in conference play at 10.5 per game and tied for second overall at 9.7. Sanders has shown to be a streaky scorer this season. He has posted seven games of 15 or more points, but also five games with 1 or no points. He had his first 20-point game as a Rebel against Arkansas State with 20 points and 4 3-pointers. However, Sanders followed up with 4 points vs. Southeastern Louisiana and 0 vs. Alcorn State. He returned to form against Western Carolina with 15, but was held scoreless in the next game at Alabama.
"O"-RRIVAL: The Ole Miss offense took some major steps forward this season. The Rebels are currently averaging 68.0 points per game, which is 4.2 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 46.2. 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 LSU, and in the 60s twice.
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 six 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, while Arkansas was held to 3-of-16 (.188) from the arc. The Rebels are currently No.1 in the SEC in 3-point percentage defense at .312 and also first in SEC play at .279. In addition, 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.
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:
ABERNETHY NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT: Todd Abernethy was selected to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 6 men's basketball first team, as voted on by the College Sports Information Directors of America. A junior guard from Carmel, Ind., Abernethy maintains a 3.44 GPA in Banking and Finance and has been named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll each of the last two seasons. Joining Abernethy on the District 6 first team is Oklahoma's Kevin Bookout, Texas A&M's Chris Walker, Sam Houston State's Ryan Bright and UT San Antonio's Kurt Attaway. By earning first team honors, Abernethy will now be placed on the national ballot for the Academic All-America team.
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