Rebel Basketball Game Notes
Feb. 18, 2005
Game 26: Ole Miss (12-13, 3-9) vs. Tennessee (11-13, 4-7)
OLE MISS RETURNS HOME FOR TENNESSEE: After two straight on the road, the Rebels return home and look to snap a three-game skid Saturday against Tennessee. Ole Miss is coming off a 90-53 loss at No. 24 Florida Wednesday, in the Rebels' worst loss in five years. It marked only the second time this season Ole Miss allowed more than 73 points. Kendrick Fox knocked down 4-of-5 first-half three-pointers and shared leading-scorer duties with fellow senior Ed Glass, who had his best game as a Rebel, with 12 points. Senior forward Marvin Moore posted 11 points and 5 rebounds, and is averaging 11.7 points and 4.3 boards over the last three games. The UF result dropped Ole Miss below the .500 mark for the first time since beginning the season 2-4.
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 125-89 record. Barnes' 125 coaching victories in his first 214 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span and is the second-most wins in school history. His .584 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 TENNESSEE: Tennessee reels into Saturday's encounter, having dropped six of their last seven games, and like the Rebels, are coming off a loss to Florida, 84-73, last Saturday in Knoxville. Senior guard and former Memphis Tiger Scooter McFadgon leads the Volunteers at 14.1 points per game. Junior guard C.J. Watson tops the team and ranks among the SEC leaders with 4.8 assists while adding 12.5 points. Freshman guard Chris Lofton heads the conference and ranks top-five nationally with his 48.1 three-point percentage and ranks third on the squad with 11.7 points per game. After missing four games with a sprained ankle, senior forward Brandon Crump returned to the lineup two games ago, and last time out against Florida, the preseason All-SEC second team pick posted team-highs of 16 points and 7 rebounds. In his fourth year at the helm, head coach Buzz Peterson returns 10 players and all five starters from last year's 15-14 squad.
OLE MISS-TENNESSEE SERIES: The Volunteers hold a 63-35 lead in the series, which began in 1924. Tennessee prevailed 83-66 last year in Knoxville and has won three straight in the series. The Vols enjoy a 24-19 all-time edge in Oxford, but the teams have split the last two meetings in Mississippi. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 2-5 against Tennessee and 1-2 in Tad Smith Coliseum.
OLD TEAMMATES: Saturday's game will be a reunion of sorts for the teams' leading scorers. Ole Miss' Londrick Nolen and Tennessee's Scooter McFadgon were prep teammates at Raleigh-Egypt High School in Memphis. The duo helped direct the Pharaohs to a 33-6 record and an appearance in the state tournament in 2000. Following graduation, both Nolen and McFadgon continued their careers in their hometown before moving on to their respective SEC schools. Nolen played two juco seasons at Southwest Tennessee Community College, while McFadgon spent two years with the Memphis Tigers. Saturday's matchup will be the first collegiate meeting between the two.
In addition, Ole Miss senior forward Chris Rhodes and Tennessee junior forward Stanley Asumnu attended Westbury Christian Academy in Houston, Texas, together. Also, Rebel freshman Brian Smith's Lexington Catholic squad lost to UT freshman Chris Lofton and Mason County High School in the 2003 Kentucky state tournament.
SURPRISING HOME LOSSES: It's always surprising to see Ole Miss lose in the Tad Pad, but the Rebels have had some tough SEC results at home this season. Ole Miss has suffered four conference defeats in Oxford this year, the most since losing six in 2002-03 and only the second time since 1994-95 to drop more than three in Tad Smith Coliseum. However, the four home SEC losses have been by a total of 23 points (5.8 average margin), and three of the losses came to top-25 foes.
FIRST SEC EAST-WEST CHALLENGE: Divisional supremacy will be at stake Saturday, as six interdivisional games highlight the SEC slate. For the first time in SEC men's basketball history, all 12 teams will take to the court in six interdivisional games on the same day. So far this season, the East holds a 13-11 lead over the West. The East has won the divisional series in nine of the 13 years that the SEC has been split into divisions. In last season's games with these same matchups, each division won three games by an average score of 6.7 points per contest.
MARVELOUS MARVIN: Over the second half of the season, 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 nine games ago, Moore has registered five 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 against Arkansas at home with game-highs of 22 points and 8 rebounds along with 4 assists. He hit double-figures at Vanderbilt with 10 points and tallied 11 points and 5 boards at Florida Wednesday. Moore is averaging 11.7 points and 4.3 rebounds over the last three games.
"TAD PAD" SWEET "TAD PAD": The "Tad Pad" has proven to be one of the toughest arenas in the nation for opposing teams to play. The Rebels boasted a 12-5 home record last season and are 7-5 so far in 2004-05. Ole Miss has won 111 of its last 136 games (.816 winning percentage) at home, including homecourt winning streaks of 29, 20 and 15 games. The Rebels have an all-time record of 353-172 (.672 winning percentage) at Tad Smith Coliseum, which opened in the 1965-66 season. In head coach Rod Barnes' era, the Rebels have a home record of 83-24 (.776 winning percentage), including a 34-20 homecourt record against SEC foes (.630 winning percentage).
DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE: Rod Barnes' trademark defense has continued to key the Rebels' success. The Rebels rank fifth in the SEC in scoring defense (64.2), 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. Wednesday's loss to Florida marked only the second time the Rebels surrendered more than 73 points.
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.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Ole Miss makes its seventh TV appearance of the season Saturday against Tennessee on FSN South. The Rebels have at least 10 televised contests on the 2004-05 docket. The Rebels are 1-6 in TV games, with a 79-72 victory at Auburn on FSN South. Ole Miss also 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 86 television games and has a 43-43 record in those matchups.
COMING UP SHORT: The Rebels have been on the short end of some heartbreaking battles in conference play. Ole Miss held second-half leads in four of the nine 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' nine SEC losses have been decided by 11 points or less.
J.J. HEATS UP: Justin Johnson has given Ole Miss a spark of late, averaging 9.3 points and knocking down 9-of-16 three-pointers (.563) over the last four 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. It was his sixth game in double-figures this season.
IT'S A STEAL: The Rebels collected 14 steals in the home win over Auburn, 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. Ole Miss is third in the SEC in steals at 8.00 spg, while Nunnery is top-10 individually in SEC play at 1.50.
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