Rebel Basketball Game Notes
Feb. 24, 2006
Game 27: Ole Miss (14-12, 4-9) vs. Auburn (11-13, 3-10)
REBELS RETURN HOME FOR AUBURN: After two straight on the road, Ole Miss returns home to take on Auburn Saturday. Both teams will be wearing throwback uniforms as part of the SEC Throwback program. As part of "Crossing the Lines: Celebrating 35 Years of African-American Participation in Ole Miss Athletics", the University will honor its first black athletes from their respective sports at halftime of the game. The Rebels suffered an 80-40 setback at Kentucky Saturday. Playing without leading scorer and rebounder Dwayne Curtis, Ole Miss was led by Londrick Nolen and Bam Doyne each with 9 points, while Todd Abernethy added 8. The Rebels have already equaled their highest win total since 2001-02.
TURNING BACK THE CLOCK: In the spirit of SEC Throwback Uniform Week, Ole Miss will be offering retro ticket prices for Saturday's game against Auburn. All remaining tickets will be $5 for the game. All 12 conference schools have been wearing their throwback uniforms this week and will continue this weekend. The teams will also sport the gear again during the SEC Tournament in Nashville. The Rebels are 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.
CROSSING THE LINES: As part of "Crossing the Lines: Celebrating 35 Years of African-American Participation in Ole Miss Athletics", the University will recognize its first black athletes from their respective sports at halftime of tonight's game. Honorees include Coolidge Ball, men's basketball, 1970; Ben Williams and James Reed, football, 1972; Peggie Gillom-Granderson, women's basketball, 1976; Clarence Daniel, men's track, 1979; Angela Scott, volleyball, 1982; Roy Coleman, baseball (recruited for football), 1976; Robert Cole, baseball, 1985; Sonya Varnell and Darlene Calvin-Pitchford, women's track, 1985; Jessica Crockett, rifle,1996; Kerrie Davis, women's golf, 1999; Britte Hardy, softball, 2000; Robbye Poole, tennis, 2006; and Ken Gibson, head track coach, 1985.
GERALD GLASS RETURNS TO TAD PAD: Rebel great Gerald Glass returns to Tad Smith Coliseum for the Ole Miss-Auburn game on Saturday. Replicas of Glass' No. 4 jersey will be on sale in the Rebel Shop, and Glass will be on hand to sign the jerseys and sign autographs at the game. Glass received All-America honorable mention honors in his two seasons at Ole Miss (1988-99), and his 26.1 point career scoring average is second on the Rebel single-season chart. In his two years in the Red and Blue, Glass led Ole Miss in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, three-point percentage and steals.
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 141-105 record. Barnes' 141 coaching victories in his first 246 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span. His .573 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 TIGERS: After an 8-3 non-conference season, Auburn is 3-10 in league play and snapped a four-game skid with a 75-71 victory over Mississippi State Wednesday. AU second-year head coach Jeff Lebo is starting a lineup with four underclassmen. Leading the way is the team's lone senior Ronny LeMelle at 12.5 points per game. A 6-foot-5 guard, LeMelle also ranks top-10 in the SEC 3-pointers per game (1.96). Freshman guard Rasheem Barrett is scoring 11.4 points, and sophomore guard Frank Tolbert follows at 8.8 ppg. Rookie point guard Quantez Robertson ranks third in the conference in assists at 4.8 and minutes at 35.46 to go with averages of 7.7 points and 4.1 boards. Korvotney Barber tops the club in rebounding at 4.9 per game along with a 6.9 scoring clip. Fellow freshman forward Josh Dollard is averaging 9.1 points and 4.4 rebounds but is under an indefinite suspension that kept him out of Wednesday's MSU game. The Tigers are winless on the road this season at 0-9.
OLE MISS-AUBURN SERIES: Saturday's game will be the 112th meeting between the two schools, with the Tigers holding an all-time series lead of 67-44. Ole Miss swept last year's season series and has won six of the last 11 encounters with Auburn. The Tigers rallied from 14 down for a 58-50 win on the Plains in this season's first meeting. The Rebels hold a 32-21 series lead in games played in Oxford, and have won five of the last six and 10 of the last 12 meetings versus the Tigers in Tad Smith Coliseum. Ole Miss was a 70-55 winner in last year's encounter at the Tad Pad. Rebel head coach Rod Barnes is 7-8 versus Auburn and 5-2 against the Tigers in Oxford.
GAME TIME CHANGE: Ole Miss' regular season finale at LSU on March 4 has been picked up JP Sports, and the game time will be changed from its original 7 p.m. tip. The new game time will be either 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. CT, based on the results of Saturday's games, and will be announced on Sunday.
TIGER TIES: Two members of the Rebel family have close ties with Western Division rival Auburn. Ole Miss sophomore center and leading scorer Dwayne Curtis played for the Tigers during his freshman season in 2003-04, before transferring to Ole Miss in May 2004. Curtis, who sat out last year, played in 19 games, starting five, in his one year on the Plains. Also arriving in Oxford via Auburn is second-year assistant coach Tracy Dildy, who spent two seasons as a Tiger assistant and served as assistant head coach for recruiting in 2003-04.
A CLOSE SERIES OF LATE: Although both schools have in-state rivals (Ole Miss-Mississippi State, Auburn-Alabama), you would almost think the Rebels and Tigers have a rivalry going from all the tight games the two programs have had in recent seasons. In the last 13 meetings between the two schools, 11 have been decided by single-digits, and in the 13 encounters, the average margin was 4.36. Ole Miss has a narrow 7-6 lead in the last 13 games. Of the last six games in Oxford, five have been decided by 5 points or less. Ole Miss won five of those six games, including a 79-77 overtime upset of the No. 4 Tigers in 1999-2000.
SWEET HOME ALABAMA: A pair of Rebels call the state of Alabama home. Junior guard Clarence Sanders is from Phenix City, which is a mere 34 miles from Auburn. Also, freshman forward Trey Hampton hails from Hoover.
CURTIS EXPECTED TO RETURN FOR GAME: According to head coach Rod Barnes, sophomore center Dwayne Curtis is expected to return to action for the Rebels Saturday against Auburn. Curtis missed Wednesday's Kentucky game due to the death of his 22-year-old brother Jarrod, who was injured in a Jan. 11 car accident in Champagne, Ill., and passed away last Friday night. Dwayne returned to his Chicago home Monday and is expected to rejoin the team following Friday's funeral. In his first season in the Red and Blue, Curtis has been a force for the Rebels this year. Curtis has scored in double-figures in 17 of 25 games with six 20-point outings and five double-doubles, including his 19-point, 13-rebound game in last Wednesday's win over Arkansas. Curtis tops Ole Miss in scoring (13.4), rebounding (7.5), steals (1.4), blocks (0.7) and field goal percentage (.574, 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.
HIGH AND LO: Londrick Nolen's up-and-down senior season has been on a high of late, as the senior forward has topped the team in scoring and averaged 14.3 points over the last three games. Notching his fourth career 20-point game, Nolen totaled a season-high 20 points, on 8-of-11 shooting, with 8 rebounds and 3 assists in guiding Ole Miss to victory over Arkansas. He followed up with a team-high 14 points at Mississippi State Saturday. It marked the 24th time in his two-year Rebel career to score double-figures and ninth instance this season. Nolen sparked the Rebels with pressure defense and a season-high 15 points in the victory at Alabama. The Memphis native tallied 9 points, 4 assists and 3 steals at Georgia and 10 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals against LSU.
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 10 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. Doyne added 12 points in last Saturday's loss at Mississippi State. The Little Rock native has started all but two games and ranks second on the club in rebounds (4.3), assists (2.3) and steals (1.1). He is third in scoring (9.2).
CAPTAIN TODD: A career 39.3-percent 3-point shooter, two-year team captain Todd Abernethy has been particular accurate from behind the arc this year, boasting season percentages of .455 (46-of-101) and .458 (22-of-48) 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 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. Abernethy notched a team-high 4 assists at Mississippi State last Saturday and was 2-of-4 in 3s in dropping in 8 points at Kentucky Wednesday. 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 at 9.5 per game and 9.9 in conference play. 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.
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:
"TAD PAD" SWEET "TAD PAD": The "Tad Pad" has proven to be one of the toughest arenas in the nation for opposing teams to pay. With a 11-3 mark this year, Ole Miss has won 123 of its last 152 games (.809 winning percentage) in Oxford, including homecourt winning streaks of 29 and 15 games. The Rebels have an all-time record of 365-176 (.675 winning percentage) at C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum, which opened in the 1965-66 season. In head coach Rod Barnes' era, the Rebels have a home record of 95-27 (.779 winning percentage), including a 38-23 homecourt record against SEC foes (.623 winning percentage). All three of this year's losses came to teams currently ranked in the top 25 (#3 Memphis, #9 Florida and #24 LSU).
YOUTH IS SERVED: The Rebels boast a young roster this year with five freshmen and five sophomores wearing the Red and Blue. In fact, Ole Miss is the third-youngest team in the SEC and 25th in the nation, based on the players' class athletically.
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 has limited three opponents in the 40s in scoring, making 30 instances in Barnes' eight years at the helm that the opposition was contained below 50. Nationally-ranked Memphis was held 17 points below its then 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 .325 and also first in SEC play at .310. 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.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Ole Miss makes its ninth of at least 10 appearances this season on a major TV carrier and fourth showing on FSN South Saturday against Auburn. The Rebels also matched up with Memphis, Alabama and Georgia on FSN. Ole Miss faced Mississippi State, Tennessee and Kentucky on JP, Florida on ESPN 2 and Mississippi State in a live ESPN Classic broadcast. 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 98 television games with a 47-51 record.
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