Rebel Basketball Game Notes
March 3, 2006
Regular-Season Finale: Ole Miss (14-14, 4-11) vs. #21/21 LSU (21-7, 13-2)
REBELS END REGULAR SEASON AT LSU: The Rebels look to secure a .500 season with a win at 21st-ranked LSU Saturday in the 2005-06 regular-season finale. The Rebels dropped their fourth straight with Wednesday's 77-62 loss to Vanderbilt. Sophomore center Dwayne Curtis topped Ole Miss in scoring for the 11th time this season with 15 points along with a career-best 5 steals. Sophomore Jermey Parnell scored double-figures for the fourth time with a career-high 14, while senior Londrick Nolen tallied 8 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals in his final game at Tad Smith Coliseum. Ole Miss has not been under the .500 mark at any point this season. The Rebels have already equaled their highest win total since 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 141-107 record. Barnes' 141 coaching victories in his first 248 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span. His .569 winning percentage is the highest by a Rebel coach since 1938, and the best of any Ole Miss mentor of seven-plus years. 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 SEC 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.
TUOHY HONORED AS SEC LEGEND: Former Ole Miss star Sean Tuohy will be part of the SEC Basketball Legends 2006 class to be honored at the SEC Men's Tournament March 9-12 at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville. Tuohy's 830 assists still stands as the league career record, and his 260 assists in 1980 remains the SEC single-season standard. From 1979 to 1982, Tuohy earned All-SEC honors three years and guided Ole Miss to the three consecutive postseason appearances for the first time in school history. He served as team captain for three years, including the 1981 squad that remains the only Ole Miss basketball team ever to win an SEC tournament championship. Tuohy will be recognized at halftime of Ole Miss' first-round game at the tournament.
SCOUTING THE TIGERS: With Tuesday's win over South Carolina and Tennessee's loss to Kentucky Wednesday, LSU claimed the SEC overall regular-season title for the ninth time in its history and first since 2000. Under the direction of national coach of the year candidate John Brady, the Fighting Tigers have reeled off five straight wins and have risen to 21st in the rankings. A preseason Naismith Award Candidate and the reigning SEC Player of the Week, sophomore forward Glen Davis tops the conference in both scoring (18.5) and rebounding (10.0). Senior guard Darrel Mitchell is third in the SEC in scoring (17.8) and is top-5 in assists (4.68), 3-point percentage (.425) and 3s made (2.54). Freshman forward Tyrus Thomas is the league leader in blocked shots (3.04) and is second to Davis in boards (9.3) to go with a 12.7 scoring clip. However, Thomas, one of five Baton Rouge natives on the LSU roster, missed the Carolina game Tuesday with a high ankle sprain. As a team, the Tigers are No. 1 in the SEC in rebounding margin (+10.4), blocks (6.57) and field goal percentage defense (.400).
OLE MISS-LSU SERIES: Saturday's game will be the 189th meeting between the two schools. The series with the Tigers, which began in 1909, is the second-longest in Ole Miss basketball history. LSU leads the all-time series 111-77. The Tigers have taken four straight over the Rebels, including this season's nip-and-tuck first meeting 79-73 in Oxford on Jan. 28. However, over the last 20 games, Ole Miss enjoys an 11-9 advantage in the series. LSU holds a 72-25 lead in games played in Baton Rouge, although the Tigers have a narrow 5-4 edge in the last nine meetings at the PMAC. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 6-9 against LSU and 2-5 vs. the Tigers at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LAURINBURG REUNION: Saturday's game will feature three players from last year's national champion Laurinburg Prep team, which has been called the top prep squad of all-time. Ole Miss freshman forward Mike Smith started 10 games for Laurinburg, including the national championship game. From LSU, Magnum Rolle and Chris Johnson also played for the 40-0 team, which sent 18 players to Division I programs.
FINISHING STRONG: Londrick Nolen is wrapping his two-year Rebel career in fine fashion, as the senior forward has topped the team in scoring three of the last five games and is averaging 12.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 49.1-percent shooting over that stretch. 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. On Saturday, Nolen narrowly missed his second career double-double with 12 points and 9 boards against Auburn. It marked the 25th time in his Rebel tenure to score double-figures and 10th instance this season. Nolen sparked the Rebels with pressure defense and 15 points in the victory at Alabama. The Memphis native tallied 10 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals in the first LSU meeting and 9 points, 4 assists and 3 steals at Georgia.
D.C. PRESIDES OVER REBEL CHARGE: In his first season in the Red and Blue, All-SEC candidate Dwayne Curtis has been a force for the Rebels this year. Curtis has scored in double-figures in 19 games with six 20-point outings and six double-doubles, including his effort against Auburn last Saturday. After missing a week of practice and the Kentucky game after the death of his brother, Curtis returned to collect 18 points, 10 rebounds and 2 steals against the team he played for as a freshman. Curtis tops Ole Miss in scoring (13.7), rebounding (7.5), steals (1.6), blocks (0.7) and field goal percentage (.573, which ranks second in the SEC). In non-conference play, 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. He also punched in with 19 points and 13 rebounds in the home win over Arkansas and 15 points and a career-high 5 steals in Wednesday's loss to Vanderbilt.
HOT CLAY: SEC Sixth Man of the Year candidate 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, both overall (9.1) and in league play only (9.2). Sanders has shown to be a streaky scorer this season. He has posted seven games of 15 or more points, but also six 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.
CAPTAIN TODD: A career 38.5-percent 3-point shooter, two-year team captain and SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year nominee Todd Abernethy has been particular accurate from behind the arc this year, boasting season percentages of .431 (47-of-109) and .411 (23-of-56) 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 clocked in with 6 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists against Auburn, and is averaging 3.8 dimes over his last eight games. Abernethy notched his 12th and most recent double-digit scoring game of the year in the Arkansas win 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 and was 2-of-4 in 3s in dropping in 8 points at Kentucky. 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.
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 11 times this year and topped Ole Miss in scoring in five games including his 20-point effort in the first LSU meeting. 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 at Mississippi State and 10 against Auburn Saturday. The Little Rock native has started all but two games and ranks second on the club in assists (2.4) and steals (1.1). He is third in scoring (9.1) and rebounding (4.1).
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:
OLE MISS VERSUS RANKED TEAMS: Ole Miss faces its fourth nationally-ranked opponent of the year in LSU, tabbed No. 21 in both the AP and ESPN /USA Today polls. The Rebels fell to No. 7 Florida 69-58 and No. 5 Memphis 72-49 at home, and No. 13 Tennessee 86-72 in Knoxville. The Rebels were 0-6 against the top-25 last year but made some strong upset bids. 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 a battle with 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. The Rebels' last win over a top-25 adversary was a 79-68 home win over No. 23 South Carolina during the 2003-04 campaign. Under head coach Rod Barnes (since the 1998-99 season), the Rebels have a 20-37 record vs. ranked opponents.
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 in SEC play at .328 and second overall at .333. 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, 12 against Vanderbilt Wednesday and 11 at Alabama.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Ole Miss makes its 10th appearances this season on a major TV carrier and fourth showing on JP Sports Saturday at LSU. The Rebels also matched up with Mississippi State, Tennessee and Kentucky on JP. Ole Miss faced Memphis, Alabama, Georgia and Auburn on FSN, 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 47-52 record.
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