Ole Miss To Face Alabama In SEC Second Round Matchup

March 11, 2005

TV: JP Sports (Tom Hammond, play-by-play; Larry Conley, analyst; Dave Neal, sideline)
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Harry Harrison, analyst)
Gametracker: www.SECSports.com

OLE MISS ADVANCES TO SECOND ROUND: After a thrilling 53-52 opening-round win over South Carolina, Ole Miss advances to the SEC Tournament second round for the second time in three years, and will face West No. 1 seed Alabama. Thursday's victory over the Gamecocks snapped a three-game skid and avenged an overtime loss to USC in the regular-season finale on Sunday. Senior guard Ed Glass earned his second straight start and responded with his second straight double-digit scoring game, posting a career-high 15 points along with a team-high 5 rebounds. Senior forward Tommie Eddie turned in his ninth game of 17-plus points this year with 17, including 10 in the game's first 11 minutes. Ole Miss' 14 wins matches its most since the 2001-02 campaign.

BARNES IN SEVENTH SEASON AS REBEL MENTOR: Rod Barnes is concluding 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 127-92 record. Barnes' 127 coaching victories in his first 219 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span and is the second-most wins in school history. His .580 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 ALABAMA: The Crimson Tide has won its second SEC Western Division title since 2002. Alabama, who rose as high as 11th in the national polls, has 23 victories, the sixth most single season wins in school history. While Ole Miss has no all-conference selections, all five Crimson Tide starters were named AP All-SEC, only the third time in league history a school has done that and the first time since 1966. Consensus first team pick Kennedy Winston is second in the SEC in scoring at 18.1 points a game, and has pumped in 21 or more in his last four games. The junior forward and All-America candidate joins senior guard Earnest Shelton (16.4 ppg) to form the top scoring duo in the conference. Junior forward Chuck Davis is also in double-digits at 14.2 ppg, while ranking among the SEC's best in rebounds (6.8) and blocked shots (1.86). Sophomore forward Jermareo Davidson is sixth in the league in rebounding at 7.8, while freshman point guard Ronald Steele is third in assists at 4.9.

OLE MISS-ALABAMA SERIES: Friday's game will be the 156th meeting between the two schools. The Crimson Tide holds a 109-46 lead in the series, which began in 1921. After splitting the season series the last six years, Alabama ended that trend this year with the first season sweep in the series since Ole Miss won both games in 1997-98 (see pages 6 & 7). However, the Rebels led by as much as eight points in the second half of the Oxford meeting. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 6-8 against Alabama.

REBS AND TIDE IN THE SEC TOURNEY: Ole Miss and Alabama have faced off five times in SEC Tournament history with the Crimson Tide owning a 3-2 edge. The division rivals matched up three straight years 1988-1990, but have not met in tournament action since the 1990 championship game -- a 70-51 Tide victory. Alabama has won the last two tourney encounters.

OLE MISS IN SECOND-ROUND PLAY: The Rebels have an overall record of 8-16 in second-round games at the SEC Tournament. The Rebels are 2-3 in second-round games in Atlanta and last played in the second round of the 2003 SEC Tournament, falling to Mississippi State 73-64.

NEXT UP: With a second-round victory over Alabama Friday, Ole Miss would advance to face the Florida/Mississippi State winner in the SEC Tournament semifinals Saturday at 1 p.m. ET. The Rebels held double-digit leads in both regular-season meetings with the Bulldogs but fell short on both occassions. The Gators handed Ole Miss a 71-45 defeat in Gainesville. Ole Miss is 4-4 all-time in semifinal games in its history, and last reached the round in 2001 in Nashville, defeating Florida 74-69.

FAMILIAR FOES: Friday's match-up between Ole Miss and Alabama will feature head coaches at the helm of basketball programs where they also played. Rod Barnes played at Ole Miss from 1985-88, and is the first Rebel head coach to have played his collegiate basketball at Ole Miss since Cob Jarvis. Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried played at his alma mater from 1985-87 and helped lead the Crimson Tide to three-consecutive NCAA Sweet 16 appearances. During their playing careers, Barnes' and Gottfried's teams met six times from 1984-85 to 1986-87. Gottfried's squads won all six meetings in those match-ups. Both Barnes and Gottfried became head coaches at their alma mater in 1998-99, and the Tide mentor holds a narrow 8-6 lead head-to-head.

GLASS HALF FULL: Ed Glass has apparently saved his best play for his final collegiate games. A senior guard from St. Louis, Glass has earned the starting nod in the last two games and responded with back-to-back double-digit point outings and averages of 13.0 points, 5.0 boards and no turnovers. He posted 11 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in Sunday's meeting with South Carolina, and was even stronger in Thursday's win over the Gamecocks with a career-high 15 points and a team-high 5 rebounds. Prior to these last two games, Glass had made only one career start, against Illinois State in November, and had recorded only two double-figure scoring games as a Rebel. His only double-digit performance this year had been a team-high 12 points at Florida.

OLE MISS, BARNES AGREE TO NEW CONTRACT: Ole Miss Athletics Director Pete Boone announced Wednesday a new four-year contract for head basketball coach Rod Barnes, which will run through the 2008-09 season.

SEC SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR: Ole Miss' Todd Abernethy was named the SEC Sixth Man of the Year Wednesday, as selected by the league coaches. A sophomore guard and team captain, Abernethy is the first Rebel to receive the honor, which was first awarded by the conference last year.

DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE: Rod Barnes' trademark defense has continued to key the Rebels' success. In Thursday's win over South Carolina, Ole Miss handcuffed the Gamecocks to 37.3 percent from the field, in one of seven times this season an opponent has been held in the 30s in shooting percentage. It was the first time in 20 games Carolina was held below 40 percent. The Rebels also restricted LSU to 37.8 field goal percentage and held the touted Tiger frontcourt of Brandon Bass and Glen Davis to combined 3-of-18 shooting. Ole Miss limited Georgia to 33.3 percent shooting and held UGA leading scorer Levi Stukes 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 12 opponents into 18 or more turnovers, including Mississippi State in Starkville with 19. The Rebels rank fifth in the SEC in scoring defense (64.4), 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. The Rebels have held 12 foes under 60 points, including South Carolina Thursday with 52.

AWESOME EDDIE: Tommie Eddie's game-winning trey with 2.8 seconds left at VCU -- his first three-point attempt as a Rebel -- may have been the most memorable shot, but the senior forward has turned in numerous outstanding performances this season. Eddie has shot an outstanding 56.7 percent, and posted nine games of 17 or more points, including 17 on 8-of-12 shooting in the win over South Carolina Thursday. Eddie dropped in 21 with 5 boards in the win over Tennessee. He turned in an 18-point outing with 6 rebounds in the home victory over Auburn. Eddie also posted 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting against No. 18 Mississippi State and 16 points with 6 rebounds vs. 22nd-ranked Alabama. He led the way at LSU with 15 points and 6 rebounds. The Brooklyn native dropped in the Rebels' first 10 points in the 65-53 road win over Memphis and finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and a career-high four assists. Eddie had perhaps his best game as a Rebel in the victory over Tennessee Tech, shooting a flawless 8-for-8 from the field en route to a career-high 24 points. Defensively, the Brooklyn native was also stellar against the Golden Eagles, registering a career-best four steals while helping limit Preseason All-American Willie Jenkins to two points.

OLE MISS IN THE SEC TOURNAMENT: The Rebels have an overall record of 22-41 in Southeastern Conference Tournament play, and is 8-13 in tournament action since the league went to the two-division format in the 1991-92 season. Ole Miss has participated in 42 of the previous 44 SEC Tournaments. The Rebels have advanced to four SEC championship contests and have a 1-3 record in those games. Ole Miss won the 1981 tournament title with a 66-62 victory over Georgia in the championship game. The Rebels have a 3-8 record in SEC Tournament games played in Atlanta, with their best finish coming in 1998 with a semi-final loss to South Carolina 87-77.

BARNES IN THE SEC TOURNAMENT: Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes has a 5-6 record in Southeastern Conference Tournament play. Barnes, the 2001 SEC Coach of the Year, directed his Rebels to the 2001 championship game in Nashville, falling to Kentucky 77-55 in the finals.

REBELS ARE WESTERN DIVISION NO. 5 SEED IN TOURNEY: The Rebels are the Western Division's No. 5 seed in the 2005 Southeastern Conference Tournament. Ole Miss tied for fifth in the SEC West standings with a 4-12 league mark, but earned the No. 5 seed by virtue of a 2-0 regular-season sweep of Auburn. Since the conference went to the two-division format in 1991-92, this is the fourth time that Ole Miss has been the West's No. 5 seed in the tournament. The Rebels have a 2-3 record as the West's No. 5 seed. Ole Miss was also a No. 5 seed in last year's tournament in which the Rebels lost to Vanderbilt 70-50 in the first round.

COMING UP SHORT: Ole Miss has been on the short end of some heartbreaking battles, particularly in conference play. The Rebels have dropped 10 games by 11 points or less, including eight of the team's 12 SEC losses. Ole Miss either led or was within two possessions inside the final minute in seven of the 12 SEC defeats. 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 with 1:15 remaining. The Rebels held double-digit leads in both games with Mississippi State and missed the game-tying three with 20 ticks left in Starkville. On Sunday, Ole Miss led South Carolina by as much as 14 before falling in overtime.

SUPER SUB: Sophomore guard Todd Abernethy started the first 34 games of his collegiate career, but moved to the sixth-man role against Memphis in December. In his 21 games off the pine, he has posted eight double-figure scoring outings and seven games with four or more assists. In the last four games, Abernethy has tallied 11.8 points and hit 7-of-14 threes. He returned to the starting lineup at South Carolina Sunday and recorded 13 points and 5 boards.

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 scorers at Southern Union Community College. In conference play, Moore registered seven double-digit outings and his first two career 20-point performances. After averaging only 3.1 points in the non-conference season, he posted 7.9 ppg in SEC play. Moore first got on track in a return trip to his home state of Alabama in January, lighting up Auburn for 23 points and 12 boards in 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 also provided 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. Moore has led Ole Miss in both scoring and rebounding in two of the last three games with 15 and 8 against LSU and 16 and 7 at South Carolina Sunday.

FINISHING STRONG: Kendrick Fox is wrapping up his career in style, with the most productive stretch in his four years in the Red and Blue. Over the last six contests, Fox has averaged 11.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists and knocked down 17-of-33 three-pointers (.515). Fox connected on his first four three-point attempts at South Carolina Sunday and finished with 14 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. He notched 13 big points at Mississippi State in helping the Rebels nearly pull off the upset. In the victory over Tennessee, the senior forward played 36 minutes and filled the stat line with 13 points, 4 rebounds, a career-high 7 assists and 3 steals. Against No. 24 Florida in Gainesville, Fox came out of the gates on fire, drilling 4-of-5 first-half treys en route to tying the team-lead in scoring with 12 points. It marked the third time in his career to pace the team or tie for the team-lead in scoring. The effort in the last three road games are further proof of Fox's hot-shooting away from the Tad Pad. Despite playing in his hometown of Oxford, Fox has been a road warrior throughout his career, and this year is no different. Fox is shooting 49.2 percent from behind the arc in road and neutral games -- almost 12 percent higher than his 37.3 three-point clip at home.



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