Ole Miss Basketball Notes
Nov. 24, 2003
GAME #2: Ole Miss (0-1) vs. Centenary (1-0)
OLE MISS LOOKS TO GET ON TRACK AGAINST CENTENARY: Ole Miss looks for victory No. 1 of the 2003-04 campaign tonight against the Centenary Gentlemen. The Rebels came up short against Arkansas State, 74-69, Friday in the season opener. It snapped a streak of five straight Ole Miss wins in season-openers at home, and was only the second non-conference home loss for the Rebels since 1995. Ole Miss wraps up its season-opening three-game homestand with Southeastern Louisiana Saturday at Tad Smith Coliseum.
BARNES ENTERS SIXTH SEASON AS REBEL MENTOR: Rod Barnes is approaching his sixth season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. The 2001 Naismith and CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year, Barnes has a 100-62 record (.617 winning percentage). The 100 wins in his first five seasons is the most by a Rebel coach in that span of time in Ole Miss history. In 2000-01, Barnes was the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, guided Ole Miss to a school-record 17 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 named All-SEC his senior season. He still ranks on the Ole Miss career charts in scoring (18th; 1,201 points), assists (2nd; 456) and steals (7th; 154).
SCOUTING CENTENARY: Under the direction of fifth-year head coach Kevin Johnson, Centenary (1-0) opened its season on a winning note Friday, overtaking Belhaven 106-72. The Gentlemen joined the Mid-Continent Conference this season and did so with a roster full of experience. The Gents return nine of 10 letterwinners and all five starters from last year's 14-14 squad. Heading the list of returnees is 2002-03 Independent Player of the Year Andrew Wisniewski, who was named to the Mid-Con preseason all-conference first team. Last season, Wisniewski averaged 22 points per game, and the senior guard posted 27 with eight assists in Friday's opener. Fellow senior guard Rickey Evans dropped in a career-high 28 points and was 4-for-4 in three-pointers against Belhaven.
OLE MISS-CENTENARY SERIES: Friday's meeting between the Rebels and the Gents will mark the first since 1966. Centenary owns a 6-4 all-time edge, and the series is tied at 2-2 in games played in Oxford. The two teams were frequent opponents in the 1960s, facing off eight times between 1961 and 1966.
REED OPENS WITH A BANG: In the season opener, Justin Reed showed why he piled up some many preseason awards. Reed, a three-time All-SEC forward, led Ole Miss in both scoring with 25 and rebounding with nine. He managed that dual feat six times in 2002-03 with the Rebels winning four of those games. Reed's point total was only one short of his career high of 26, which he has registered twice previously, and he now boasts 12 career 20-point games. Dating back to last season, the Jackson, Miss., native has poured in 20 or more points in four of his last six games.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: The Rebel are in the midst of a season-opening three game homestand and will enjoy the cozy confines of the Tad Pad all throughout the holiday season. Of Ole Miss' first 14 games, 12 are in Oxford, including the Southeastern Conference opener with Mississippi State on Jan. 7. Among the other notable early home games is Memphis on Dec. 6, which will be broadcast by ESPN2. The Rebels turned in a 10-6 home record in 2002-03, and has won 97 of its last 111 games (.874 winning percentage) at home, including homecourt winning streaks of 15 and 29 games. In the past 10 seasons (1992-93 through 2002-03), Ole Miss has an overall home record of 122-25 (.830 winning percentage).
JONES RETURNS TO OXFORD: Ole Miss welcomes back a former staff member Tuesday in Centenary assistant coach Lemuel Jones, who served as a graduate administrative aide for the Rebels during the most successful period in the program's history. Jones was a vital member of the staff during the 2000-01 and 2001-02 campaigns and saw the Rebels post back-to-back 20-win seasons and NCAA Tournament berths, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2001.
THE SPARK PLUG: Cavadas Nunnery provided a spark off the Rebel bench against the Arkansas State. The junior guard collected a team-high seven assists, marking the first time for him to ever lead Ole Miss in dimes. Nunnery finished with career-highs in minutes (26), assists (7) and rebounds (4). The Magnolia, Miss., native was also 1-for-1 shooting with a pair of steals.
NEW REBELS STEP RIGHT IN: Five new Rebels made their official debut in the Red and Blue on Friday, and three jumped directly into the starting lineup. Freshmen guards Todd Abernethy and Bam Doyne started the two exhibitions and again earned the starting nod for the opener. Abernethy was particular strong with nine points and six assists. Junior transfer Marvin Moore made the start in the frontcourt and responded with 10 points and three rebounds. JUCO transfers Ed Glass and Tommie Eddie also played their first game as Rebels.
AMONG SEC'S TOP TANDEMS: With Justin Reed and Aaron Harper back, the Rebels have an advantage enjoyed by few others. Ole Miss is one of only two teams in the Southeastern Conference to return its top two scorers from last year, with Arkansas being the other club. The senior duo of Reed and Harper, who averaged over 15 and 12, respectively, a year ago, was voted among the top tandems in college hoops by Basketball News. Reed and Harper have spent the majority of their basketball lives together, having teamed up at Provine High School in Jackson, Miss., before arriving in Oxford.
TOUGH ON NON-CONFERENCE FOES: Over the last 10-plus years, the Rebels have posted an 95-32 record (.748 winning percentage) versus non-conference opponents. Non-conference foes have found Ole Miss especially tough under head coach Rod Barnes (1998-99 through 2003-04), as the Rebels have an impressive 60-15 mark (.800 winning percentage) against out-of-conference teams.
REBELS VERSUS THE MID-CON: The Rebels have an all-time record of 11-7 (.611 winning percentage) versus current members of the Mid-Continent conference. Since 1992, Ole Miss is 7-1 against the Mid-Con, with the lone loss being the NCAA Tournament upset to Valparaiso in 1998. The Rebels' last MCC meeting was a 77-70 victory over IUPUI in 2001-02.
MR. NOVEMBERS The Rebels love to play games in November, and it shows in their record in contests played during that month. Since the 1990-91 campaign, Ole Miss has a 31-6 record (.839 winning percentage) in the month of November. The Rebels were 2-1 in November last year, with the lone setback an 65-58 loss at East Carolina. The Rebels posted 11 straight November victories from 1998 through 2000.
REED PILES UP PRESEASON HONORS: Justin Reed is one of the most decorated athletes in the history of Rebel basketball, and the awards continued to pour in this preseason. The senior forward earned Preseason All-SEC first team status from Athlon Sports, Basketball News, Lindy's, Street & Smith's and Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook. Athlon's ranked him the No. 5 "inside-out player" in college basketball. Reed was also rated the 11th-best power forward in the nation by Lindy's and the 14th-best by The Sporting News. Reed has earned All-SEC honors each of his three collegiate seasons, and was a preseason Wooden Award candidate each of the last two seasons. He is the only player from the state of Mississippi to ever be nominated twice.
GOOD OMEN: The Ole Miss Rebels were picked to finish in sixth in the Southeastern Conference Western Division in a vote by media members at the annual conference media day Oct. 29 in Birmingham, Ala. The last time the Rebels were picked so low was prior to the 2000-01 season, when Ole Miss claimed the SEC West crown en route to a school-record 27 wins and a Sweet 16 appearance. LSU was picked to win the Western Division crown, while Kentucky was selected to win the Eastern Division championship and the SEC overall title.
BARNES AT 100 AND COUNTING: With the Rebels' victory over South Carolina in the 2003 Southeastern Conference Tournament first round, Rod Barnes recorded the 100th win of his career. His record stands at 100-61. The 100 victories are second most in Ole Miss history, trailing only B.L. "Country" Graham's (1950-62) 145 wins. Barnes is the only coach in the program's history to average 20 wins per season.
FUTURE REBELS: The future of Ole Miss hoops got even brighter in mid-November as the Rebels added three new players for the 2004-05 season. Ole Miss received national letters of intent from Arkansas natives Jeremy Parnell, a 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward/center from Gosnell, and Brandon Patterson, a 6-foot-6, 180-pound swingman from Altheimer, and Jackson's Bobby Clark, a 6-foot-6, 195-pound guard.
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