Ole Miss Men's Basketball Notes
Nov. 28, 2003
GAME #3: Ole Miss (1-1) vs. Southeastern Louisiana (1-1)
OLE MISS ENDS HOMESTAND WITH SOUTHEASTERN: Ole Miss wraps up a season-opening three-game homestand tonight against the Southeastern Louisiana Lions. The Rebels evened their record at 1-1 with a 72-60 come-from-behind victory over Centenary Tuesday. Ole Miss outscored the Gents 20-7 over the final six minutes for win No. 1 of the 2003-04 campaign. The Rebels follow tonight's matchup with a Dec. 3 date against Florida State in Tallahassee. Ole Miss returns to Oxford Dec. 6 for regional rival Memphis, at 5 p.m. CT 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 101-62 record (.620 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 SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA: Southeastern is also off to a 1-1 start, having opened with a 73-56 win over Wiley College before falling at Alabama Tuesday, 83-76. Fifth-year head coach Billy Kennedy is leading a squad that returns eight letterwinners and three starters from last year's 11-16 effort. Among those starters is Amir Abdur-Rahim, who was named to the Southland Conference's Preseason All-SLC first team. The senior guard and younger brother of NBA All-Star Shareef Abdur-Rahim scored in double-digits in 23 of 27 games a year ago and dropped 31 in a double-overtime win over Texas State. He tallied 17 against the Crimson Tide Tuesday, while sophomore center Jonathan Walker led the Lions with 19 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Include seniors Terry West and Michael Gardener and SELU has four players averaging double-figure points. Southeastern was picked to finish sixth in the SLC preseason poll.
OLE MISS-SOUTHEASTERN SERIES: Ole Miss has never lost to Southeastern, posting a dominant 13-0 all-time record with 11 of those wins in Oxford. The two clubs faced off four times in the 90s, and the last encounter was a 58-46 Rebel home triumph on Dec. 13, 2000.
REED'S CAREER START: Justin Reed's hot start truly heated up Tuesday against Centenary. The three-time All-SEC forward poured in a career-high 28 points and also grabbed 12 rebounds for his 17th career double-double. Reed has topped the Rebels in points and rebounds in each of the first two games, having collected 25 points and nine boards in the Arkansas State game. He now boasts 13 career 20-point performances, and dating back to last season, he has poured in 20 or more points in five of his last seven games. Reed is scoring 26.5 points per game on the young season, the highest average since All-American Gerald Glass' 28-point mark in 1988-89.
CAJUN FOES: Southeastern is one of five Rebel opponents this year from Louisiana, more than Ole Miss faces from any other state. The Rebels knocked off Centenary last time out and still have Louisiana-Monroe, Nicholls State and LSU on the 2003-04 docket. Ole Miss is 165-184 against Louisiana schools including such frequent foes as Tulane (35-55) and SEC rival LSU (76-107).
HARPER RISES UP CHARTS: Aaron Harper, who joined the 1,000-point club and 200 three-pointer club a year ago, further made his imprint on the Rebel record book Tuesday. The 6-foot-7 swingman cracked the 20-point barrier against Centenary for the ninth time in his career, totaling 24, and knocked down a three-pointer to move into a tie for second on the Ole Miss career list for treys with 214. Harper hit 65 threes in 2002-03, which is the fourth-most for a single season in Ole Miss history.
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).
NEW REBELS STEP RIGHT IN: Five new Rebels have seen playing time through the first two game, and four have earned at least one start. Freshmen Todd Abernethy and Bam Doyne have comprised the Ole Miss starting backcourt in both games. Abernethy was particular strong in the season-opener with nine points and six assists. Junior transfer Marvin Moore earned the start against Arkansas State and responded with 10 points and three rebounds. In the win over Centenary, forward Tommie Eddie made his first career start, while fellow JUCO transfer Ed Glass came off the bench for six points.
TOUGH ON NON-CONFERENCE FOES: Over the last 10-plus years, the Rebels have posted an 96-32 record (.750 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 61-15 mark (.803 winning percentage) against out-of-conference teams. Ole Miss has been dominant against non-SEC clubs at home. The season-opening loss to to Centenary was only the Rebels' second non-conference home loss since 1995 and snapped a streak of 12 straight wins.
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 is currently averaging over 26 and 17, respectively, 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.
REBELS VERSUS THE SOUTHLAND: The Rebels have an all-time record of 38-6 (.864 winning percentage) versus current members of the Southland Conference. Dating back to 1996, Ole Miss has won 11 straight games vs. the Southland. After Saturday, the Rebels face two more Southland foes this year in Louisiana-Monroe and Nicholls State.
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 32-6 record (.842 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.
THE SPARK PLUG: Cavadas Nunnery provided a spark off the Rebel bench against 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.
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.
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