Ole Miss Basketball Game Notes
Nov. 29, 2004
GAME 5: Ole Miss (2-2) vs. Arkansas State (2-1)
OLE MISS RETURNS TO REGULAR-SEASON PLAY AT ARKANSAS STATE: After an exhibition win over Spirit Express, Ole Miss returns to regular-season play at Arkansas State Wednesday night in Jonesboro. The Rebels will look to move over the .500 mark and avenge a season-opening home loss to the Indians a year ago. Tommie Eddie led three Rebels in double-figures in Ole Miss' 80-70 win over Spirit Express Friday. Eddie dropped in 18 on 9-of-12 shooting and grabbed a team-high 7 rebounds. He also directed the charge in the home-opening win over Tennessee Tech with a career-high 24 points on 8-of-8 shooting.
BARNES ENTERS SEVENTH SEASON AS REBEL MENTOR: Rod Barnes is beginning his seventh 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 115-78 record (.596 winning percentage). Barnes' 113 coaching victories in his first six seasons is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span of time and is the second-most in school history. His .596 winning percentage is the highest of any Rebel coach of six years or more.
In 2000-01, Barnes was the Southeast-ern Conference 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 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 ARKANSAS STATE: Under the direction of 10th-year head coach Dickey Nutt, Arkansas State returns eight letterwinners and two key starters from a 17-11 squad in 2004-05. The Indians' starting backcourt includes the top two scorers from the Sun Belt conference last year in preseason All-SBC seniors J.J. Montgomery and Dewarick Spencer. Montgomery is coming off a junior season in which he averaged 17.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, while scoring 20 or more points in a game 15 times. Spencer led the conference in scoring at 19 points per game and finished third on the team in rebounding at 5.6. Spencer also led the team in assists and steals while finishing second on the team in blocked shots. Montgomery and Spencer have continued to lead the charge in the early goings this year at 19.5 and 15.7 ppg, respectively.
Picked to finish third in the Sun Belt, Arkansas State is off to a 2-1 start with wins over Centenary and Liberty. The Indians fell short in an upset bid of No. 25 Memphis, 79-75, in the FedEx Forum. The Tigers never led by more than 10 in the game.
The visit to Jonesboro by the Rebels will also mark Arkansas State's first home game against a Southeastern Conference opponent since the Tribe hosted LSU during the 1987-88 season. Country music star and former ASU quarterback Buddy Jewell will perform the National Anthem Wednesday and will also be recognized during the contest for his success in the music industry.
OLE MISS-ARKANSAS STATE SERIES: Friday's meeting between the Rebels and Indians will mark the 25th all-time and the fourth since 1960. Ole Miss owns a 17-8 all-time edge, although the teams are tied 4-4 in games in Jonesboro. The Indians have taken the last three encounters, including last year's season-opening 74-69 result in Oxford. After a 30-year layoff, the two squads faced off at Memphis' Mid-South Coliseum in December 1990 and again in 1991, with ASU winning both matchups.
ROOKIE SENSATION: Freshman guard Brandon Patterson is already making an impact in the Ole Miss offense. The Altheimer, Ark., native is tied for third on the team in scoring (7.8), and in his first career start against Tennessee Tech, he posted 19 points and knocked down 5-of-8 three-pointers. Patterson's 19 points against Tennessee Tech was the most by a Rebel freshman since Justin Reed dropped 21 on Auburn on Feb. 21, 2001. The five threes tied the ninth-most in school history. Patterson also nailed three treys for nine points in his Rebel debut against South Carolina State. He has shot a team-best 9-of-19 (.474 percent) from the behind the arc through four games.
In the exhibition win over Spirit Express, Patterson was good on 4-of-6 threes and finished with 14 points.
AWESOME EDDIE: Tommie Eddie enjoyed one of his best games as a Rebel in the win over Tennessee Tech. The senior forward shot a flawless 8-for-8 from the field en route to a career-high 24 points. Eddie also knocked down 8-of-11 free throws and is 14-of-19 (.737 percent) from the charity stripe for the season. Defensively, the Brooklyn native was also stellar against the Golden Eagles, registering a career-best four steals while helping limit Preseason OVC Player of the Year Willie Jenkins to two points.
It marked Eddie's second 20-point performance in the Red and Blue, having poured in 22 against Nicholls State last December.
Eddie followed up the TTU game with another excellent outing in the exhibition. Against Spirit Express, Eddie dropped in 18 points on 9-of-12 shooting and grabbed a team-high 7 rebounds.
RAINING TREYS: The Rebels have been an outstanding three-point shooting club thus far this season, firing at a better than 40 percent clip. Freshman Brandon Patterson is 9-of-19 (.474 percent), while senior Justin Johnson is 7-of-17 (.412). In addition, Todd Abernethy has made 4-of-10 (.400), and Bam Doyne is 2-of-3 (.667). Ole Miss scorched Tennessee Tech for 54.2 percent shooting (13-of-24) from three-point range.
MR. DO-IT-ALL: Some people think they can do anything, and newcomer Londrick Nolen is proving he can. The junior forward from Southwest Tennessee Community College joins Todd Abernethy as the only players to start all four games, and has filled the stat line in the process. Nolen currently tops the Rebels in rebounds (5.0 rpg), steals (6) and blocks (5), ranks second in assists (3.3 apg) and is tied for third in points (7.8 ppg). He tallied 13 points, six rebounds and six assists vs. Tennessee Tech.
TOUGH ON NON-CONFERENCE FOES: Since the 1993-94 season, the Rebels have posted an 105-36 record (.745 winning percentage) versus non-conference opponents. Non-conference foes have found Ole Miss especially tough under head coach Rod Barnes (1998-99 through 2004-05), as the Rebels have an impressive 70-19 mark (.787 winning percentage) against out-of-conference teams. Ole Miss has been dominant against non-SEC clubs at home. Last year's loss to Memphis was only the Rebels' third non-conference home loss since 1995.
REBELS VERSUS THE SUN BELT: The Rebels have an all-time record of 25-13 (.658 winning percentage) versus current members of the Sun Belt conference. Prior to last year's 74-69 loss to Arkansas State, Ole Miss had won seven straight against the Sun Belt, dating back to 1997.
ARKANSAS REBELS: Ole Miss certainly holds a strong connection with the nearby western state of Arkansas. The Rebels have sported 14 Arkansas natives on their roster under head coach Rod Barnes (since 1998-99), including current players Bam Doyne (Little Rock), Jermey Parnell (Gosnell) and Brandon Patterson (Altheimer). Other notable Rebels from Arkansas include Jason Smith (Wheatley), Keith Carter (Perryville), Jason Flannigan (Little Rock) and Jason Harrison (Little Rock). In addition, one of Ole Miss' fall signees, 6-foot-7, 240-pound forward Mike Smith, is from Jacksonville, Ark.
DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE: Throughout his Rebel tenure, defense has become a trademark of Rod Barnes' squads. Ole Miss held the opposition under 50 points six times in 2003-04 and has done so 25 times in Barnes' six years at the helm. The Rebels finished fifth in the SEC in scoring defense a year ago at 65.4 per game.
Against Tennessee Tech, the Rebels forced the Golden Eagles into 25 turnovers and held CollegeInsider.com Preseason All-American Willie Jenkins to two points.
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