Rebels Put 6-1 Record Up Against New Orleans

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Ole Miss (6-1) vs. New Orleans (2-5)
"Toys for Tots Night"
November 30, 2006 6 p.m. CT
Oxford, Miss. C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum (8,700)

Live TV: CSS (Richard Cross, play-by-play; Wimp Sanderson, color analyst)
Live Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Pete Cordelli, color analyst)

 Ole Miss wraps up a three-game homestand Thursday with New Orleans.  It will be “Toys for Tots Night”, as fans that bring a new, unwrapped and unopened toy to the game receive complimentary admission. Contributions will have a direct impact on the children in the local community, as all toys collected will stay in Mississippi.
 With a 6-1 record, Ole Miss is off to its best start since 2000-01. The Rebels reached the 100-point plateau for only the second time since 2001 with Friday's 100-80 victory over Nicholls. Todd Abernethy led all five starters in double-figures with a career-high 23 points. Bam Doyne posted his second straight 20-point game in earning SEC Player of the Week accolades.

 After two years as a Texas A&M assistant, Buzz Williams is in his first season at the UNO helm. He returns three starters and eight letterwinners from last year's 10-19 squad that tied for fourth in the Sun Belt conference. Junior guard Bo McCalebb is back as one of the top scorers in the Sun Belt. He suffered a broken wrist last year (Nov. 30) at Mississippi State and received a medical redshirt. He averaged 19.0 points per game during that first month of 2005-06 and is dropping in 24.4 in this season's early goings. Returning guards James Parlow and Jamie McNeilly and JUCO transfer Shaun Reynolds are each adding 10 points per contest.

 The Rebels lead the all-time series with the Privateers 2-1, although the two have not met since 1987. New Orleans prevailed 87-73 in the Big Easy during the 1983-84 season, but Ole Miss bounced back with home wins in 1984-85 (55-51) and 1987-88 (83-74).

 Bam Doyne was named the SEC Player of the Week on Monday. A senior guard, Doyne notched consecutive 20-point games for the first time in his career in leading Ole Miss to a 2-0 week. He scored a career-high 25 in rallying the Rebels from 10 points down in the second half to an 86-77 win over Tennessee Tech Wednesday. Doyne followed up with his second career double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds in directing Ole Miss past Nicholls 100-80 on Friday. The Little Rock native ranks second in the SEC in scoring (18.1 ppg) and free throw percentage (.843) and ninth in rebounding (7.7 rpg).
 This marks Ole Miss' first SEC Player of the Week selection of the 2006-07 season and the first for Doyne. The last Ole Miss player to earn the distinction was Dwayne Curtis last year in the first week of league play. This is the 12th time a Rebel has received the honor since the 1995-96 season.

 Ole Miss junior Dwayne Curtis returned to the practice floor Monday for the first time since fracturing the third metatarsal in his left foot in the third day of preseason practice. After a favorable x-ray, the All-SEC center was medically cleared and has participated in some non-contact drills. Curtis’ status is considered day-to-day.

 The Rebel basketball team also welcomed a pair of two-sport athletes on Monday, as Ole Miss football players Greg Hardy and Shay Hodge began workouts with the basketball team.
 Both Hardy, a defensive end, and Hodge, a wide receiver, concluded their true freshman seasons with Ed Orgeron’s Rebels with Saturday's win over Mississippi State. A 6-foot-5, 240-pounder from Memphis, Hardy garnered honorable mention All-State honors as a high school junior at Briarcrest Christian, where he played forward alongside current Rebel sophomore Patrick Spach. At Morton (Miss.) High School, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Hodge earned four letters as a guard on the basketball team, receiving team MVP honors while averaging 25 points per game.

 A handful more of Ole Miss games have been picked up for television, as SportsSouth announced it will air the Rebels' final three non-conference home games and the road encounter at Saint Louis. SportsSouth's telecasts of Ole Miss hoops start Tues., Dec. 12 when the Rebels host Louisiana-Monroe at 7 p.m. Also on the slate are meetings with UIC on Dec. 19 and Alabama A&M on Dec. 22, while the showdown with the Billikens is Dec. 30.
 In addition, CSS, who is already televising this game and the South Alabama road game, is now slated to carry the Ole Miss-Memphis game Dec. 9 from the FedEx Forum. The Rebels are scheduled to make at least 18 television appearances in 2006-07, marking the ninth straight season that Ole Miss has played on TV 10 or more times.

 The senior guard tandem of Bam Doyne and Clarence Sanders comprise the top scoring duo in the SEC, combining for 34.5 points per game. Individually, Doyne ranks second in the league at 18.1 ppg, while Sanders is fifth at 16.4. Both Doyne and Sanders scored 20 against Nicholls Friday and each have turned in three 20-point performances this season.

 Ole Miss leads the conference in fewest turnovers at 9.1 per contest. The Rebels committed only eight giveaways against Nicholls and have recorded no more than 11 in any game this season. Ole Miss ranks second in the SEC in both turnover margin (+5.86) and assist/turnover ratio (1.41).

 With the absence of All-SEC center Dwayne Curtis, the Rebels have relied on junior forwards Jermey Parnell and Kenny Williams to fill the offensive void on the blocks. After combining for only 2 points in the loss at UConn, the frontcourt duo has caught fire, together posting 56 points and 31 rebounds in the last two games. Over those two contests, Parnell averaged 13.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, while Williams added 14.5 points, 9.5 rebounds.

 In New Orleans, Ole Miss gears up for its third of six games against schools from Louisiana this year. The Rebels have already knocked off UL-Lafayette and Nicholls and still face UL-Monroe and two SEC bouts against LSU. Ole Miss is 177-189 all-time against Louisiana schools including such frequent foes as Tulane (35-55) and conference rival LSU (77-112).

 After missing the first game of his career against Louisiana-Lafayette, senior guard Todd Abernethy has bounced back strong, averaging 13.2 points and 4.8 assists in 33.6 minutes in the five games since his return. He was injured three minutes into the season opener after his head collided with an opposing player’s shoulder on a screen. He suffered a slight concussion and had five stitches over his right eye. After sitting out the ULL game, the three-time Team Captain returned to the Ole Miss starting lineup with 13 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds against Fairfield. On Friday, he exploded against Nicholls with a career-high 23 points, missing only two shots all night. Abernethy is currently the SEC leader in assist/turnover ratio and ranks ninth in the SEC in assists at 4.17 per game. He is also shooting 53.7 percent from the field.

 Bam Doyne leads the team in scoring (18.1), rebounding (7.2) and steals (1.3) and is second in assists (2.0). The senior guard has topped the team in scoring in three games, including a career-high 25 in the win over Tennessee Tech. He recorded his sixth 20-point game in the Red and Blue and second straight with 20 against Nicholls Friday. Doyne also tallied 11 boards in the win over the Colonels in registering his second double-double. His other came against Fairfield with 20 points and a career-best 12 boards. Doyne has led or tied the team-lead in rebounds five times. In addition, the Little Rock native is shooting 84.3 percent from the charity stripe (43-51 FTs).

 After tallying only 8 points in the season opener, Clarence Sanders has found his stroke since, averaging 17.8 points per contest and shooting 43.6 percent from 3-point range over the last six games. In the Louisiana-Lafayette win, the senior guard connected on 4-of-7 treys in leading the Rebels with 22 points. He followed up with a team-high 21 against Fairfield and turned in his fifth career 20-point outing with 20 against Nicholls Friday. After posting a .357 shooting clip a year ago, Sanders boasts a .435 field goal percentage in the season’s early goings.

Trey Hampton: The sophomore forward enjoyed his best game of the year against Central Arkansas. With Kenny Williams slowed by a sprained ankle, Hampton earned his first start of 2006-07 and posted season highs in minutes (25), points (8), rebounds (5) and assists (2). He was also 2-of-4 from behind the arc ... Williams missed the last two games with sickness.
Xavier Hansbro: After making no starts as a rookie, the sophomore forward received the starting nod in the season’s first two games. In his first career start in the opening win over Mississippi Valley State, the Trezevant, Tenn., native responded with his second double-digit scoring outing as a Rebel, dropping in 11 points along with 6 rebounds. Coincidentally, Hansbro’s only other double-figure game was in last year’s season opener, when he hit 4-of-6 3-pointers for 12 points against Southern Utah.
Greg Hardy: As a freshman on the football team, Hardy played in all 12 games on the defensive line, tying for the team-lead in sacks (3.0) and ranking fifth in total tackles (49). His four fumble recoveries also tied for third in the SEC, and against MSU, he saw his first action at wide receiver and hauled in a 23-yard touchdown.
Shay Hodge: With the Rebel football team, Hodge played wide receiver in all 12 games this fall and was third on the club in receptions with 16 for 193 yards.
Jermey Parnell: After a tough outing at UConn, the junior forward rebounded in the win over Tennessee Tech, matching his career highs for points with 14 and rebounds with 8. Parnell followed with 13 points and 4 boards against Nicholls Friday ... He is averaging 6.0 rebounds in the last three games.
Eniel Polynice: The big freshman guard sparked Ole Miss to victory against Central Arkansas with his best game as a Rebel. With Ole Miss clinging two a two-point advantage midway through the second half, Polynice scored 8 points in 2:18 to push the lead up to 10. The Sarasota, Fla., native drilled a pair of 3-pointers in recording that career-high point total.
Brian Smith: With starting point guard Todd Abernethy leaving with injury in the game’s opening moments, junior guard Smith stepped in admirably in the season opener, helping lead the Rebels to the 72-49 victory over Mississippi Valley State. Smith played 21 minutes and recorded career highs of 10 points and 4 rebounds. He connected on 4-of-7 field goals, including 2-of-4 treys. The 5-foot-11 guard earned his first career start against Louisiana-Lafayette and saw 17 minutes of action.
Kenny Williams: The junior forward had his best game as a Rebel against Nicholls with his first double-double, posting career highs of 16 points and 10 rebounds. Those numbers bested his strong totals in the previous game against Tennessee Tech when he struck for 13 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals. Williams also stood out in the win over Louisiana-Lafayette, posting 12 points and 8 boards.

 Since the 1993-94 season, the Rebels have posted an impressive 128-42 record (.753 winning percentage) versus non-conference opponents. Ole Miss has been particularly dominant against out of conference clubs at home. Last year’s loss to No. 5 Memphis was only the Rebels’ fifth non-SEC home loss since 1995. 

 C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum took on a new look over the summer, as the floor returned to a more traditional, natural hardwood look. With Rebels painted on both endlines, centercourt showcases Ole Miss’ power M’ with the Ole Miss script across the middle. New Ole Miss and SEC logos have also been added to the walls on the baseline.
 In addition, the Ole Miss student body is now closer to the action, as the student section has been moved to the north end of the coliseum, right on top of the court. Bleachers have been equipped in the bottom sections.

 Over the last decade, the “Tad Pad” proved to be one of the toughest arenas in the nation for opposing teams to play. With a 4-0 mark this year, Ole Miss has won 137 of its last 169 games (.811 winning percentage) in Oxford dating back to the 1995-96 campaign. Included during this run are homecourt winning streaks of 29 and 15 games. The Rebels have an all-time record of 371-179 (.675 winning percentage) at C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum, which opened in the 1965-66 season.

 On March 24, 2006, Andy Kennedy was introduced as the 20th head men's basketball coach in the history of the University of Mississippi. A Louisville, Miss., native, Kennedy spent the 2005-06 season as the interim head coach at the University of Cincinnati.
 With less than three months to prepare and shorthanded on staff and scholarship players, Kennedy had to lead a shaken Bearcat program that was preparing for its debut season in the BIG EAST. Despite the obstacles, he directed Cincinnati to a 21-13 record, defeating 12 foes ranked in the Top 100 of the RPI and playing a schedule rated fifth-toughest in the nation. Kennedy's Bearcats narrowly missed an NCAA Tournament bid and had their season end in the NIT quarterfinals.
 Kennedy proved himself both as an astute strategist and a top-notch recruiter in more than a decade of coaching in the college ranks. Athlon named him one of the nation's top 10 assistant coaches, and listed him among the top 20 college basketball recruiters. In addition to Cincinnati, Kennedy was also an assistant at his alma mater UAB and South Alabama.




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