Ole Miss Basketball Game Notes
Dec. 5, 2003
GAME #5: Ole Miss (2-2) vs. Memphis (3-1)
OLE MISS LOOKS TO REBOUND AGAINST MID-SOUTH RIVAL MEMPHIS: Ole Miss looks to move back above the .500 mark today against regional rival Memphis. In their first road game of the young season Wednesday, the Rebels mounted an amazing second-half comeback but came up short at Florida State 66-60. Keyed by three Justin Johnson three-pointers, Ole Miss trimmed an 18-point deficit to four in less than 11 minutes. Justin Reed poured in 14 points after the break and finished with a team-high 18 points and 8 rebounds.
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 102-63 record (.618 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 MEMPHIS: After opening the new campaign with a 94-64 loss to No. 20 Wake Forest, Memphis (3-1) bounced back with a perfect three-game homestand, including an 84-64 pasting of UT-Martin on Wednesday. Sophomore forward Rodney Carney tallied 21 points against the Skyhawks and is leading the Tiger attack this season, dropping in 18.8 per game. Fellow frontcourt mate Sean Banks nailed 6-of-9 three-pointers Wednesday en route to a team-high 24 points. The freshman forward is averaging a double-double at 15.3 points and 10.3 rebounds. John Calipari's fourth year at Memphis features a squad with eight holdovers, including three starters back, from a 23-7 team that earned an NCAA Tournament berth. Memphis was picked to finish fourth in Conference USA in the preseason.
OLE MISS-MEMPHIS SERIES: Saturday's game will be the 35th overall meeting between the two schools, and will mark the sixth-straight year that the two teams have faced on the hardwood. The Tigers lead the overall series 24-10. Ole Miss had its streak of three straight wins snapped last year in a 58-51 Tiger triumph at The Pyramid. The last five meetings have been decided by 10 points or fewer and by an average of 7.0 points per contest. Before the renewal of the Mid-South rivalry in the 1998-99 campaign, the last time Ole Miss and Memphis played was in the 1985-86 season. Prior to the Rebels' three-game winning run, the Tigers had won eight straight in the series, including three overtime games. Memphis won the 1998-99 meeting, a 78-72 overtime thriller in The Pyramid.
WHAT A COMEBACK: Although falling short of the victory, Ole Miss turned in an amazing second-half performance at Florida State. Down 18 at the 14:15 mark, the Rebels narrowed the gap to four with three minutes left. Justin Johnson nailed three consecutive three-pointers at one point, and Todd Abernethy knocked two straight and finished the game 3-of-4 from the behind the arc. Ole Miss made 8-of-16 threes (50 percent) in the second frame and shot 16-of-27 overall (59.3 percent) in the comeback bid after the break. Justin Reed shot 7-of-11 from the field for 14 second-half points. The Rebels also committed only two turnovers over the final 20 minutes.
REED'S UNSTOPPABLE START: Justin Reed is off to one of the greatest season starts in school history, leading the Rebels in points and rebounds in each of the team's first four games. The senior forward's career-high 28 points vs. Centenary tied the most by an Ole Miss player since Marcus Hicks' 31 in 1999-2000. A native of Jackson, Miss., Reed also matched his career high for blocks with four against the Gents. Reed's career-high 19 rebounds against Southeastern Louisiana equaled the most by a Rebel since Walter Actwood's 20 in 1975. He also nailed a pair of game-clinching free throws against the Lions with 10 seconds left. Prior to the Florida State game, Reed had notched 20 or more points in five straight games, dating back to last season, and is the first Rebel to manage that feat since Keith Carter in 1998-99. Reed now boasts 14 career double-doubles and 14 20-point games.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Saturday's game against Memphis, which is being broadcast on ESPN2, will be the second of at least nine regular-season contests in which the Rebels will be on television this year. On Wednesday, Ole Miss fell at Florida State 66-60 in a contest that was televised by FOX Sports Net South. Last year, the Rebels were 5-7 in TV games. Under head coach Rod Barnes (since 1998-99), Ole Miss has played 70 television games and has a 39-31 record in those contests.
HAPPY HOMECOMING: Media members will notice a familiar face from this rivalry floating around press row, wearing a different shade of blue this time around. Lamar Chance spent over seven years in the Athletics Media Relations office at Ole Miss, and served as the primary contact for the Rebel basketball team for the last six. He is in his first season with John Calipari's Memphis Tigers.
REBELS VERSUS C-USA: The Rebels have an all-time record of 69-90 versus current members of Conference USA, including such longtime opponents as Tulane (35-55) and Memphis (10-24). Ole Miss had won 9 of 10 meetings against C-USA competition, dating back to 1995-96, but dropped both games vs. the conference last year, suffering road losses at East Carolina and Memphis.
KENDRICK IN THE CLUTCH: Kendrick Fox has knocked down some key shots in his Rebel career but none were bigger than his game-deciding three-pointer against Southeastern Louisiana Saturday. With the Rebels trailing by one, the junior forward from Oxford put Ole Miss on top for good with his second trey of the afternoon with 28 seconds remaining. Fox finished with a career-high 10 points.
GETTING DEFENSIVE: Against Southeastern Louisiana, the Rebels displayed the defensive prowess that has become a trademark of Rod Barnes' squads. Ole Miss limited the Lions to 29 percent shooting on the day and 14 first-half points. The Rebels held their opponent under 50 points for the 21st time in Barnes' six years at the helm.
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 early this season. 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 pair of three-pointers last week to move alone into second on the Ole Miss career list for treys with 215. Harper hit 65 threes in 2002-03, which is the fourth-most for a single season in Ole Miss history.
NEW REBELS STEP RIGHT IN: Five new Rebels have seen playing time through the first three games, 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 against Florida State with 11 points and four assists, while Doyne compiled six points and two assists vs. Southeastern Louisiana. Junior transfer Marvin Moore earned the start against Arkansas State and responded with 10 points and three rebounds. Forward Tommie Eddie has started two games, while fellow JUCO transfer Ed Glass came off the bench for six points in the win over Centenary.
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 23 and 13.3, 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.
TOUGH ON NON-CONFERENCE FOES: Over the last 10-plus years, the Rebels have posted an 97-33 record (.746 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 62-16 mark (.795 winning percentage) against out-of-conference teams. Ole Miss has been dominant against non-SEC clubs at home. The season-opening loss to Centenary was only the Rebels' second non-conference home loss since 1995 and snapped a streak of 12 straight wins.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: The Rebel 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. The Rebels turned in a 10-6 home record in 2002-03, and has won 99 of its last 113 games (.876 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 124-25 (.832 winning percentage).
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.
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 TOPPLES CENTUARY MARK: 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 currently stands at 102-63. The 102 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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