Ole Miss Basketball Game Notes
Dec. 12, 2004
Game 8: Ole Miss (3-4) vs. Nicholls State (1-4)
OLE MISS OPENS THREE-GAME WEEK AT HOME: Ole Miss opens a week of three home games and looks to draw back to the .500 mark Monday against Nicholls State. The Rebels snapped a two-game skid on the season and also ended a two-game losing streak to Memphis Saturday with a 65-53 win in which they never trailed. The Ole Miss victory ended the Tigers' 24-game home win streak, third-longest in the nation. Senior forward Tommie Eddie led five Rebels in double-figures with 18 points, along with nine rebounds and four assists. Eddie is averaging 18.3 points, 7.5 boards and 63.4 percent shooting over the last four games.
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 116-80 record (.592 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 .592 winning percentage is the highest of any Rebel coach of six years or more.
In 2000-01, Barnes was the Southeastern 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 NICHOLLS STATE: On Oct. 17, third-year Colonel head coach Ricky Blanton stepped down citing personal reasons, and 10 days later, assistant coach J.P. Piper took over the NSU reins with the season less than a month away. After opening the year with difficult road losses at Mississippi State, Auburn and Michigan State, the Colonels earned their first victory under Piper with a 56-50 home triumph over Loyola-New Orleans. After scoring a mere 4.2 points per game last season, sophomore guard Stefan Blaszczynski changed his game and has led Nicholls this year by averaging 17.0 points. The Australian native turned in a 24-point effort in Saturday's 83-74 loss at Lipscomb. Senior forward Jason Wilkins is tallying 13.0 points and 6.6 boards per outing, while senior guard Willie Depron, a transfer from Southwest Mississippi Junior College, is posting 10.4 points, 5.4 assists and 2.6 steals. Depron ranked fifth in the Southland Conference in scoring a year ago at 15.4 ppg, and was named to the preseason all-conference first team in November. Depron is one of four starters and nine letterwinners back from last year's 6-21 team.
OLE MISS-NICHOLLS STATE SERIES: Monday's game marks the fifth meeting between the two schools, with Ole Miss winning all four previous encounters with Nicholls State. In last year's meeting, Tommie Eddie recorded his first career double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds in a 79-46 Rebel victory at the Tad Pad. Including the other matchups in 1988, 1995 and 2002, which were all played in Oxford, Ole Miss has beaten NSU by an average margin of 19.3 points.
THE MEMPHIS WIN BY THE NUMBERS: The Rebels were firing on all cylinders in Memphis Saturday and controlled the game in every area. Led by Tommie Eddie's 18 points, the Ole Miss offense had its highest post output of the year with a 38-18 advantage in points in the paint. Eddie was one of five players in double-figure and one of four players with four or more assists, as Ole Miss enjoyed a 21-7 edge in dimes. The Rebels also had a 31-28 lead on the boards and improved to 3-0 when outrebounding the opponent.
CAPTAIN CAVADAS: Senior point guard Cavadas Nunnery was the catalyst in the Rebels' win over Memphis. The Magnolia, Miss., native earned his first career start and responded with a career-high 10 points and 5 rebounds along with 5 assists. Nunnery was 3-for-4 from the field and 4-of-6 from the free throw line. He also did an outstanding defensive job on Tiger star guard Darius Washington, forcing the former prep All-American into 8 turnovers.
AWESOME EDDIE: After a slow start, Tommie Eddie has turned up the offense of late. Over the last four games, Eddie is averaging 18.3 points, 7.5 boards and 63.4 percent shooting. The senior forward dropped in the Rebels' first 10 points in the 65-53 road win over Memphis and finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and a career-high four assists. Eddie enjoyed perhaps his best games as a Rebel in the victory over Tennessee Tech, shooting a flawless 8-for-8 from the field en route to a career-high 24 points. 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. Eddie followed up the TTU game with another excellent outing at Arkansas State, with 18 points and eight boards. Last time out vs. Florida State, he was 4-of-5 from the field and 5-of-7 from the charity stripe for 13 points to go with a team-high nine rebounds. Eddie has taken over the team-lead in scoring at 12.1 per game, field goal percentage at .604, and rebounding at 5.3. He has also knocked down 27-of-37 free throws (.730 percent).
REBS IN TUPELO: The Ole Miss men's and women's basketball teams will be in action at Tupelo's BancorpSouth Center on Dec. 21 with the Lady Rebels taking on Clemson at 6 p.m. followed by the Rebels battling UT-Martin at 8:15. This marks the first time the Ole Miss men's basketball squad has held court at the BancorpSouth Center and the second time the team has ever played in Tupelo. The only previous game was a 94-67 loss to Texas on Dec. 5, 1964.
Although not as frequently now, the Rebels have a history of playing in neutral arenas across the state. The most common spot is Jackson, where Ole Miss boasts an 8-3 record. The Rebels are also 2-1 in Biloxi and 2-0 in Natchez in a pair of games in the early 50s. Ole Miss defeated Alabama 79-76 on a neutral floor in Starkville on Dec. 28, 1957, and in the most recent alternate locale, the Rebels and UTM Skyhawks last faced at Southaven's DeSoto Civic Center on Dec. 16, 2001 in a 83-72 Ole Miss victory.
For ticket information on the Ole Miss hoops teams in Tupelo, call 662-841-6528 or go to www.bancorpsouthcenter.com.
DECEMBER GIFTS: Over the last eight-plus seasons, Ole Miss has been receiving plenty of wins in December. The Rebels enjoy a 50-14 record (.781 winning percentage) in December games since 1996-97. Ole Miss was 5-2 during the holiday month last year.
"TAD PAD" SWEET "TAD PAD": The "Tad Pad" has proven to be one of the toughest arenas in the nation for opposing teams to play. The Rebels boasted a 12-5 home record last season and are 1-0 so far in 2004-05. Ole Miss has won 105 of its last 126 games (.833 winning percentage) at home, including homecourt winning streaks of 29, 20 and 15 games. The Rebels have an all-time record of 347-168 (.674 winning percentage) at Tad Smith Coliseum, which opened in the 1965-66 season. In head coach Rod Barnes' era, the Rebels have a home record of 77-20 (.794 winning percentage), including a 33-16 homecourt record against SEC foes (.673 winning percentage).
RAINING TREYS: The Rebels have been an outstanding three-point shooting club thus far this season, firing at a better than 40 percent clip. Ole Miss nailed 13-of-24 threes (.542 percent) vs. Tennessee Tech and 11-of-23 (.478 percent) at Arkansas State. Senior Justin Johnson and freshman Brandon Patterson are each 12-of-28 (.429) from behind the arc, while junior Londrick Nolen is 11-of-28 (.393) and senior Kendrick Fox is 11-of-29 (.379). Newcomers Nolen and Patterson have each made good on five treys in a game, which ties the ninth-highest total in school history. Nolen pulled off the feat at ASU, while Patterson caught fire against Tennessee Tech.
TOUGH ON NON-CONFERENCE FOES: Since the 1993-94 season, the Rebels have posted an 106-38 record (.736 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 71-21 mark (.772 winning percentage) against out-of-conference teams. Ole Miss has been dominant against non-SEC clubs at home. The Dec. 4 loss to Florida State was only the Rebels' fourth non-conference home loss since 1995.
MR. DO-IT-ALL: Some people think they can do everything, and newcomer Londrick Nolen is proving he can. The junior forward from Southwest Tennessee Community College is the only player to start all seven games, and has filled the stat line in the process. Nolen currently tops the Rebels in assists (18), steals (10) and blocks (7) and is second in points (11.1), and rebounds (4.3). Nolen tallied 13 points, six boards and six assists vs. Tennessee Tech, and followed that up with a team-best 21 points and 5-of-7 treys at Arkansas State.
ROOKIE SENSATION: Freshman guard Brandon Patterson is already making an impact in the Ole Miss offense. The Altheimer, Ark., native is tied for the team-lead in three-pointers made and three-point percentage, and in his first career start against Tennessee Tech, he knocked down 5-of-8 from long range and finished with 19 points. 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. Patterson also nailed three treys for nine points in his Rebel debut against South Carolina State and had 10 points and 2-of-3 threes at Memphis. He has made 12-of-28 (.429 percentage) from the behind the arc for the season.
In the exhibition win over Spirit Express, Patterson was good on 4-of-6 threes and finished with 14 points.
TOP OF THE CLASS: The Rebels' 2004 signing class is being tabbed as one of the nation's best. HoopScoop Online is rating the class third in college basketball, while Rivals.com has it 16th-best in their latest ranking.
In the early signing period, Ole Miss loaded up its frontcourt with the inking of Trey Hampton (6-7, 215, Hoover, Ala.), Mike Smith (6-7, 240, Jacksonville, Ark), Carl Swanigan (6-9, 340, West Valley City, Utah), Xavier Webb (6-9, 200, Atwood, Tenn.) and Marquis Young (6-9, 275, Chicago), who has been named a candidate for this year's McDonald's All-Star Game. The two guards in the group are Jackson's Bobby Clark (6-6, 205) and juco scorer Clarence Sanders (6-2, 180), the lone transfer in the class, which represents seven different states.
Include Auburn transfer Dwayne Curtis, and the Rebels will add four 6-foot-9 players to the roster in 2005-06. Due to NCAA transfer rules, Curtis is ineligible for the current season, but the 6-foot-9, 290-pound sophomore center may begin playing in the 2005-06 campaign with three years of eligibility remaining.
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