Rebel Basketball Game Notes
Dec. 12, 2005
Game 7: Ole Miss (4-2) vs. Saint Louis (4-3)
REBELS OPEN HOMESTAND WITH SAINT LOUIS: Ole Miss opens a homestand of five games in nine days Tuesday against Saint Louis. The Rebels had their three-game win streak snapped in Chicago Saturday, falling to UIC 87-75 in overtime. It marked only the Rebels' third OT game since 2001 and marked the team's fifth straight defeat in overtime contests. Sophomore center Dwayne Curtis continued his strong play with 20 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks in the return to his hometown. Junior guard Clarence Sanders came off the bench Saturday to drop in 16 points and 5 assists, while junior guard Todd Abernethy posted 11 points and 9 assists.
TIP-OFF CLUB LUNCHEON SATURDAY: Prior to the Rebels' much anticipated matchup with rival Memphis, the Ole Miss Tip-Off Club will host a gameday luncheon to get fans ready for the game. The event will be held Saturday in the Tad Smith Coliseum in the coaches' offices. Rebel assistant coach Michael White will present the Tigers' scouting report, and a light lunch will be served. Admission is $5 per person. For more information, call Judy Conner at 662-234-6044.
BARNES IN EIGHTH SEASON AS REBEL MENTOR: Rod Barnes is in his eighth season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program and is 14 victories away from reaching B.L. "Country" Graham's school record for coaching wins. The 2001 Naismith and CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year, Barnes has a 131-95 record. Barnes' 131 coaching victories in his first 226 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span and is the second-most wins in school history. His .580 winning percentage is the highest of any Rebel coach of eight years or more. In 2000-01, Barnes was the SEC 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 an All-American honorable mention his senior season. He is the only person in SEC history to earn both All-SEC and SEC Coach of the Year honors.
SCOUTING THE BILLIKENS: Saint Louis has alternated wins and losses through its first seven games, and is coming off its first road win of the year (1-3) Saturday at Oakland 66-59. The Billikens' other victories came over Jackson State, Southern Illinois and Eastern Illinois. Saint Louis lost to top-25 North Carolina 75-63 in Chapel Hill but was within three points of the Tar Heels with four minutes left. In his fourth season at the helm, Brad Soderberg returns seven letterwinners and three starters from last year's 9-21 squad that finished 10th in Conference USA. The Billikens made the move to the Atlantic 10 this year and are being led by junior frontcourt force Ian Vouyoukas, who is averaging 13.7 points and 9.0 rebounds. True freshman guard Tommie Liddell follows with 12.0 ppg and 5.9 rpg, while senior backcourt mate Anthony Drejaj is posting 10.1 points, 1.9 steals and shooting 57.7 percent in 3s (15-of-26). Saint Louis is holding the opposition to 40.7-percent shooting.
OLE MISS-SAINT LOUIS SERIES: Ole Miss is 0-1 all-time against Saint Louis. The Billikens won the only previous meeting 82-68 in 1954 in St. Louis.
PACK THE PAD WEEK: Tonight's game begins "Pack the Pad Week". Ole Miss follows up this Saint Louis bout with Nicholls State Thursday at 7 p.m. and nationally-ranked Memphis Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The Mid-South grudge match with the Tigers will be televised by FSN South. Rebel fans are encouraged to pack the stands this week and paint the Tad Pad red.
LOCAL CONNECTIONS: The Billikens have one Mississippian on their roster. Senior forward Vas'Shun Newborne is a native of Natchez, where he guided Natchez High School to a North State 5A championship. The 2005-06 Rebel lineup does not feature any players from Missouri, but from last year's squad, two-year Ole Miss letterwinner Ed Glass hailed from St. Louis.
"O"-RRIVAL: The Ole Miss offense has shown some major signs of improvement at the season's start. The Rebels are currently averaging 70.5 points per game, which is 6.7 higher than last year's team scoring clip and would be the highest since posting 72.0 in 2001-02. Ole Miss is also shooting 8 percentage points higher from the field at .456 and 8 points better from 3-point range at .371. The Rebels topped the 100-point plateau against Centenary, 107-67, for the first time since a 105-71 victory over Alabama in 2001 and only the second time since 1998. The Rebels shot 51.7 percent at UIC Saturday.
D.C. PRESIDES OVER REBEL CHARGE: After foul trouble handcuffed him in his first two games in a Rebel uniform, Dwayne Curtis has taken charge for Ole Miss in the last three outings. The 6-foot-8, 290-pound center has averaged 17.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 66.7 percent shooting over the last four contests. Curtis has posted two double-doubles, tallying 10 points and 12 boards against Louisiana-Monroe and coming up with 18 points and 12 rebounds against South Carolina State. The Chicago native lit up Centenary for 21 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks and 3 steals and returned home to Chicago Saturday to hang 20 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocked shots on UIC. Curtis has taken over the team-lead in scoring (12.3), rebounding (7.3) and blocks (1.3).
REBELS AMONG SEC LEADERS: Sophomore center Dwayne Curtis ranks 10th in the SEC in rebounding (7.3), tied for sixth in offensive boards (3.00) and ninth in assist/turnover ratio (1.64). Junior guard Todd Abernethy is eighth in 3-point percentage (.480) and 10th in minutes played (31.83).
CHARITABLE STRIPE: The Rebels are off to a productive start to the season from the free throw line, connecting on 78-of-115 for a 67.8 percentage, which ranks fourth in the conference. That figure is a 6.9 percent upgrade from last year's team percentage of 60.9. Sophomore Jermey Parnell shot 45.2 percent a year ago but is an impressive 13-for-14 so far this year. Bam Doyne has been good on 12-of-17 from the stripe, while Brian Smith is 4-of-4.
BULKING UP: The new big bodies in the Rebel lineup have paid some dividends in the early season. After being outrebounded a year ago, Ole Miss currently boasts a 1.0 advantage on the boards. The Rebels are also averaging 5.2 blocked shots per game, a considerable increase from last year's 2.0 average.
DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE: Throughout his Rebel tenure, defense has become a trademark of Rod Barnes' squads, and that was certainly evident in the win over Louisiana Monroe. Ole Miss limited the Bulldogs to 43 points, making the second time this season and 29th instance in Barnes' eight years at the helm that the opposition was contained below 50. The Rebels also held ULM to 31.1 percent shooting and 1-of-19 from 3-point range. Ole Miss held its opponent in the 30s in shooting percentage seven times last season. The Rebels currently rank third in the SEC in 3-point percentage defense (.327). Ole Miss is also forcing 16.8 turnovers per game. The Rebels pressured South Carolina State into 25 turnovers and Centenary into 23. Ole Miss forced 12 opponents into 18 or more turnovers 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. Ole Miss has won 114 of its last 140 games (.814 winning percentage) at home, including homecourt winning streaks of 29, 20 and 15 games. The Rebels have an all-time record of 356-173 (.673 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 86-25 (.775 winning percentage), including a 35-21 homecourt record against SEC foes (.625 winning percentage).
REBELS VS. ATLANTIC 10: The Rebels have an all-time record of 6-6 versus current members of the the Atlantic 10, which Saint Louis joined this season. Ole Miss is 2-1 against the A-10 since 1999 with the last encounter being a 62-45 triumph over Charlotte in the first round of the 2000 NIT. The most common opponent is Temple, who is 3-1 against the Rebels.
TOUGH ON NON-CONFERENCE FOES: Since the 1993-94 season, the Rebels have posted an 116-40 record (.744 winning percentage) versus non-conference opponents. Non-conference foes have found Ole Miss especially tough under head coach Rod Barnes (1998-99 through 2005-06), as the Rebels have an impressive 81-23 mark (.779 winning percentage) against out-of-conference teams. Ole Miss has been dominant against non-SEC clubs at home. Last December's loss to Florida State was only the Rebels' fourth non-conference home loss since 1995.
DECEMBER GIFTS: Over the last nine seasons, Ole Miss has been receiving plenty of wins in December. The Rebels enjoy a 56-15 record (.789 winning percentage) in December games since 1996-97. Ole Miss was 7-2 during the holiday month last year.
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