Rebel Basketball Game Notes
Dec. 14, 2005
Game 8: Ole Miss (5-2) vs. Nicholls (1-5)
OLE MISS CONTINUES HOMESTAND WITH NICHOLLS: Ole Miss continues its homestand of five games in nine days Thursday against Nicholls. The Rebels opened the home stretch with a 77-64 victory over Saint Louis Tuesday. Junior Bam Doyne topped Ole Miss in scoring for the second time in the last three games with 15 along with 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Freshman forward Trey Hampton enjoyed his best game in the Red and Blue with 14 points and 5 boards, while sophomore center Dwayne Curtis posted 14 points and a team-high 6 rebounds. The Rebels are shooting 54.3 percent over their last two games.
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 13 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 132-95 record. Barnes' 132 coaching victories in his first 227 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span and is the second-most wins in school history. His .581 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 COLONELS: Nicholls is wrapping up a season-opening seven-game road swing and coming off a 98-82 loss at North Texas on Saturday. Under the direction of second-year head coach J.P. Piper, the Colonels return three letterwinners and one starter from last year's 6-21 squad that finished 11th in the Southland Conference. Junior swingman Stefan Blaszczynski posted averages of 14.4 points and 5.0 rebounds a season ago and continues to shine this year at 14.5 ppg and 6.0 rpg. Freshman Kevin Goffney is contributing 11.3 points and 5.0 boards, while sophomore Adonis Gray is adding 10.5 and 3.2. The Colonels are being outscored by 27.3 and outrebounded by 15.2.
OLE MISS-NICHOLLS SERIES: Thursday's game marks the sixth meeting between the two schools, with Ole Miss winning all five previous encounters with Nicholls State. In last year's meeting, the Rebels shot 63 percent (34-of-54) from the field - including 72 percent (18-for-25) in the first half - in an 87-55 rout at Tad Smith Coliseum. Including the other matchups in 1988, 1995, 2002 and 2003, which were all played in Oxford, Ole Miss has beaten the Colonels an average margin of 21.8 points.
PACK THE PAD WEEK: Thursday's game continues "Pack the Pad Week" for the Rebels. Ole Miss knocked off Saint Louis Tuesday and takes on 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.
"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 are shooting 54.3 percent over the last two games, including a 57.1 clip against Saint Louis Tuesday.
VIVA LA BAM: After two years in a lesser role, Bam Doyne has moved into the forefront as a key cog in the Rebel attack this season. The junior swingman is one of the club's top defenders but has also punched in the offense of late. Doyne has notched double-figures in three of the last four games and topped Ole Miss in scoring twice. He recorded new career highs in back-to-back contests, following up his 12-point performance against Centenary with a team-best 16-point outing vs. Louisiana Monroe. He also led the Rebels over Saint Louis with 15. Despite a 1.0 career rebounding average, Doyne is grabbing 4.3 boards this year, in addition to his 9 steals, which is second-most on the team.
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 five outings. The 6-foot-8, 290-pound center has averaged 16.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and 64.7 percent shooting over the last five 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 (12.6), rebounding (7.1) and blocks (1.4). He also ranks second in assists with 19.
CURTIS AMONG SEC LEADERS: In his first season as a Rebel, sophomore center Dwayne Curtis is ranking among the SEC leaders in a few categories. Here is how the transfer from Auburn stacks up in the league:
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 16.4 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.
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 1.1 advantage on the boards. The Rebels are also averaging 5.0 blocked shots per game, a considerable increase from last year's 2.0 average.
YOUTH IS SERVED: The Rebels boast a young roster this year with five freshmen and five sophomores wearing the Red and Blue. In fact, Ole Miss is the third-youngest team in the SEC and 25th in the nation, based on the player's class athletically.
CAJUN FEAST: In Nicholls, Ole Miss faces its third of six games against schools from Louisiana. The Rebels knocked of Shreveport's Centenary College 107-67 and UL-Monroe 59-43. Ole Miss has remaining games with Southeastern Louisiana and two SEC bouts against LSU. Ole Miss is 173-187 all-time against Louisiana schools including such frequent foes as Tulane (35-55) and conference rival LSU (77-110).
REBELS VS. THE SOUTHLAND: In non-SEC play, the Southland Conference is Ole Miss' second-most faced league, behind Conference USA. The Rebels boast a 45-6 all-time advantage against current members of the SLC, and has matched up with a Southland member 15 times in the last seven years. Ole Miss is 15-0 against Southeastern Louisiana and 11-4 vs. Louisiana-Monroe.
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