Ole Miss Basketball Game Notes

Dec. 19, 2003

GAME #7: Ole Miss (3-3) vs. Louisiana-Monroe (3-7)
December 20, 2003 * 2 p.m. CT
C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum * Oxford, Miss.

Ole Miss Notes in PDF Format

MEDIA:
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Gary Darby, color analyst)
Gametracker: www.olemisssports.com

OLE MISS OPENS SIX-GAME HOME-STAND WITH LOUISIANA-MONROE: After an emotional road win, Ole Miss returns home to open a six-game homestand and look to move above the .500 mark. The Rebels earned their first victory away from Oxford Wednesday, battling past Evansville, 69-66, on Kendrick Fox's game-winning three-pointer with four seconds remaining. Ole Miss nailed 9-of-13 second-half threes in rallying from 13 down. Fox and Aaron Harper each tallied 17 points and knocked down five three-pointers.

BARNES IN SIXTH SEASON AS REBEL MENTOR: Rod Barnes is in the midst of 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 103-64 record (.617 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 LOUISIANA-MONROE: Louisiana-Monroe, which clobered Tougaloo Thursday 64-47, suffered a tough 85-79 defeat at Baylor on Tuesday. The Indians hit 13 three-pointers, three short of the school record, and shot 52.0 percent from beyond the arc. Senior guard Mark Keith hit 5-of-9 threes against the Bears on his way to a team-high 17 points. He is now shooting 48.7 percent from three-point range for the season (19-of-39), a figure that ranks second in the Southland Conference. Keith's 17 points also raised his scoring average to 10.0 points per game, tops for ULM. Senior center Tank Thompson has double-doubles and is posting a team-high 6.9 rebounds to go with 9.7 points per game. Mike Vining's 23rd year with the Indians features a squad with nine returnees, including four starters back, from a 12-16 team that tied for fifth in the Southland Conference a year ago.

OLE MISS-LOUISIANA-MONROE SERIES: Wednesday's game will be the 13th meeting between the two schools, with Ole Miss holding an 8-4 all-time edge and winning the last five encounters with Louisiana-Monroe, formerly Northeastern Louisiana. The Rebels have prevailed by an average margin of victory of 24.2 points during the streak, which has occured with all the games played in Oxford. In last year's 80-57 decision, Justin Reed led all scorers with 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting.

COMEBACK KIDS: In its last three games, Ole Miss has used the three-pointer to turn in some impressive second-half comebacks. Down 18 at the 14:15 mark against Florida State, 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 down two straight. In the Memphis game, Ole Miss trimmed a 17-point Tiger advantage to six, hitting seven straight shots - five three-pointers and two dunks. Kendrick Fox made three treys in a row, and Johnson was good on 2-of-3 after halftime. The Rebel comebacks finally resulted in a win Wednesday, as Ole Miss rallied from 13 down in the second frame to earn a 69-66 victory at Evansville. The Rebels connected on nine second-half threes, including Fox's game-winner with four seconds remaining. In the second half of its last three games, Ole Miss has made 23-of-39 (59 percent) from behind the three-point arc.

KENDRICK IN THE CLUTCH: With seniors Justin Reed and Aaron Harper providing the bulk of the Rebel scoring, Ole Miss has been in need to a third option on offense, and so far, the man to step into that role has been Kendrick Fox. He has started the last three games and has thrice established a new career high in points this season. With the Rebels trailing by one to Southeastern Louisiana, the junior forward 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. He posted a new career best against Memphis, nailing three straight second-half three-pointers en route to 13 points to go with five boards. Then came Fox's night to shine. With Reed sidelined with foul trouble at Evansville, Fox took over offensive responsibilities, tying Aaron Harper with a team-high 17 points. He had never led the team in scoring before. More importantly, he had never hit a bigger shot at a bigger time than his final attempt of the night. Fox connected on the final two shots of the game, and with the score tied with four seconds remaining, he knocked down a long, heroic three-pointer to hand Ole Miss its first road win of the season. It was one of five treys for Fox, which was also a career first.

PROTECTING THE BALL: The Rebels have been among the nation's best this season in not turning the ball over. Ole Miss leads the SEC and ranks top 20 in the NCAA in fewest turnovers per game (12.2). Over the last two games, the Rebels have committed a total of only 28 turnovers while forcing 39. Ole Miss boasts two of the conference's top six point guards in assist/turnover ratio in freshman starter Todd Abernethy (3.3/1) and junior Cavadas Nunnery (3.0/1). Meanwhile Aaron Harper ranks 10th in the SEC in steals per game (1.83).

BRANCHING OUT: He's been a head coach himself only six years, but Rod Barnes is planting an extensive coaching tree with former players and staff members. Five former players are in the coaching ranks, and two will return to Oxford in the next two games. Ex-Rebel standout Chris Oney (1997-98) is sitting opposite the Red and Blue on Saturday as a Louisiana-Monroe assistant coach, and Michael White (1996-99) will be on the opposing bench Monday as a member of the Jacksonville State staff. In addition, Anthony Boone (1995-98) is an assistant coach at Jackson State, and Jason Flanigan (1998-2001) is at Xavier University (La.). Joezon Darby (1996-98) is the head coach at Brandon High School in Brandon, Miss.

REED'S INCREDIBLE START: Despite a foul-strickened six-point outing at Evansville last time out, 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 five games and posting four 20-point efforts. 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 15 20-point games. He ranks fourth in the SEC in scoring (20.7 ppg) and rebounding (10.0 rpg).

REBELS VERSUS THE SOUTHLAND: The Rebels have an all-time record of 39-6 (.867 winning percentage) versus current members of the Southland Conference. Dating back to 1996, Ole Miss has won 12 straight games vs. the Southland, including a 52-48 triumph over Southeastern Louisiana on Nov. 29. The Rebels also face a third Southland foe in Nicholls State on Dec. 28.

BENEFITING FROM CHARITY: Ole Miss has been successful from the charity stripe of late. Despite a 2-for-6 night at Florida State, the Rebels have shot 71.4 percent (55-of-77) from the free throw line over the last four games, including a 13-for-17 effort against Memphis. Justin Reed has knocked down 81.8 percent over that stretch and was good on 12-of-14 vs. Southeastern Louisiana.

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 114 games (.868 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 124-26 (.827 winning percentage).

TOUGH ON NON-CONFERENCE FOES: Over the last 10-plus years, the Rebels have posted an 98-34 record (.742 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 63-17 mark (.788 winning percentage) against out-of-conference teams. Ole Miss has been dominant against non-SEC clubs at home. The loss to Memphis was only the Rebels' third non-conference home loss since 1995.

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 three-pointer to move into second on the Ole Miss career list for treys. 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 this, and four have earned at least one start. Todd Abernethy has started the point in every game, while fellow freshman guard Bam Doyne has earned four starts. 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 contributed a key 11 points in the Evansville victory, 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 over 20 and 13, 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.

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 CENTURY 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 103-64. The 103 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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