Rebel Basketball Game Notes
Dec. 30, 2004
Game 13: Ole Miss Rebels (8-4) vs. Southeastern Louisiana Lions (7-4)
OLE MISS HOSTS SE LOUISIANA IN FINAL NON-CONFERENCE TUNE-UP: Ole Miss looks to end 2004 with seven straight victories, as it rides the win streak into Friday's New Year's eve matchup with Southeastern Louisiana. The game is the Rebels' final non-conference tune-up before opening SEC action Wednesday at Arkansas. Ole Miss is coming off a dramatic 63-62 triumph at VCU Wednesday, in which the club rallied from 12 points with 3:26 remaining and won on Tommie Eddie's first career three-pointer with 2.8 seconds left. A senior forward, Eddie is shooting 64.8 percent from the field and leads Ole Miss in scoring (12.8) and rebounding (4.6).
BARNES IN SEVENTH SEASON AS REBEL MENTOR: Rod Barnes is in his seventh season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program and recently took the bench for his 200th game as a head coach. The 2001 Naismith and CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year, Barnes has a 121-80 record. Barnes' 121 coaching victories in his first 201 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span and is the second-most wins in school history. His .602 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 SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA: Southeastern Louisiana is off to a 7-4 start and fell short in a couple of upset bids at Southern Miss 65-62 and at Houston 68-61. The Lions are coming off their best season since 1972-73, posting a 20-9 mark and tying for the regular-season crown in the Southland Conference, giving Billy Kennedy SLC Coach of the Year honors. Now in his sixth season, Kennedy has nine players and two starters back from that squad and was tabbed fourth in the Southland media preseason poll. Heading the list of returnees is 6-foot-10 senior center Nate Lofton, the 2003-04 SLC Newcomer of the Year and a Preseason All-SLC pick. Lofton averaged a double-double last year at 13.2 points and 10.9 rebounds. The transfer from Arkansas-Fort Smith is posting 12.4 points and a team-best 7.4 boards this season, and dropped 29 points and 9 rebounds at Southern Miss. Juco transfer forward Ricky Woods has been SLU's best offensive weapon at 17.8 points per outing, including a 31-point effort against Southern University. Senior guard Jonathan Patton boasts a 10.6 points average and has drilled 19-of-52 threes (.365 percent).
OLE MISS-SOUTHEASTERN SERIES: Ole Miss has never lost to Southeastern Louisiana, posting a dominant 14-0 all-time record with 12 of those wins in Oxford. The Rebels have faced the Lions three times under Rod Barnes, including last year's dramatic 52-48 victory. Southeastern rallied from 18 points down in the first half to move ahead 48-47 in the final minute, but Kendrick Fox, who finished with 10 points, nailed a three-pointer with 30 seconds left to reclaim the lead for good. Ole Miss has won the 14 games with Southeastern by an averge margin of 18.5 points.
GOING STREAKING: After a 2-4 start, the Rebels have reversed their fortunes with a six-game win streak that includes impressive road victories at Memphis and VCU. The streak matches the longest since taking seven straight during the 2001-02 campaign. Ole Miss also won six in a row heading into SEC play last year.
AULD LANG SYNE: New Year's eve has provided its fair share of celebration for Ole Miss, who is 7-3 all-time in games played on the final day of the year. The Rebels' last Dec. 31 contest was a 57-49 win over Samford in 2002.
DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE: While the offensive pace slowed at VCU, the Rod Barnes trademark defense that has powered the Rebels' win streak remained as effective as ever. Ole Miss handcuffed the Rams to 36.7 percent from the field, marking the third time this season an opponent has been held in the 30s. Over the six-game win streak, Ole Miss has limited the opposition to 38.6 percent shooting.
The Rebels contained Troy to 49 points, marking the 26th time in Barnes' seven years at the helm that the opposition was held under 50 points. Ole Miss managed the feat six times in 2003-04.
The Rebels forced Louisiana-Monroe into 26 turnovers. Earlier in the season against Tennessee Tech, the Rebels forced the Golden Eagles into 25 turnovers and held CollegeInsider.com Preseason All-American Willie Jenkins to two points.
AWESOME EDDIE: Tommie Eddie's game-winning trey at VCU -- his first three-point attempt as a Rebel -- may be his most memorable shot, but the senior forward has turned in several outstanding games during the non-conference slate. Eddie has shot a spectacular 64.8 percent this season, and has posted five games of 17 or more points. The Brooklyn native 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 game 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. Against UL-Monroe, he was 8-of-11 for 17 points and vs. UT-Martin, he made 9-of-11 for 20. Eddie tops Ole Miss in scoring at 12.8 per game and rebounding at 4.7.
CAJUN FEAST: In Southeastern, Ole Miss faces its third of five games against schools from Louisiana. The Rebels are already 2-0 with wins over Nicholls State 87-55 and Louisiana Monroe 84-58, and two games against LSU are on the SEC docket. Ole Miss is 171-185 all-time against Louisiana schools including such frequent foes as Tulane (35-55) and SEC rival LSU (77-108).
"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 4-1 so far in 2004-05. Ole Miss has won 108 of its last 129 games (.837 winning percentage) at home, including homecourt winning streaks of 29, 20 and 15 games. The Rebels have an all-time record of 350-168 (.676 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 80-20 (.800 winning percentage), including a 34-16 homecourt record against SEC foes (.680 winning percentage).
DECEMBER GIFTS: Over the last eight seasons, Ole Miss has been receiving plenty of wins in December. The Rebels enjoy a 55-14 record (.797 winning percentage) in December games since 1996-97. Ole Miss was 5-2 during the holiday month last year and is 6-2 this season with the Southeastern Louisiana game left.
RAINING TREYS: The Rebels are among the top four in the SEC in three-point shooting, firing at a 42.0 percent clip. Ole Miss nailed 12-of-19 threes (.632 percent) against Nicholls State, 13-of-24 threes (.542 percent) vs. Tennessee Tech, and 11-of-23 (.478 percent) at Arkansas State. Senior Kendrick Fox is 20-of-43 (.465) from behind the arc, while freshman Brandon Patterson has made 19-of-42 (.452). Londrick Nolen is 18-of-46 (.391), Justin Johnson is 13-of-36 (.361), and Todd Abernethy is 12-of-34 (.353). 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. Fox was 4-for-4 in threes vs. Nicholls State, and Nolen was 4-of-5 against Louisiana-Monroe.
CAPTAIN CAVADAS: Senior point guard Cavadas Nunnery has been a catalyst in the Rebels' current six-game win streak. The six wins are also the first six starts of Nunnery's career. In the 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. Nunnery earned his second straight start vs. Nicholls State and recorded a game-high 6 assists with only one turnover.
TOUGH ON NON-CONFERENCE FOES: Since the 1993-94 season, the Rebels have posted an 111-38 record (.745 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 76-21 mark (.784 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.
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