Sophomore center Dwayne Curtis went 9 for 11 from the floor and totaled 21 points in 27 minutes to lead Ole Miss past Centenary 107-67 in the Rebels' home opener for 2005-06.
"I thought Dwayne was good tonight," said Ole Miss Coach Rod Barnes. "It's hard to complain about a guy when he puts up numbers like he did tonight. But he's still got room for improvement. He still can play stronger and faster."
Curtis also had six assists, six rebounds, and three blocks in the game.
"It was Dwayne's fourth game, and I thought he played hard for us," Barnes said. "Dwayne's got a chance to be a really special basketball player here. I've talked to him about that. Not only can he score inside and has good size, but he's also a good passer. He proved that tonight."
Curtis said he works hard to improve every day, and he hopes it continues to pay off.
"I'm always trying to improve all aspects of my game," he said. "Passing is one area I try to improve. But I know I have a ways to go in every area to be as effective as I need to be."
Ole Miss, now 3-1 on the season, led basically from the outset. After Centenary (1-2) led 4-2, a Curtis layup tied it at 4-4. Todd Abernethy's 10-foot jumper made it 6-4 and the Rebels rolled from that point on.
A layup by Jermey Parnell made it 23-10 UM with 13:14 left in the first period. Centenary closed the gap to 25-18, but the Rebels raced back out to a 23-point lead at 49-26 by halftime.
A 3-pointer by Abernethy put the Rebels up 80-36 with 9:26 to go, and a Curtis layup with 9:03 left matched that 44-point lead, the Rebs' largest of the game, at 82-38.
"It was good to be home. I thought tonight we played with the energy and effort of teams from our past," Barnes said, recalling teams that went to the postseason. "Overall this was a good effort by our team. We feel we have a team that can make open shots, and that is good. But we still have a long way to go. We still have work to do. But for a young basketball team coming off the road, I was pleased."
In one move this game, Barnes put Bam Doyne on defense on the Gentlemen point guard to improve the situation for the Rebels there.
"Bam Doyne did a great job defending at the point position," Barnes said. "We felt like in the three games we played that penetration was hurting us at the point guard position, so we switched Bam and Todd Abernethy (on defense). I thought Bam did an excellent job."
Doyne said he wants to do whatever it takes to help.
"Defense is defense, but it was different being on the ball all the time," said a confident Doyne, who had 12 points, five rebounds, and four assists in the game. "I believe I can guard anybody, so me playing the point was just something different tonight."
The 12 points were a career high for Doyne.
Clarence Sanders, recovering from a jammed thumb, played 18 minutes and scored 17 points going 5-for-8 from the field. Abernethy finished with 16 points, and Londrick Nolen added 10 for the Rebels. As a team, Ole Miss shot 67 percent from the floor, 46 percent from three-point range, and 80 percent from the free-throw line.
The Rebels' next action is Tuesday night against Louisiana-Monroe in Oxford at 7 p.m.
Curtis leads Rebs past Centenary
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