Rebels, Lady Rebs in action at home

The Rebels host Louisiana-Monroe tonight at 7, while the Lady Rebs host Tennessee State Wednesday morning at 11 in the annual School Day Game.

Ole Miss, now 3-1 on the season, won by 40 over Centenary Saturday night with an impressive showing from younger and older players.

Sophomore first-year center Dwayne Curtis had 21 points in 27 minutes on 9-11 shooting with three blocks and three steals. The Rebels can use that type inside offense every night out.

In 18 minutes first-year guard junior Clarence Sanders had 17 points, was 5-8 from the floor including 3-5 from 3-point range and 4-4 from the free throw line. With nights like that, Sanders will continue to prove that he can be a real offensive asset for the Rebels, which is the main reason he is here.

Junior third-year point guard Todd Abernethy was impressive - 16 points, 6-8 shooting, 4-6 from 3-point land. Only one turnover in 27 minutes. More nights like that are needed from the Rebel point guard this season.

Junior third-year guard Bam Doyne had 12 points (his UM career high) in 25 minutes and had four assists and a steal. But it was Bam's defense that impressed his head coach most. Rod Barnes had the junior play defense at the point and he was effective.

"I really challenged Bam last week," Barnes said. "I told him what he had to do for us to be a really good team. I challenged Bam to guard. For us to be as good as we can be, I told him he had to become a defensive guy we can place on people and shut them down. He's one of our older guys, so he understands what we're doing defensively. I have a lot of confidence in him."

Tonight against Louisiana-Monroe in Oxford at 7, the Rebels will face a tougher challenge than they did against the Gentlemen of Centenary. First-year Indian head coach Orlando Early says the 3-1 Rebels will be a formidable foe for his team.

"Going on the road against an SEC opponent is a tough task in itself," Early said in a pregame story on the Louisiana-Monroe athletics website. "Ole Miss plays good defense and does a nice job of pressuring the ball. We have to stress to our guys the importance of taking care of the ball and boxing out on missed shots if we want to be successful."

Louisiana-Monroe is led in scoring by senior Cecil Hood, who is averaging 14.8 points per contest. Junior Darien Bynum is next in scoring at 9.5 points per game. Both Hood and Bynum made their way from Detroit, Mich., to Monroe, La., to play college hoops.

The Indians are 3-3 on the season and lost to No. 2 Texas on the road last Saturday night 90-55.

Tonight's game for the Rebels is the last until a Sat., Dec. 10 road game at Illinois-Chicago.

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The Lady Rebels, 4-1, got a break the last couple of days and needed it.

In nine days, the Ole Miss women's basketball team had annihilated Rice at home to start the season, traveled to Clemson for a victory on the ACC road, hosted and defeated a Top 25 team in Texas Tech, then traveled the next day to Rhode Island for a tournament where they lost to Villanova and beat Brown.

And on the 10th day, they rested. And also traveled home from New England.

Wednesday is day 13 of the season, and the Lady Rebels will host Tennessee State (0-3) in the friendly confines of C.M. "Tad" Smith Coliseum. Make that Wednesday morning.

In what has become an annual event, the Lady Rebels will host area school kids for a midday game which begins at 11 a.m.

Elementary and middle school aged children from across the Mid-South are invited to the contest as a part of "School Day" activities with the Lady Rebels. It's somewhat of an unusual field trip for the school children, attending a college basketball game, but Ole Miss is the beneficiary. Of course the kids love it and cheer every basket, sometimes even baskets by the visiting team.

It's a breath of fresh air to watch and listen as two to three thousand kids cheer for Ole Miss out of sheer enjoyment and happiness just to be here. They aren't worried about who the next offensive coordinator will be in football, recruiting in any sport, or whether some fans should continue to be upset with men's hoops over the results of the last three seasons.

The kids, as often only kids can do, seem to understand what it means to enjoy the moment. That's one of the reasons the School Day game with the Lady Rebels has become a success and why it's fun to cover each year.

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