The Rebels continued their winnings ways Tuesday night with a 59-43 win over visiting Louisiana Monroe (3-4) in front of 2,042 at Tad Smith Coliseum. The win was the Rebels' third straight.
"I thought our team came out flat on the offensive end," said eighth-year head coach Rod Barnes. "We defended well in the first half and had great looks in the second half. But we showed our immaturity. We had a chance to put the game away, and we didn't. Hopefully we'll learn from this and move in."
"It's a good win," Barnes said. "A win is a win, and we're glad to have this one. But we have to grow up quickly."
Bam Doyne led the Rebels in scoring with 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Sophomore transfer Dwayne Curtis and sophomore forward Jeremy Parnell were the only other Rebels to score in double figures. Curtis recorded his second double-double of the young season with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
The Rebels raced out to an early lead, building an 11-2 advantage in the game's first six minutes. Adrian Harper's layup for Louisiana Monroe with 13 minutes, 13 seconds remaining in the first half closed the gap to 11-4, but the Rebel defense stiffened. Ole Miss' suffocating half-court defense pressured the perimeter and collapsed when the ball went inside, holding the Indians scoreless for the game's next six minutes. Meanwhile, the Rebels got hot from the perimeter, draining four of their first five three-point attempts and building up a 22-4 lead.
Typical of a Barnes' team, the defense pressured the basketball, forcing 13 turnovers and holding the Indians to 12 first half points en route to a 31-12 halftime advantage. Junior guard Bam Doyne led all scorers at the half with eight points and added one assist and two steals.
Ole Miss opened the second half with an 11-3 run to take a 42-15 lead with 14 minutes, 40 seconds to play in the game. Brandon Patterson's three-pointer sparked the run, and the Rebels didn't let up, establishing a commanding 46-19 advantage with 11 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the game.
But Louisiana Monroe responded with a run of its own. Tony Hooper's layup with just over eight minutes remaining capped a 13-0 run that put the Indians right back in the game. With the lead trimmed to 46-32 with just over 7 minutes, 31 seconds remaining, Doyne – as he seemed to do all night – came through with a bucket and the foul, pushing the lead back up to 49-32.
The Indians again responded as Hooper's layup cut into the lead, and Doyne's intentional elbow drew a foul. Harper drained a three from the corner to cut the lead to 49-36 with just over seven minutes remaining.
The Rebels just couldn't seem to get anything going offensively midway through the second half, making only one field goal from the 12:50 mark to 3:51 mark.
"We were struggling before the run because we weren't attacking," Barnes said. "Our system isn't about being passive, but we were passive. That's our immaturity showing itself. As a result, some good things happened (for Louisiana Monroe), and they were able to make a run."
Junior Todd Abernethy's three-pointer ended the scoring drought and put the Rebels back up 54-38.
The Indians were unable to cut the gap much further, finally succumbing 59-43 to the Rebels.
Ole Miss shot 34 percent from the field, going 16 of 47. The Rebels were 7 of 21 from the three-point line. Louisiana Monroe 19 of 61 from the floor, shooting a 31-percent clip. The Indians were 1 of 19 from the three-point line. Ole Miss made only 20 free throws in 36 attempts.
The win improved Ole Miss' record to 11-4 against Louisiana Monroe, including nine of the last 11 meetings. The Rebels won 84-58 last season in Oxford.
The Rebels will next travel to Chicago to play the University of Illinois at Chicago on Saturday, December 10. Game time is set for 3 p.m. CST.
"We're looking forward to going to Chicago to play UIC," Barnes said. "It will be a great challenge for us."
Magic number now 14 for Barnes
Rod Barnes, in his eighth season at the helm of the Rebel basketball season, needs only 14 more victories to tie B.L. "Country" Graham's school record for coaching wins. Barnes, the 2001 SEC Coach of the Year and the Naismith National Coach of the Year, has compiled a 131-94 record. His 131 victories in 225 games are the most of any Ole Miss coach ever over that time span. In the 2000-01 season, the Rebels won a school-record 27 games en route to the program's first Sweet Sixteen appearance. He currently remains the only Ole Miss basketball coach to win an NCAA tournament game with the Rebels.
Barnes played at Ole Miss from 1984-88, earning 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.
Rebs defeat Louisiana-Monroe 59-43
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