Rebels host Indians tonight at 7 in Oxford

Ole Miss hosts Arkansas State tonight at 7 and Southeastern Louisiana Wednesday night at 7 before breaking for Christmas. Read about tonight's matchup between Ole Miss and Arkansas State in the game notes from Kyle Campbell of UM athletics media relations.

Ole Miss (6-3) vs. Arkansas State (4-6)

December 19, 2005 • 7 p.m. CT

Oxford, Miss. • C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum (8,700)


Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Pete Cordelli, color analyst; Richard Cross, analyst)

SIRIUS Satellite Radio: Channel 117 (Ole Miss)


OLE MISS CONTINUES HOMESTAND WITH ASU: Ole Miss continues its stretch of six games in 12 days Monday against Arkansas State. The Rebels suffered only their fifth non-conference home loss since 1995 Saturday against No. 5 Memphis 72-49. The setback snapped a Rebel streak of three straight wins over top-5 opponents in Tad Smith Coliseum. Off the Ole Miss bench, junior guard Clarence Sanders dropped in a team-high 13 points, while freshman forward Trey Hampton scored 8. Sophomore center Dwayne Curtis was limited to single-digits for the first time in seven games, as he totaled 6 points and 5 rebounds. The Rebels are 2-1 so far on the current seven-game homestand.

BARNES IN EIGHTH SEASON AS REBEL MENTOR: Rod Barnes is in his eighth season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program and is 12 victories away from reaching B.L. "Country" Graham's school record for coaching wins. The 2001 Naismith and National Coach of the Year, Barnes has a 133-96 record. Barnes' 133 coaching victories in his first 229 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span and is the second-most wins in school history. His .581 winning percentage is the highest of any Rebel coach of eight years or more. In 2000-01, Barnes was the SEC 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 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.

SCOUTING THE INDIANS: Arkansas State has dropped two straight, including an 82-71 home loss to Georgia Southern on Saturday. Ole Miss is the Indians' second SEC foe of the year, having suffered a 68-63 setback at Mississippi State on Nov. 21. ASU returns nine letterwinners and three starters from last year's 16-13 unit that finished fourth in the Sun Belt East. After scoring only 4.1 a year ago, 5-foor-10 senior guard Dereke Tipler is dropping in 15.0 points this season along with 4.7 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 steals. Junior forward and Jackson, Miss., native Issac Wells is posting 13.1 points and 7.3 boards, while JUCO transfer guard Jim Jones is providing 12.8 points and 5.4 rebounds. Dickey Nutt is in his 11th season at the Arkansas State helm and is 2-0 against Ole Miss.

OLE MISS-ARKANSAS STATE SERIES: Monday's meeting between the Rebels and Indians will mark the 26th all-time and the fifth since 1960. Ole Miss owns a 17-8 all-time edge, which extends back 1925 when the school was known as Arkansas A&M. The Indians have taken the last four encounters, including each of the last two seasons. Despite 21 points and 5-of-7 3-pointers by Londrick Nolen, Arkansas State prevailed 70-68 in last year's meeting in Jonesboro (recap and box on page 4). After a 30-year layoff, the two squads faced off at Memphis' Mid-South Coliseum in December 1990 and again in 1991, with ASU winning both matchups. The Rebels enjoy a 13-2 edge in game played in Oxford, although the Indians took the last year meeting at Tad Smith Coliseum, 74-69 in the 2003-04 season opener.

ARKANSAS REBELS: Ole Miss certainly holds a strong connection with the nearby western state of Arkansas. The Rebels have sported 15 Arkansas natives on their roster under head coach Rod Barnes (since 1998-99), including four current players -- Bam Doyne (Little Rock), Jermey Parnell (Gosnell), Brandon Patterson (Altheimer) and Mike Smith (Jacksonville). Other notable Rebels from Arkansas include Jason Smith (Wheatley), Keith Carter (Perryville), Jason Flannigan (Little Rock) and Jason Harrison (Little Rock). In addition, one of Ole Miss' fall signees, 6-foot-1, 165-pound guard Solomon Bozeman, current resides in Magnolia, Ark., where his father Eric, a former Rebel assistant, is the head coach at Southern Arkansas.

D.C. PRESIDES OVER REBEL CHARGE: Despite a tough outing against No. 5 Memphis Saturday, Dwayne Curtis has been a force for the Rebels over the last seven outings. The 6-foot-8, 290-pound center has averaged 14.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 61.5 percent shooting over the last seven contests. With 6 points and 5 rebounds against the Tigers, Curtis had a streak of six straight games in double-figures snapped. He has posted two double-doubles, tallying 10 points and 12 boards against Louisiana-Monroe and coming up with 18 points and 12 rebounds against South Carolina State. The Chicago native lit up Centenary for 21 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks and 3 steals and returned home to Chicago to hang 20 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocked shots on UIC. Curtis ranks 10th in the SEC in rebounding (7.0) and also leads Ole Miss in scoring (11.6), steals (1.3) and blocks (1.2). He is third in assists (2.3).

VIVA LA BAM: After two years in a lesser role, Bam Doyne has moved into the forefront as a key cog in the Rebel attack this season. The junior swingman is one of the club's top defenders but has also punched in the offense of late. Doyne has notched double-figures in three of the last six games and topped Ole Miss in scoring twice. He recorded new career highs in back-to-back contests, following up his 12-point performance against Centenary with a team-high 16-point outing vs. Louisiana Monroe. He also led the Rebels over Saint Louis with 15. Despite a 1.0 career rebounding average, Doyne is grabbing 4.4 boards this year, in addition to his 10 steals, which is tied for second-most on the team.


• Junior guard Todd Abernethy recorded a career-high 9 assists at UIC. His previous best was a 7-assist game at Georgia as a freshman in 2003-04. Abernethy notched 5 assists against Saint Louis, and after a slow start, has taken over the team-lead with 26 (2.8 apg). He is also shooting 47.2 percent in 3s (17-of-36).

• After starting his six career games, freshman forward Trey Hampton has come off the bench the last three games, and has averaged 8.0 points and shot 50.0 percent (8-of-16). Hampton's first game as a reserve turned out to best his best. The Hoover, Ala., native dropped in a career-high 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting against Saint Louis, including 2-for-2 in 3-pointers.

• Senior forward Londrick Nolen posted his fifth double-digit outing of the year against Nicholls with 11. In 40 career games, Nolen has hit for double-figures 21 times.

• After shooting 45.2 percent from the free throw line as a freshman, sophomore Jermey Parnell is an impressive 15-for-17 (.882) from this stripe so far this year.

• Junior guard Clarence Sanders certainly showed what a streaky shooter he can be in his first four games of action. Against Centenary and UIC, Sanders scored 16 and 17 points, respectively, and connected on 12-of-22 from the field, including 5-of-11 from behind the arc. However, against New Mexico and Louisiana-Monroe combined, he totaled one point and was 0-of-10 shooting.

• Freshman center Marquis Young saw his first action at Ole Miss last week against Saint Louis and Nicholls. The 6-foot-9, 300-pound Chicago product is the sixth different player to make their debut in the Red and Blue this season.

DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE: Throughout his Rebel tenure, defense has become a trademark of Rod Barnes' squads, and that was certainly evident in the win over Nicholls. Ole Miss limited the Colonels to 43 points, making the third time this season and 30th instance in Barnes' eight years at the helm that the opposition was contained below 50. The Rebels also held Nicholls to 32.7 percent shooting in registering the third opponent of the year to be held in the 30s from the field. ULM was limited to 31.1 percent shooting and 1-of-19 from 3-point range. Ole Miss held Memphis 17 points below their scoring average. The Rebels currently rank third in the SEC in 3-point percentage defense (.312). Ole Miss is also forcing 16.8 turnovers per game. The Rebels pressured South Carolina State into 25 turnovers, Centenary into 23 and Nicholls into 21. Ole Miss forced 12 opponents into 18 or more turnovers last year.

"O"-RRIVAL: The Ole Miss offense has shown some major signs of improvement at the season's start. The Rebels are currently averaging 68.7 points per game, which is 4.9 higher than last year's team scoring clip and would be the highest since posting 71.3 in 2000-01. The Rebels topped the 100-point plateau against Centenary, 107-67, for the first time since a 105-71 victory over Alabama in 2001 and only the second time since 1998. The Rebels have shot over 50 percent in three games, including a 57.1 clip against Saint Louis.

BULKING UP: The new big bodies in the Rebel lineup have paid some dividends in the early season. After being outrebounded a year ago, Ole Miss has held a rebounding edge is 6-of-9 games this year. The Rebels are also averaging 4.2 blocked shots per game, a considerable increase from last year's 2.0 average.

REBELS VERSUS THE SUN BELT: The Rebels have an all-time record of 30-15 (.667 winning percentage) versus current members of the Sun Belt conference. Ole Miss has gone 9-2 against the Sun Belt since 1997, including eight straight wins at one point.

TOUGH ON NON-CONFERENCE FOES: Since the 1993-94 season, the Rebels have posted an 118-41 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 2005-06), as the Rebels have an impressive 83-24 mark (.776 winning percentage) against out-of-conference teams. Ole Miss has been dominant against non-SEC clubs at home. Saturday's loss to Memphis was only the Rebels' fifth non-conference home loss since 1995.

"TAD PAD" SWEET "TAD PAD": The "Tad Pad" has proven to be one of the toughest arenas in the nation for opposing teams to pay. Ole Miss has won 116 of its last 143 games (.811 winning percentage) at home, including homecourt winning streaks of 29, 20 and 15 games. The Rebels have an all-time record of 358-174 (.673 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 88-26 (.772 winning percentage), including a 35-21 homecourt record against SEC foes (.625 winning percentage).

DECEMBER GIFTS: Over the last nine seasons, Ole Miss has been receiving plenty of wins in December. The Rebels enjoy a 58-16 record (.784 winning percentage) in December games since 1996-97. Ole Miss was 7-2 during the holiday month last year.

YOUTH IS SERVED: The Rebels boast a young roster this year with five freshmen and five sophomores wearing the Red and Blue. In fact, Ole Miss is the third-youngest team in the SEC and 25th in the nation, based on the players' class athletically.

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