Rebels win two of three but lose guard Dabney

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 30, 2011



Riverside fell for the first time this season at the Rumble on the Ridge tournament in Arkansas, but the Rebels absorbed a significantly larger blow than just its first loss of the season.

Tulane signee Louis Dabney tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the first two minutes of the Rebels’ 75-66 loss to Southland (Tennessee) on Friday, the injury occurring on what Riverside coach Timmy Byrd said was a non-contact injury.

“He was playing the point, he made a move and his knee buckled,” said Byrd. “It’s one of those unfortunate things that are part of the game. We’re terribly disappointed for Louis who we know was really looking forward to his senior year … He’ll go from one of our star players to essentially one of our assistant coaches now.”

Byrd said that the doctors who examined Dabney believe the injury shouldn’t be a long term concern.

“They believe they can fix him up good as new and that it shouldn’t affect his college career,” Byrd said.

Dabney was the team’s second leading scorer last season and was also considered the team’s top perimeter defender.

Riverside (3-1) finished third at the tournament, defeating Hall (Arkansas), 67-51, in their first game on Thursday. Riverside also defeated Lee (Alabama) on Saturday, 75-57.

The Rebels faced Lee in each of the past two seasons, winning in close games each time.

This time, Riverside led 31-27 at halftime, but surged in the third quarter, outscoring Lee 23-9 to create the big difference.

Ricardo Gathers scored 21 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to lead Riverside. Zelvin Smith scored 17 and had eight rebounds. Donald Thomas scored 13 and Von Julien had 11 points and six assists.

Byrd noted the strong play of Julien as one way the Rebels overcame the loss of Dabney in the third game, as Julien started at point guard.

“We got some great play from Von. He made an immediate impact,” said Byrd.

The win over Hall followed largely the same formula, with Riverside taking a one point lead into halftime and opening it up in the second half.

Gathers scored 27 points and grabbed 15 rebound.

Against Southland, Riverside led 20-11 in the second quarter, but a rough patch of foul shooting gave Southland an opening to vault back into things.

Riverside shot 54 percent from the foul line in the game and fell despite four Rebels scoring points in double figures – Gathers (17), Smith (15), Thomas (14) and Lucas Martin (11).

Byrd praised the play of Gathers in all three games, saying it was the best he’d seen Gathers play on the prep level.

“He was magnificent. He was the best player in the tournament, and there were a lot of high major players there,” said Byrd.

“He was focused, not settling on jumpers and really attacking the boards.”