Rebels Send Southwest Missouri State Packing
March 21, 2000
By RALPH D. RUSSO
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) - When the game gets rough, Rahim Lockhart and Mississippi get comfortable.
Fueled by a loud, large crowd, the Rebels lured Southwest Missouri State into playing the type of rugged game in which they thrive.
Lockhart muscled his way to 13 points and 14 rebounds as Ole Miss pushed the Bears right out of the National Invitation Tournament with a 70-48 second-round victory Tuesday night.
"Some of their guys came out and tried to push me around," the 6-foot-8, 245-pound center said. "That's the kind of game I like. They can push all night if they wanted to."
The Bears didn't back down, but the Rebels proved to be too strong in the paint and on the glass for Southwest Missouri.
"He (Lockhart) weighs more than all of our guys put together," Southwest Missouri coach Barry Hinson said. "We were made to look like a barbecue sandwich out there. He just ate us up. He played his tail off."
Hinson then paused and reworded his comments.
"He didn't play his tail off. He played hard. He's still got a lot of tail out there."
Ole Miss (19-13) outrebounded the Bears 41-30. Lockhart had 11 rebounds in the first half and six of the Rebels' 13 offensive boards in the game.
Marcus Hicks led the Rebels with 16 points and also did his share of banging.
"The referees let us play tonight," Hicks said. "We think we are really physical. The SEC is physical. I guess we outpounded them a little."
The Bears (23-11) had cut the Ole Miss lead to 49-39 with 12:25 left.
But the Rebels scored 10 straight points, the final six on 3-pointers by Emmanuel Wade and Jason Harrison, to lead 59-39 with 7:46 left.
The Rebels, who held North Carolina Charlotte to just 27 percent shooting in a first-round NIT victory, held the Bears to 39 percent from the floor.
Eric Judd led the Bears with 12 points and was the only Southwest Missouri
player in double digits.
Southwest Missouri's top three scorers - Allen Phillips, Scott Brakebill and Kevin Ault - combined for just 14 points.
"We tried to take their best punch and couldn't do it," said Brakebill, who had four points. "They are one of the top defensive teams we played. They banged us around and we couldn't really adjust quick enough and then we got out of our game."
Harrison had 11 points and Lataryl Williams 10 for the Rebels.
Ole Miss plays at North Carolina State in the NIT quarterfinals on Thursday. N.C. State defeated Arizona State and former Mississippi coach Rob Evans 60-57 Tuesday night.
After the game Hicks, a senior playing his last home game, and his teammates went into the crowd to thank the fans for their support during the first two rounds of the NIT.
Ole Miss had a near capacity crowd of 7,707 for Tuesday's game and over 12,000 for the two games.
Hicks said it was difficult to say good bye, but he's just glad to still be playing.
"It's great we're still in the hunt," he said. "The majority of the other college teams are at home. We're fighting for our life. We don't want our season to end. When the season ends, we want it to end with a win."
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