Men's Basketball Continues On Road Trip

Jan. 8, 2001

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The Ole Miss Rebels (13-1, 1-0 SEC) continue their two-game Southeastern Conference road trip when they travel to Fayetteville, Ark., Wednesday, Jan. 10 to meet the Arkansas Razorbacks (9-4, 0-1 SEC). Game time is 7:05 p.m. (CT) at Bud Walton Arena. Ole Miss, ranked No. 20 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 21 in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Poll, won its league opener at Vanderbilt, 81-68 Jan. 6, while Arkansas lost at Mississippi State, 87-73 in its SEC opener.

Game #15
#22/#21 Ole Miss (13-1, 1-0) vs. Arkansas (9-4, 0-1)
Wednesday, January 10, 2001 -- 7:05 p.m. (CT)
Bud Walton Arena -- Fayetteville, Ark.

Rebels on Television and Radio

Television: None

Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play, Sean Tuohy, color analyst, Stan Sandroni, pregame/halftime/postgame host)

Rod Barnes is in his third season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. He has an overall record of 52-28 (.650 winning percentage). In his first two seasons, Barnes compiled a 39-27 record, and the 39 victories are the most by a Rebel coach in his first two years in Ole Miss history. Last year, Barnes guided Ole Miss to a 19-14 overall record and a berth in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The Rebels advanced to the NIT quarterfinals for the second time in school history. The winning season and postseason tournament both were the fourth straight for the Ole Miss program.

In 1998-99, Barnes led Ole Miss to a 20-13 overall record and a third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The Satartia, Miss., native was the first head coach in the history of Rebel basketball to win 20 games in his first season. Barnes also guided the Rebels to a 72-70 win over Villanova in the NCAA Tournament first round, marking the program's first-ever victory in NCAA play.

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 named All-SEC his senior season. He still ranks on the Ole Miss career charts in scoring (17th, 1,201 points), assists (2nd, 456) and steals (6th, 154).

OLE MISS-ARKANSAS SERIES Wednesday's game will the 47th meeting between the two schools, with the Razorbacks holding an all-time series lead of 34-12. The series began in 1937. Since it joined the Southeastern Conference in the 1991-92 season, Arkansas holds an 11-7 series lead over the Rebels. Last year, the teams split the two meetings, with Arkansas winning 71-64 in Fayetteville and Ole Miss winning 87-82 in Oxford. The Rebels have won four of the last five meetings versus the Razorbacks, but Arkansas holds a 7-3 series advantage in games played in Fayetteville. Ole Miss' last win in Fayetteville was a 76-65 victory on Jan. 9, 1999 (1998-99 season). The win was head coach Rod Barnes' first SEC road victory of his career.

The Razorbacks enter Wednesday's contest with a 9-4 overall record and a 0-1 Southeastern Conference mark. Arkansas dropped an 87-73 decision at Mississippi State in its SEC opener Jan. 6. Sophomore Joe Johnson, the league's preseason player of the year pick, leads the team in scoring with a 14.3 average. Johnson is also the squad's top rebounder with a 6.4 average. Junior college transfer Jannero Pargo (11.4 ppg) and Brandon Dean (11.3 ppg) are also averaging double figures for the Razorbacks. Johnson is the squad's top field goal shooter at 51.8 percent, while Pargo is the top three-point threat at 48.5 percent. T.J. Cleveland leads the Razorbacks in assists (47) and steals (27). Arkansas is shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from the three-point arc. The Razorback defense has recorded 184 steals and forced 324 turnovers.

Ole Miss jumped into the Associated Press (AP) Top 25 Poll Dec. 11, coming in at No. 23. It was the first time the Rebels had been in the poll since they were ranked No. 13 in the final AP poll of the 1997-98. Ole Miss also finished the 1997-98 season ranked No. 20 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

This week, the Rebels are ranked No. 20 in the AP poll and No. 21 in the ESPN/USA Today poll. This is the fifth straight week Ole Miss has been in the AP poll and the fourth week in the coaches poll. Ole Miss is one of four Southeastern Conference teams ranked in this week's polls, as Tennessee is No. 4/No. 4, Florida No. 8/No. 7, and Alabama No. 16/No. 14.

The Rebels and the Razorbacks have played three common opponents--Louisiana-Monroe, Memphis and Oklahoma--this season. Ole Miss has a 3-0 record versus those common opponents, while Arkansas is 2-1.

Since Arkansas joined the Southeastern Conference in 1991-92, the Rebels have had some success versus the Razorbacks?especially when the contests are played in January. When the two teams have met in the month of January since the 1991-92 season, Ole Miss holds a narrow 5-4 edge in those meetings. The Rebels have won five of the last seven January meetings, including sweeps of the Razorbacks in the 1996-97 and 1998-99 seasons. In 1996-97, Ole Miss defeated Arkansas, 91-74 on Jan. 2 and 71-52 on Jan. 29. In the 1998-99 campaign, Ole Miss swept the Razorbacks, defeating Arkansas 76-65 in Fayetteville on Jan. 9 and 89-81 in Oxford on Jan. 30. During this seven-game span, Arkansas' two wins were a 63-62 victory on Jan. 10, 1996 (1995-96 season) and a 71-64 win on Jan. 5, 2000 (1999-2000 season).

Ole Miss is one of three Southeastern Conference teams to play its first two games in the league on the road. The Rebels played at Vanderbilt Jan. 6 (an 81-68 Ole Miss victory) and is at Arkansas Wednesday (Jan. 10). Alabama (at LSU, at Tennessee) and Florida (at South Carolina, at Mississippi State) are the other two SEC teams to play their first two league games on the road.

The Rebels are also one of two Southeastern Conference teams to play three of its first four league games on the road. Ole Miss played at Vanderbilt (an 81-68 Rebel win) Jan. 6 and travels to Arkansas Jan. 10 and to Alabama Jan. 17. The Rebels host Georgia Jan. 13 in Oxford. Georgia is the other SEC school to open its SEC schedule with three of its first four on the road. The Bulldogs lost at Kentucky, 67-63 Jan. 6, and travels to Ole Miss Jan. 13 and to Florida Jan. 17. Georgia hosts Auburn Jan. 10.

For the third consecutive year, the Ole Miss Rebel basketball opened its Southeastern Confer-ence schedule on the road at Vanderbilt Jan. 6. Ole Miss defeated the Commodores, 81-68. The Rebels are one of four league teams to play its SEC opener on the road the last three years (including 2000-01). The other three SEC teams to do so are Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.

Since the 1990-91 season (and including the 2000-01 campaign), the Rebels have opened the Southeastern Conference portion of their schedule on the road eight times compared to only three league openers in Oxford.

In the years from 1996-99, Ole Miss fans got an early sense the Rebels would win the game when guard Michael White would hit a couple of three-pointers in the game's opening minutes. Well, that mantle has been passed to sophomore Richard Kirklin (Pine Bluff, Ark.). The 6-foot-9 forward hit the first five points, including a three-pointer, for the Rebels versus Vanderbilt Jan. 6. Ole Miss went on to win the game, 81-68. Kirklin, who received his first start of the season versus the Commodores, finished the contest with eight points and four boards.

It must have been deja vu for Vanderbilt because Kirklin also hit the game-opening basket?a three-pointer?last year versus the Commodores. Ole Miss won that contest, 75-67.

However, Kirklin has also hit key three-pointers for the Rebels other than those at the beginning of the games. He had two crucial treys in the first half of Ole Miss' 84-83 overtime win over Southern Cal Dec. 22. Kirklin also nailed a clutch second-half three-pointer in the Rebels' 60-55 victory over Oklahoma Dec. 2.

With its victory over Vanderbilt Jan. 6, Ole Miss improved its record to 13-1. The 13-1 start is the best in the program's history since the 1925-26 team started its season 15-1. The 1925-26 team finished with a 16-2 record. The 1997-98 and 1999-2000 Rebel squads began their seasons with 12-1 records.

No, Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is not celebrating his 50th birthday (not even close for the 35-year-old, by the way). With the Rebels' overtime victory over No. 13-ranked Southern Cal Dec. 22, Barnes won his 50th game as the Ole Miss head coach. He has a current record of 52-28. Barnes reached the 50-win plateau the third fastest of any coach in Rebel history. George Bohler and Homer Hazel are the only two coaches in Ole Miss history to reach the milestone faster.

This year's senior class of Jason Flanigan (Little Rock, Ark.) and Rahim Lockhart (Mendenhall, Miss.) and junior redshirt John Engstrom (Paragould, Ark.) tied the record of most victories by a class in four-year span with the Rebels' 81-68 win over Vanderbilt Jan. 6. This year's class has 74 wins, which ties the number of victories by the 1998-99 class of Hunter Carpenter, Keith Carter, Jason Smith and Michael White. The 2000-01 senior class has also been a part of the 1998 SEC Western Division championship squad and has been to three straight postseasons (2 NCAA, 1 NIT).

Maybe freshman Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.) should be ?under the weather? more often. No, we're just kidding. But, after missing most of practice last week due to illness, Reed came off the bench versus the Commodores to net a career-high 19 points in leading the Rebels to the 81-68 victory. It was the first time this season that Reed did not start. Reed also hit a career-best five free throws and tied a career high with seven field goals.

The 6-foot-8 forward also grabbed seven boards and had one assist and two steals. For the season, Reed is the squad's second-leading scorer (10.6 ppg) and second-leading rebounder (5.5 rpg).

Early or late, presents are always welcome. In the case of Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes, he got an early birthday present when the Rebels won at Vanderbilt (81-68) Jan. 6. Coach Barnes celebrated his 35th birthday Jan. 8.

Although he celebrated his 35th birthday Jan. 8, Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is still among the youngest Division I-A head coaches in the country. According to research compiled by the NCAA prior to the 2000-01 season, Barnes was the 19th youngest head coach (in terms of birthdate) and was tied for the 10th-youngest (in terms of age) in the nation with 10 others.

Rebel sophomore guard Syniker Taylor (Gulfport, Miss.), who also played basketball at Ole Miss last year, has decided to pass on joining the basketball team for the 2000-01 season and concentrate on football. This fall, Taylor started all 11 games at free safety for the Ole Miss football squad and recorded 67 tackles (43 solo), three interceptions, 19 passes defensed and two fumble recoveries. He was second on the squad in tackles and interceptions. Taylor also returned one interception 65 yards for a touchdown versus Georgia (Nov. 18, 2000).

Last year, Taylor played in 18 games for the Ole Miss basketball team. He averaged 2.2 points and 2.3 rebounds, while posting 10 assists and 18 steals.

Forget the Final Four for now. Ole Miss was among the ?Final Two? prior to the Rebels' loss to Iowa State Dec. 23. Before the setback to Iowa State, Ole Miss was one of the last two NCAA Division I schools to have both its men's and women's basketball teams undefeated. The Lady Rebels have an 11-2 record. Baylor is now the lone school to have both its men's and women's team undefeated.

After tying his career high for three-pointers made (three) seven previous imes, Jason Flanigan finally got ?over the hump,? hitting a career-best five treys in the Rebels' victory over Morris Brown Dec. 30. The 6-foot-1 senior guard hit 5-of-6 from the arc and was 7-of-8 from the field versus the Wolverines. Flanigan scored 19 points in the victory, just one point shy of tying his career high.

Senior Jason Flanigan has definitely found his range from the three-point arc in recent games. In the Rebels' last five games, the 6-foot-1 guard is shooting 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from the arc. Flanigan leads the SEC in three-point field goal percentage at 51.1 percent.

After a slow start at dialing from long distance this year, the Rebels are getting hot from the three-point line. Prior to the Dec. 18 game versus Troy State, Ole Miss was ranked last in the SEC in three-point field goals made per game at 4.63. However, that has changed in Ole Miss' last six contests. The Rebels hit a school-record 14 treys versus Troy State, nine versus Southern Illinois and Southern Cal, seven versus Iowa State and 10 versus Morris Brown and Vanderbilt. Over those six games, the Rebels have hit 9.83 treys per contest. Ole Miss is also hitting 44 percent from the arc in those six games.

Junior Jason Harrison (Little Rock, Ark.) has put his name on the Ole Miss career three-pointers made list. The 5-foot-5 guard jumped into the top five with his two treys versus Troy State Dec. 18, and now is in the No. 4 spot with 91. Up next for Harrison is Joezon Darby (1996-98), who is No. 3 with 131 career treys. This season, Harrison is shooting 45.2 percent from the three-point line.

The 'Provine Posse' of sophomore David Sanders (Jackson, Miss.) and freshmen Aaron Harper (Jackson, Miss.) and Justin Reed came up big again for the Rebels in the win over Vanderbilt Jan. 6. Reed led the team with 19 points, while Sanders hit 6-of-7 from the foul line, including four straight in the final four minutes. Harper added five points, four rebounds and four assists in the win.

It was the third game this year that the 'Posse' shined. The trio, led by Reed's double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds, helped Ole Miss to an 88-84 overtime win at VCU Nov. 25. One week later (Dec. 2), the trio combined to score 38 of the Rebels' 60 points in a win over Oklahoma (60-55). Harper led the way with 18 points versus the Sooners.

The Ole Miss Rebels were picked to finish in sixth place in the SEC Western Division in a vote by media members at the annual conference media days Nov. 1-2 in Birmingham, Ala. Arkansas was picked to win the SEC Western Division championship, while Tennessee was selected to win both the SEC overall title and the Eastern Division crown.

The Rebels haven't had a reputation for hitting a high percentage >from the charity stripe the last couple of seasons, especially down the stretch in games. However, that may be changing in 2000-01. Ole Miss is hitting 67.4 percent from the foul line for the season, but more importantly, the Rebels are hitting their foul shots down the stretch. In their wins over Sam Houston State, VCU, Oklahoma, Memphis, Southern Illinois, Southern Cal and Vanderbilt, the Rebels shot 75.6 percent from the line (62-of-82) in the final four minutes (and overtime) of those games.

The Rebels have a 41-49 regular-season record versus teams from the SEC Western Division. Ole Miss is 41-50 versus the SEC Western Division teams, including tournament play.

Well, for the Rebels, it seems as if that number is 70. Since the 1996-97 season and including this campaign, Ole Miss has an incredible 80-9 record (.899 winning percentage) when it scores 70 points or more. On the other hand, the Rebels are 13-35 when they net less than 70 points during that five-year period (including 2000-01). This season, Ole Miss has a 9-0 record when scoring 70 points or more.

As discussed in the previous note, the Rebels have been nearly unbeatable when they score 70 points or more. However, the 2000-01 Rebels are proving they can win games when they don't reach that magical number of 70. Ole Miss is 4-1 this year when scoring less than 70 points, with the lone setback being a 73-68 loss to Iowa State in the championship game of the Yahoo! Sports Invitational.

The old saying is that defense wins championships. If that is the case, Ole Miss may be in contention for a title in 2000-01, especially if the Rebels can continue to hassle the opposition with their defensive pressure.

Ole Miss is holding its opponents to an average of 62.5 points per game, which is tied with Alabama for the top spot in the Southeastern Conference.

With his 12-rebound performance versus Arkansas-Pine Bluff Nov. 18, senior Rahim Lockhart became the 15th player in Rebel basketball history to grab 500 boards in a career. He now has 632 career rebounds, after grabbing seven boards versus Vanderbilt Jan. 6. Lockhart is in the No. 11 spot on the Ole Miss career rebounding list, and needs five more rebounds to take over the No. 10 spot currently held by Joe Harvell (1990-93, 636 career rebounds). Lockhart entered the 1999-2000 season with 278 boards, and with his 220 rebounds in 1999-2000, he had 498 rebounds coming into the 2000-01 campaign.

Senior Rahim Lockhart recorded a career-best five blocked shots versus Memphis Dec. 9. After his two blocks versus Vanderbilt Jan. 6, he now has 111 for his career and is in third place on the Ole Miss career blocked shots chart. Up next for Lockhart is Johnnie Rogers (1996-99), who is second with 114 career blocked shots. The 6-foot-8 forward entered the 2000-01 season with 83 career blocks. Lockhart led the Rebels in blocked shots the previous two seasons with 44 and 46 blocks, respectively.

Ole Miss placed second in the Yahoo! Sports Invitational played in Laie, Hawaii, Dec. 21-23. The Rebels fell to Iowa State, 73-68 in the invitational's championship game. Ole Miss advanced to the title game with victories over Southern Illinois (70-66) and No. 13-ranked Southern Cal (84-83) in overtime.

Before their loss to Iowa State Dec. 23, the Rebels had won 11 straight games, tying the school record for consecutive victories. The 1936-37 and 1937-38 teams also posted 11-game win streaks.

Senior Rahim Lockhart was selected to the Yahoo! Sports Invitational All-Tournament Team the weekend of Dec. 21-23. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 12.7 points and 9.0 rebounds in the tournament's three games. He recorded his 19th career double-double (16 points, 13 rebounds) in the Rebels' victory over No. 13-ranked Southern Cal Dec. 22. It was the second straight season that Lockhart received tournament honors. Last year, he earned All-Tournament Team accolades at the SoCon Holiday Hoops Tournament (Nov. 26-28, 1999).

Senior Jason Holmes (Tylertown, Miss.) played big for the Rebels in the Yahoo! Sports Invitational Dec. 21-23. The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 8.3 points in the tournament, but scored in double figures versus No. 13-ranked Southern Cal and Iowa State.

In the Rebels' win over the Trojans, Holmes netted 10 points, but none as key as his four free throws in the contest. His first two free throws pulled the Rebels to within two points at 78-76 with 31 seconds left in regulation, setting up Aaron Harper's game-tying hoop. Then, Holmes' two free throws in overtime gave Ole Miss the lead for good at 82-80 with 2:49 left.

Holmes followed that performance with 12 points versus Iowa State in the title game. He shot 3-of-4 from the three-point line and 3-of-3 from the free throw line in the contest.

Senior Rahim Lockhart is picking up where he left off last year?doubling his pleasure. Lockhart came into the 2000-01 season with 14 career double-doubles, and he recorded his 20th double-double performance in Ole Miss' win over Morris Brown (10 points-10 rebounds). He also had double-doubles versus Arkansas-Pine Bluff (17-12) Nov. 18, Louisiana-Monroe (16-10) Nov. 28, Memphis (15-14) Dec. 9, Southeastern Louisiana (21-14) Dec. 13 and Southern Cal (16-13) Dec. 22. Last year, Lockhart had 13 double-doubles, which ranked him in the top 10 in the nation in that statistical category. His first career double-double came versus Tennessee (16-12) as a sophomore in the 1998-99 season.

Yes, we must. The Rebels were en fuego?on fire?from the three-point arc in their victory over Troy State Dec. 18. Ole Miss hit a school-record 14 treys, breaking the previous mark of 13 three-pointers versus Arkansas in the 1991-92 season (Jan. 18, 1992, 114-93 Arkansas win). The Rebels shot 41.2 percent from the arc in the win over the Trojans, led by redshirt freshman Josh Hayes' (Little Rock, Ark.) 6-of-7 shooting performance from the arc. This season, Ole Miss is hitting 37.9 percent from the arc.

Wednesday's game will be a matchup between the top two three-point shooters in the SEC. Ole Miss' Jason Flanigan leads the league from the arc at 51.1 percent, while Arkansas' Jannero Pargo is second at 48.5 percent... Wednesday's game will be a reunion of All-State high school players from Mississippi. Arkansas' Alonzo Lane was an All-State pick from Canton High School, while Aaron Harper, Justin Reed and David Sanders were All-State selections from Provine High School...A Parkview High School reunion could also take place Wednesday night. The Rebels have three players from Parkview in Jason Flanigan, Jason Harrison, Josh Hayes, and Arkansas freshman Michael Jones is also from Parkview...Ole Miss has moved up in the SEC in three-point field goals made per game. Prior to their Dec. 18 game, the Rebels were 12th in the SEC, making 4.63 treys per game. In the current SEC rankings, Ole Miss is sixth at 6.86 treys per contest...The Rebels' win at Vanderbilt Jan. 6 ended an 11-game road losing streak in the SEC. Prior to the Jan. 6 win over the Commodores, Ole Miss' last SEC road victory was a 79-68 win at Florida Feb. 6, 1999 (1998-99 season).



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