Ole Miss On The Road At Alabama

Jan. 15, 2001

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The Ole Miss Rebels (14-2, 2-1 SEC) will take to the road again Wednesday, Jan. 17 when they travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to meet the Alabama Crimson Tide (13-2, 2-1 SEC). The game is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (CT), and will be televised by Jefferson Pilot. Ole Miss, ranked No. 20 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Poll, suffered its first SEC loss to Georgia (70-66) Saturday, while Alabama defeated Mississippi State (72-59).

Game #17 -- Jefferson-Pilot TV
#20/22 Ole Miss (14-2, 2-1) vs. #16/12 Alabama (13-2, 2-1)
Wednesday, January 17, 2001 -- 7:00 p.m. (CT)
Coleman Coliseum -- Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Rod Barnes is in his third season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. He has an overall record of 53-29 (.646 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).

Rebels on Television and Radio

Jefferson Pilot (Tom Hammond, play-by-play, Larry Conley, color analyst, Roger Roebuck, producer, Dave Burchett, director)

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

Wednesday's game will be the 146th meeting between the two schools. The Crimson Tide hold a 103-42 lead in the series, which began in 1921. Last season, the teams split their two meetings, with Alabama winning in Tuscaloosa, 96-67 and Ole Miss winning in Oxford, 63-59. Alabama holds a 58-8 lead in games played in Tuscaloosa. The last time Ole Miss won in Coleman Coliseum was the 1997-98 campaign, a 74-63 win on Jan. 10, 1998. Prior to that victory in Tuscaloosa, the Rebels had lost five straight to the Crimson Tide in Coleman Coliseum, with the last Ole Miss win coming in the 1991-92 season (78-77 win). Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 2-2 versus Alabama and 0-2 versus the Crimson Tide at Coleman Coliseum.

The Crimson Tide, ranked No. 16 in the Associated Press poll and No. 12 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, enter Wednesday's game with a 13-2 overall record and a 2-1 Southeastern Conference mark. Alabama has won four of its last five games, with the lone setback coming at No. 4-ranked Tennessee. Sophomore guard Rod Grizzard leads four Alabama players in double figures with a 19.1 scoring average. Erwin Dudley (14.9 ppg), Gerald Wallace (12.9 ppg) and Terrance Meade (12.6 ppg) are also averaging in double digits. Dudley leads the team and the SEC in rebounding (9.7 rpg) and field goal percentage (62.8 percent). Meade is the squad's top three-point threat at 34.1 percent, while Tarik London is tops on the team with 53 assists. The Crimson Tide is shooting 44.9 percent from the field, 29.6 percent from the three-point arc and 72 percent from the charity stripe. Alabama is out-rebounding its opponents by an average of 5.5 boards per contest (43.1-37.6).

Wednesday's match-up between Ole Miss and Alabama will feature head coaches at the helm of basketball programs where they also played. Rod Barnes played at Ole Miss from 1985-88, and is the first Rebel head coach to have played his collegiate basketball at Ole Miss since Cob Jarvis. Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried played at his alma mater from 1985-87 and helped lead the Crimson Tide to three consecutive NCAA Sweet 16 appearances.

During their playing careers, Barnes' and Gottfried's teams met six times from 1984-85 to 1986-87. Gottfried's squads won all six meetings in those match-ups.

Again, it is early in the conference season, but Wednesday's match-up between Ole Miss and Alabama will be for the early lead in the Southeastern Conference Western Division. Both squads enter the game with 2-1 league marks.

The Rebels are 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 at Arkansas Jan. 10 (53-48 Ole Miss win). The Rebels' third road game will be at Alabama Jan. 17. The Rebels hosted Georgia Jan. 13 in Oxford (70-66 Bulldog win). 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, but bounced back with a 70-66 win over Ole Miss Jan. 13. Georgia travels to Florida Jan. 17. Georgia hosted Auburn Jan. 10, and won 85-80 in overtime.

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 were 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 were Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.

Ole Miss was 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 at Arkansas Jan. 10 (a 53-48 Ole Miss win). Alabama (at LSU, at Tennessee) and Florida (at South Carolina, at Mississippi State) were the other two SEC teams to play their first two league games on the road this year.

When the Rebels and Crimson Tide meet on Wednesday, it will provide SEC fans with a match-up between two young guns in the league in Ole Miss' Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.) and Alabama's Gerald Wallace. Reed was rated among the top 50 seniors in the nation last season, while Wallace was the consensus 2000 National Player of the Year. The following shows the statistical breakdown of the two players:

Wednesday's game will be the third time this season that both Alabama and Ole Miss will have played a ranked team. The Rebels are 2-0 versus ranked opponents, having defeated Oklahoma (60-55) and Southern Cal (84-83, ot). The Crimson Tide have a 0-2 record versus ranked opponents, having dropped decisions to Cincinnati (77-74, ot) and Tennessee (86-69).

Freshman Justin Reed doubled his pleasure for a second time this season versus Georgia Jan. 13. The 6-foot-8 forward scored a career-high 21 points and also grabbed 12 boards in the 70-66 setback to the Bulldogs. His first collegiate double-double was a 16 point-13 rebound performance in the Rebels' 88-84 overtime victory over VCU Nov. 25. The 21 points against the Bulldogs bested Reed's previous high of 19 points a week earlier versus Vanderbilt. Reed also hit a career-high nine field goals versus Georgia. For the season, he is averaging 10.7 points and 5.7 rebounds. In SEC play only, Reed is averaging 14 points and seven boards.

Sophomore guard David Sanders (Jackson, Miss.) suffered a sprained left ankle versus Georgia Jan. 13 and is probable for Wednesday's game at Alabama. The 6-foot-3 guard suffered the injury with under six minutes to go in the second half versus the Bulldogs. Before he left the game, Sanders had four points, two boards, five assists and one steal. This season, Sanders is averaging 6.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, while shooting 52.6 percent from the field.

This year's senior class of Jason Flanigan (Little Rock, Ark.) and Rahim Lockhart (Mendenhall, Miss.) and junior redshirt John Engstrom (Paragould, Ark.) are now at the head of all the classes in Ole Miss basketball history. With the Rebels' victory over Arkansas Jan. 10, the 2000-01 senior class has 75 wins, the most victories by a class in a four-year span. The 75 victories surpass the previous mark of 74 wins 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).

The Rebels opened their Southeastern Conference schedule with consecutive road wins at Vanderbilt (81-68) and at Arkansas (53-48). The last time Ole Miss won back-to-back road games in the SEC (at any time during the season) was the 1998-99 campaign when the Rebels won at LSU (82-66) Feb. 3, 1999, and at Florida (79-68) Feb. 6, 1999.

The Rebels opened their Southeastern Conference schedule with consecutive road wins at Vanderbilt (81-68) and at Arkansas (53-48). The last time Ole Miss won its first two SEC games on the road was the 1950-51 season. The Rebels won at Auburn (65-61) Dec. 9, 1950, and at Alabama (67-61) Dec. 11, 1950.

The last time Ole Miss won three straight SEC road games to open the conference season was the 1937-38 campaign. The Rebels defeated Vanderbilt (68-30) Dec. 31, 1937, LSU (59-48) Jan. 14, 1938, and LSU (47-44) Jan. 15, 1938, on the road.

The last time Ole Miss won three straight league road games (at any time during the season) was the 1997-98 campaign. The Rebels won at Kentucky (73-64) Feb. 14, 1998, at LSU (83-57) Feb. 18, 1998, and at Mississippi State (82-78) Feb. 21, 1998. The Rebels won their second straight SEC Western Division title that year.

Ole Miss will be making its 10th television appearance of the year Wednesday when the Rebels meet Alabama on Jefferson Pilot. Wednesday's game is the second of five consecutive television appearances for the Rebels in the month of January. The Rebels have 14 scheduled television appearances in 2000-01. This season, Ole Miss is 7-2 in television games, with the losses coming to Iowa State in the championship game of the Yahoo! Sports Invitational Dec. 23 and to Georgia Jan. 13. The Rebels have appeared on television over 40 times the past four seasons. Last year, Ole Miss had 11 television contests, and posted a 6-5 record in those games.

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 11-3 record (prior to their Jan. 16 game versus Belmont). Baylor was the final school to have both its men's and women's teams undefeated, but both lost last week in Big 12 Conference play.

Heading into play the week of Dec. 18, 2000, four schools had both its men's and women's teams undefeated. They were Baylor, Ole Miss, Alabama, and Tennessee.

Senior Jason Holmes (Tylertown, Miss.) proved he is more than just a three-point threat in the Rebels' 53-48 victory over Arkansas Jan. 10. The 6-foot-5 guard grabbed a career-high nine boards in the win, besting his previous high of six rebounds versus VCU earlier this year. Holmes is averaging 2.6 rebounds per contest this season (41 total boards), and has nearly equalled his rebound total (44) of a year ago. Holmes, who is shooting 40.9 percent from the three-point line, also hit a couple of key second-half three-pointers versus the Razorbacks Jan. 10.

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 53-29. 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.

Sophomore Emmanuel Wade (Marianna, Ark.) came up with a big half of basketball for the Rebels in the second half of their victory over Arkansas Jan. 10. The 6-foot-3 guard, who also goes by "Manny," was held scoreless and had no boards in the first half. However, that changed after intermission. Wade scored six points and grabbed a career-high tying five boards in the second half to help propel the Rebels to the win. Wade netted the Rebels' first six points of the second half, and then grabbed three huge rebounds in the closing minutes. This season, he is averaging 4.5 points and 1.5 rebounds.

Despite its loss to Georgia Jan. 13, Ole Miss' 14-2 start is still the program's best since the 1936-37 squad began its campaign with a 16-2 mark.

The 1936-37 team finished with a 20-6 record. That 20-win season was the first in Rebel basketball history.

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.

Despite his 1-for-6 three-point shooting performance in the last two games, senior Jason Flanigan has definitely found his range from the arc in recent games. In the Rebels' last seven games, the 6-foot-1 guard is shooting 50 percent (14-of-28) from the arc. Flanigan is second in the SEC in three-point field goal percentage at 47.2 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 eight contests. The Rebels hit a school-record 14 treys versus Troy State, nine versus Southern Illinois and Southern Cal, seven versus Iowa State, 10 versus Morris Brown and Vanderbilt and six versus Arkansas and Georgia. Over those eight games, the Rebels have hit 8.88 treys per contest. Ole Miss is also hitting 41.5 percent from the arc in those eight games.

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.

Maybe freshman Justin Reed should be "under the weather" more often. No, we're just kidding. But, after missing most of practice the week leading up to the Vanderbilt game due to illness, Reed came off the bench versus the Commodores to net 19 points in leading the Rebels to the 81-68 victory. It was the first time this season that Reed did not start. Reed hit a career-best five free throws. The 6-foot-8 forward also grabbed seven boards and had one assist and two steals versus Vanderbilt.

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.

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 93. Up next for Harrison is Joezon Darby (1996-98), who is No. 3 with 131 career treys. This season, Harrison is shooting 47.1 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 66.2 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, Vanderbilt and Arkansas, the Rebels shot 72.3 percent from the line (68-of-94) in the final four minutes (and overtime) of those games.

The Rebels have a 42-49 regular-season record versus teams from the SEC Western Division. Ole Miss is 42-50 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 14-36 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.

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 62.1 points per game, which is tops 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 642 career rebounds, after grabbing two boards versus Georgia Jan. 13. Lockhart is in the No. 10 spot on the Ole Miss career rebounding list, and needs 30 more rebounds to take over the No. 9 spot currently held by Jason Smith (1996-99, 671 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 one block versus Arkansas Jan. 10, he now has 112 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.

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.



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