Ole Miss Hosts Kentucky Saturday

Jan. 18, 2001

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Game #18 - CBS Sports-TV
Kentucky (10-5, 3-0) vs.
#21/22 Ole Miss (14-3, 2-2)
Saturday, January 20, 2001 - 12:35 p.m. (CT) tip
Tad Smith Coliseum - Oxford, Miss.

Rebels on Television and Radio
Television: CBS Sports (Gus Johnson, play-by-play, Dan Bonner, color analyst, Bob Mansbach, producer)
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play, Sean Tuohy, color analyst, Stan Sandroni, pregame/halftime/postgame host)

The Ole Miss Rebels (14-3, 2-2 SEC) return home to Tad Smith Coliseum Saturday, Jan. 20 for a Southeastern Conference showdown versus Kentucky (10-5, 3-0 SEC). The game is scheduled for 12:35 p.m. (CT) tip, and will be televised by CBS. Ole Miss, ranked No. 21 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Poll, suffered its second straight SEC loss at Alabama Wednesday, while Kentucky won its seventh straight with a victory over No. 4-ranked Tennessee Tuesday.

Rod Barnes is in his third season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. He has an overall record of 53-30 (.639 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).

Saturday's game will be the 97th meeting between the two schools. The Wildcats hold an 86-10 lead in the series, which began in 1925. Kentucky has won the last three encounters in the series, including a 74-69 victory in Lexington last season (Jan. 19, 2000). Ole Miss' last win in the series was a 73-64 victory in Lexington in the 1997-98 season (Feb. 14, 1998). The Wildcats hold a 30-7 series lead in games played in Oxford. The Rebels' last win over Kentucky in Oxford was a 73-69 victory in the 1996-97 campaign (Jan. 11, 1997). Rebel head coach Rod Barnes is 0-3 versus Kentucky and 0-1 versus the Wildcats in Tad Smith Coliseum.

The Wildcats bring a 10-5 overall record and a 3-0 Southeastern Conference mark into Saturday's game. Kentucky has won seven straight, with its last setback a narrow 46-45 loss at Michigan State in mid-December. The Wildcats' 84-74 win over Tennessee Jan. 16 gave them the lead in the SEC Eastern Division with a 3-0 league mark. The tandem of Keith Bogans and Tayshaun Prince leads the Kentucky offense. Bogans is the team's top scorer with a 16.4 average, while Prince is second with a 13.8 average. Bogans and Prince both have netted double figures in the last 11 games for Kentucky. Prince leads the Wildcats on the boards with a 6.1 rebounding average. Marquis Estill is the team's top shooter from the field at 57.3 percent, while Bogans is the squad's top three-point threat at 37.4 percent. Kentucky is shooting 47.4 percent from the floor, 32.2 percent from the arc and 64.7 percent from the free throw line. The Wildcats are out-rebounding its opponents by an average of 4.3 rebounds per contest.

For the first time in the history of the Ole Miss-Kentucky series, the Rebels enter a game against the Wildcats with a higher national ranking. In this week's polls, Ole Miss is ranked No. 21 in Associated Press and No. 22 in ESPN/USA Today. On the strength of its current seven-game winning streak, Kentucky is on the verge of cracking the polls, as the Wildcats are near the top of the "Also Receiving Votes" category of both polls (#31, AP, #29, ESPN/USA Today).

On Tuesday (Jan. 16), Kentucky began a week of facing three straight Southeastern Conference opponents which are ranked. The Wildcats defeated No. 4-ranked Tennessee, 84-74 at home Jan. 16. Kentucky now travels to No. 21 Ole Miss Saturday and to No. 15 Alabama Jan. 23.

Last season, the Rebels had their own "ranked" week in SEC play Jan. 15-22, 2000. Ole Miss started out at No. 12 Tennessee (a 98-60 Vol win) and then played at No. 18 Kentucky (a 74-69 Wildcat win). The Rebels finished "ranked" week with a thrilling 79-77 overtime victory over No. 4 Auburn at Tad Smith Coliseum.

The Rebels have been the road warriors in the early portion of the Southeastern Conference schedule, having played three of its first four league games on the road. On the other hand, Saturday will be Kentucky's first on the road in SEC action. The Wildcats have played their first three league contests at Rupp Arena versus Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Aside from Ole Miss and Kentucky playing hoops on Saturday, the other big news story will be the Presidential Inauguration. Since Ronald Reagan took the oath in January of 1981, the Rebels have had considerable success playing on or near the Presidential Inauguration. The last time Ole Miss played a contest on the day of inauguration was the 1992-93 campaign, with the Rebels posting a 69-53 home win over rival Mississippi State (Jan. 20, 1993).

The Rebels and the Wildcats have played only one common opponent so far this season?Georgia. Ole Miss dropped a 70-66 decision to Georgia at home Jan. 13, while Kentucky defeated the Bulldogs, 67-63 in Lexington Jan. 6.

There's no question that Kentucky has dominated the overall series with Ole Miss, holding a commanding 86-10 lead. However, the gap has closed somewhat in recent years. Since the 1996-97 season, the Wildcats hold a 4-2 lead in those games, with the Rebels taking the regular-season encounters in 1996-97 (73-69 win) and 1997-98 (73-64 win). But, to look at it another way, in Kentucky's four wins since 1996-97, the Wildcats' average margin of victory was 9.8 points per game. In its seven-game win streak over the Rebels from 1990-91 to 1995-96, Kentucky's average margin of victory was 21.9 points per game.

In Kentucky's last run to the national title in 1997-98, Ole Miss was the last team to defeat the Wildcats. The Rebels won, 73-64 in Lexington Feb. 14, 1998. It was Ole Miss' first win in Lexington since 1927. Kentucky finished the 1997-98 campaign with 13 straight victories en route to the national championship.

Senior Rahim Lockhart (Mendenhall, Miss.) had his best offensive Southeastern Conference game so far this season versus Alabama Jan. 17. Entering the Alabama game, the 6-foot-8 forward had been averaging 8.0 points in SEC play, but broke out versus the Crimson Tide with 17 points and six boards. Lockhart scored his 17 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and 1-of-3 from the charity stripe. He also had two blocks versus Alabama. In SEC action (four games), Lockhart is now averaging 10.3 points.

Freshman Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.) 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 10.6 points and 5.6 rebounds. In SEC play only (four games), Reed is averaging 13 points and 6.5 boards.

Despite suffering an ankle injury in the Rebels' Jan. 13 game versus Georgia, sophomore David Sanders (Jackson, Miss.) played 28 minutes at Alabama Jan. 17 and had eight points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals versus the Crimson Tide. The 6-foot-3 guard suffered a sprained left ankle versus Georgia and was listed as probable for the Alabama game. Sanders 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 6.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, while shooting 53.2 percent from the field.

This year's senior class of Jason Flanigan (Little Rock, Ark.) and Rahim Lockhart 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).

Yes, the school-record 29-game homecourt winning streak came to an end in the 1998-99 season, but Tad Smith Coliseum (a.k.a. the "Tad Pad") is still one of the toughest arenas in the nation for opposing teams to play. Ole Miss has won 71 of its last 79 games (.899 winning percentage) at home, including homecourt winning streaks of 15 and 29 games. The Rebels are 8-1 at Tad Smith Coliseum this season, with the loss coming to Georgia Jan. 13. That loss ended a 12-game homecourt win streak. Ole Miss also owns the third longest homecourt winning streak versus non-conference opponents in the nation at 43 straight (Maryland is first at 75 straight). In the past nine seasons (1992-present), Ole Miss has an overall home record of 99-29 (.773 winning percentage).

With their victory over No. 14-ranked Oklahoma Dec. 2, the Rebels posted their 300th victory in Tad Smith Coliseum. Ole Miss has an all-time record of 304-155 (.662 winning percentage) at the "Tad Pad." Tad Smith Coliseum opened in the 1965-66 season.

Ole Miss will be making its 11th television appearance of the year Saturday when the Rebels meet Kentucky on CBS. Saturday's game is the third 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 7-3 in television games, with the losses coming to Iowa State in the championship game of the Yahoo! Sports Invitational Dec. 23, Georgia Jan. 13 and Alabama Jan. 17. 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.

Since the 1996-97 season, Ole Miss has a 3-3 record when playing a game on CBS. The Rebels are 2-0 in regular-season games on CBS, winning at Alabama (74-63) in the 1997-98 season and defeating Arkansas (89-81) in the 1998-99 campaign. Ole Miss' other win came in the 1999 NCAA Tournament first round, a 72-70 victory over Villanova. The win was the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament victory. All three Ole Miss losses on CBS have come in NCAA Tournament play.

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 a 12-3 record (prior to Thursday's game at Alabama). 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.

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 648 career rebounds, after grabbing six boards versus Alabama Jan. 17. Lockhart is in the No. 10 spot on the Ole Miss career rebounding list, and needs 24 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.

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 14-37 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 63.2 points per game, which is still tops in the Southeastern Conference.

Senior Rahim Lockhart recorded a career-best five blocked shots versus Memphis Dec. 9. After his two blocks versus Alabama Jan. 17, he now has 114 for his career and is tied for second place on the Ole Miss career blocked shots chart. 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.

The Rebels have a 20-36 regular-season record versus teams from the SEC Eastern Division since the conference began divisional play in the 1991-92 season. Ole Miss is 23-43 versus the SEC Eastern Division teams, including tournament play.

Many say you can live and die by the three-point shot. Well, the Rebels aren't dead yet, but after shooting a high percentage from the arc in games 9-14, they have cooled off in the last three contests.

The Rebels had a slow start dialing from long distance in the first eight games, hitting only 4.63 treys per contest and shooting 35.6 percent. However, Ole Miss heated up with a school-record 14 three-pointers in its win over Troy State Dec. 18 and continued the hot streak through the Vanderbilt contest Jan. 6. During that string of games from Troy State to Vanderbilt, the Rebels hit 9.83 treys per game and shot 44 percent from the arc.

In the last three games, Ole Miss has hit 5.33 three-pointers per game and is shooting 26.2 percent.

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.

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 44.4 percent from the three-point line.

HITTING 'EM WHEN THEY COUNT 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 66.0 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.

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 53-30. 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.

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.

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 2.5 rebounds per contest this season (42 total boards), and has nearly equalled his rebound total (44) of a year ago. Holmes, who is shooting 39.6 percent from the three-point line, also hit a couple of key second-half three-pointers versus the Razorbacks Jan. 10.

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 4.3 points and 1.6 rebounds.

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.

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.

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.

All three played their high school basketball at Provine High School in Jackson, Miss.

Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith is 4-2 versus Ole Miss (3-1 at Ky., 1-1 at Ga.)...CBS Sports Executive Producer Terry Ewert is a 1973 Ole Miss grad...Ole Miss' Rod Barnes is 1-12 versus Kentucky as a player and head coach. The lone win was a 76-65 victory in 1986-87 season. Barnes netted 10 points in that win.



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