Ole Miss Basketball Game Notes

Jan. 22, 2004

GAME #16: Ole Miss (9-6, 1-3) vs. Alabama (11-4, 3-1)
January 24, 2004 * 5 p.m. CT
C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum * Oxford, Miss.

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MEDIA
TV: FOX Sports Net (Dave Neal, play-by-play; Eddie Fogler, color analyst)
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Gary Darby, color analyst)
Gametracker: www.olemisssports.com

OLE MISS LOOKS FOR SEC WIN STREAK AGAINST ALABAMA: Ole Miss looks for its second straight Southeastern Conference victory, as the Rebels host Alabama Saturday in their fifth straight Western Division encounter. Ole Miss nailed down its first SEC win Wednesday, knocking off LSU 53-49 behind the senior tandem of Aaron Harper and Justin Reed. Harper posted 22 points and five assists, while Reed added 16 points and nine rebounds. Harper has posted 22 points and five or more assists in each of the last two games.

BARNES IN SIXTH SEASON AS REBEL MENTOR: Rod Barnes is in the midst of his sixth season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. The 2001 Naismith and CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year, Barnes has a 109-67 record (.619 winning percentage). The 100 wins in his first five seasons is the most by a Rebel coach in that span of time in Ole Miss history. In 2000-01, Barnes was the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, and guided Ole Miss to a school-record 17 wins and the program's first NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 berth. Another winning season and postseason tournament followed in 2001-02 - both were the sixth straight for the Ole Miss program.

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 (18th; 1,201 points), assists (2nd; 456) and steals (7th; 154).

SCOUTING ALABAMA: Alabama rides into Saturday's game on a three-game SEC win streak. The Crimson Tide fought off Georgia, 45-42, in Athens Wednesday, with Antoine Pettway nailing the game-winning three-pointer with 1.7 seconds left. Alabama tops the SEC in three-point percentage, shooting 36.7 percent from the arc. Ernest Shelton is third in the SEC in threes (2.33 per game) and leads the Tide in scoring at 15.5 per game, however the junior guard is out indefinitely after spraining his right MCL at Georgia. Sophomore forward Kennedy Winston follows with a 15.1 average along with 5.4 rebounds per game. Pettway, a senior guard, is heading the conference in assist/turnover ratio (2.48/1) while ranking third in steals (2.13 per game). UA head coach Mark Gottfried is in his sixth year at the helm and returns nine letterwinners but only one starter from last year's 17-12 squad that finished fourth in the SEC West and earned an NCAA Tournament berth.

OLE MISS-ALABAMA SERIES: Saturday's game will be the 152nd meeting between the two schools. The Crimson Tide hold a 106-45 lead in the series, which began in 1921. Last year, the teams split their two meetings, with Ole Miss defeating then-15th-ranked UA 76-57 in Oxford and Alabama winning 86-63 in Tuscaloosa. The Tide holds a narrow 35-34 lead in games played in Oxford. However, Ole Miss has won the last six meetings against Alabama at Tad Smith Coliseum. The last UA win in Oxford came in the 1996-97 season, a 59-46 victory. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 5-5 versus Alabama and 5-0 against the Crimson Tide in Oxford.

QUOTING BARNES ON THE GAME: "Alabama is a very good team. We are glad we are playing the game at home. We are going to have our work cut out for us. Seven of our 14 players are new to the team. We have to do our best to win our home games. It was a big relief to get our first SEC win under our belt. We are a work in progress and need to play well at home."

FAMILIAR FOES: Saturday'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. Both Barnes and Gottfried became head coaches at their alma mater in 1998-99, and each has won on his homecourt in all 10 meetings.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Saturday's game against Alabama, which is being broadcast on FOX Sports Net, will be the third of at least nine regular-season contests in which the Rebels will be on television this year. Ole Miss lost on the road at Florida State (FOX Sports Net) and at home to Memphis (ESPN2) in its first two televised games of the season. Last year, the Rebels were 5-7 in TV games. Under head coach Rod Barnes (since 1998-99), Ole Miss has played 71 television games and has a 39-32 record in those contests.

HARPER APPROACHES RECORD: Aaron Harper, who joined the 1,000-point club and 200 three-pointer club a year ago, is set to become the Rebels' all-time leader in three-pointers made. He enters Saturday's game with 244 career threes, five behind Ole Miss great Keith Carter (1996-99). Harper, a 6-foot-7 swingman, currently ranks fifth in the SEC in treys (2.20 per game) and sixth in three-point percentage (36.3). Harper hit 65 threes in 2002-03, which is the fourth-most for a single season in Ole Miss history.

DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE: Wednesday, the Rebels displayed the defensive prowess that has become a trademark of Rod Barnes' squads. Ole Miss limited LSU to 36.4 percent shooting and allowed only one player, Jaime Llloreda, in double-figures. It also marked the fifth time this season and 24th time in Barnes' six years at the helm that Ole Miss has held its opponent under 50 points. The Rebels curently rank fourth in the SEC in scoring defense (61.5 per game).

REED ENTERS ELITE CLUB: With his six rebounds at Arkansas, Justin Reed entered an elite Ole Miss category. The senior forward became only the fifth Rebel move into the top 10 in both career points and rebounds. With his 20 points at Auburn, Reed moved over the 1,500 plateau for his career, making him the ninth Ole Miss player to reach that mark. With 682 rebounds in the Red and Blue, Reed has passed Jason Smith (1996-99) for 10th on the all-time rebound list.

 

 

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