Ole Miss Men's Basketball Weekly Release

Jan. 30, 2001

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Arkansas (12-6, 3-3)
#19 Ole Miss (15-4, 3-3)
Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 7:07 p.m. (CT) Tip
Tad Smith Coliseum - Oxford, Miss.
Jefferson Pilot-TV

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)

The Ole Miss Rebels (15-4, 3-3 SEC) return to Tad Smith Coliseum Wednesday, Jan. 31 to host Arkansas (12-6, 3-3 SEC) in a Southeastern Conference Western Division showdown. The game is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. (CT) tip, and will be televised by Jefferson Pilot. Ole Miss, which is No. 26 in the "Also Receiving Votes" category of both polls, fell at Mississippi State, 79-69 Jan. 27, while the Razorbacks have won three straight SEC games, including a 59-52 win at LSU Jan. 27.

Rod Barnes is in his third season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. He has an overall record of 54-31 (.635 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).

Wednesday's game will the 48th meeting between the two schools, with the Razorbacks holding an all-time series lead of 34-13. The series began in 1937. Since it joined the Southeastern Conference in the 1991-92 season, Arkansas holds an 11-8 series lead over the Rebels. Earlier this season, Ole Miss defeated Arkansas, 53-48 in Fayetteville. 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 five of the last six meetings versus the Razorbacks, and hold a 7-3 lead in games played in Oxford. Arkansas' last win in Oxford came in the 1995-96 season, a narrow 63-62 victory (Jan. 10, 1996). Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 4-1 versus Arkansas and 2-0 against the Razorbacks in Oxford.

The Razorbacks enter Wednesday's contest with a 12-6 overall record and a 3-3 Southeastern Conference mark. After opening SEC play with three straight setbacks, Arkansas has posted three consecutive league victories over Auburn (82-72), Alabama (87-58) and LSU (59-52). Sophomore Joe Johnson, the league's preseason player of the year pick, leads the team in scoring with a 13.7 average. Johnson is also the squad's top rebounder with a 6.2 average. Junior college transfer Jannero Pargo (12.1 ppg) is Arkansas' only other double-figure scorer. Johnson is the squad's top field goal shooter at 51.3 percent, while Pargo is the top three-point threat at 45.4 percent. T.J. Cleveland leads the Razorbacks in assists (58) and steals (37). Arkansas is shooting 46.1 percent from the field and 36 percent from the three-point arc. The Razorback defense has recorded 225 steals and forced 399 turnovers.

It's almost the midway point of the conference season, and Wednesday's match-up between Ole Miss and Arkansas will be a battle for second place in the Southeastern Conference Western Division. Both squads enter the game with 3-3 league marks.

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 6-4 edge in those meetings. The Rebels have won six of the last eight January meetings, including sweeps of the Razorbacks in the 1996-97 and 1998-99 seasons. In 1996-97, Ole Miss defeated Arkansas, 91-74 Jan. 2 and 71-52 Jan. 29. In the 1998-99 campaign, Ole Miss swept the Razorbacks, defeating Arkansas 76-65 in Fayetteville Jan. 9 and 89-81 in Oxford Jan. 30. During the eight-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).

After playing four of its first six league games on the road, Ole Miss returns home to the friendly confines of Tad Smith Coliseum (a.k.a. the "Tad Pad") to host Arkansas Wednesday, Jan. 31. Wednesday's contest will begin a stretch for the Rebels in which they will play four of their next five games at the "Tad Pad."

After hosting Arkansas Wednesday, Ole Miss will travel to Auburn Feb. 3, and then will return home to host LSU Feb. 7, Tennessee Feb. 10 and Mississippi State Feb. 14.

For the Rebels, January has been a month on the road. In January, Ole Miss played three home games and four road contests. The Rebels are one of four Southeastern Conference teams?Arkansas, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee ?to play only three home league games by the end of January.

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 72 of its last 80 games (.900 winning percentage) at home, including homecourt winning streaks of 15 and 29 games. The Rebels are 9-1 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 100-29 (.775 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 305-155 (.663 winning percentage) at the "Tad Pad." Tad Smith Coliseum opened in the 1965-66 season.

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 63.6 points per game, which is still tops in the Southeastern Conference.

When Rob Evans took over the Rebel program in the 1992-93 season, he said his squads were going to play defense?and they did. That emphasis on defense has continued under Rod Barnes. This season, Ole Miss has held seven opponents under 60 points, including two SEC teams. The Rebels held Arkansas (53-48 Ole Miss win) Jan. 10 and Kentucky (65-55 Ole Miss win) Jan. 20 to under 60 points. Last year, Ole Miss held nine opponents to under 60 points, but only one league team.

Since the 1992-93 season, the campaign in which the Rebels held the most opponents under 60 points was 1996-97. That year Ole Miss held 10 opponents to under 60 points, including five SEC squads. The 1996-97 season was the Rebels' first SEC Western Division title.

Junior Jason Harrison (Little Rock, Ark.) has certainly found his range from the arc in conference play. The 5-foot-5 guard hit a career-best four three-pointers in the Rebels' victory over Kentucky Jan. 20. Harrison has been hot from the three-point line since SEC play began Jan. 6. In six SEC games, Harrison is hitting 57.1 percent from the arc (12-of-21).

Junior Jason Harrison 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 100. Up next for Harrison is Joezon Darby (1996-98), who is No. 3 with 131 career treys. This season, Harrison is shooting 47.9 percent from the three-point line.

After averaging only 6.3 points in the Rebels' first four league games, Jason Harrison, also known as "Little Man," has stepped up big. In Ole Miss' last two Southeastern Conference contests, Harrison is averaging 16.5 points, 3.5 boards and 3.5 assists. The 5-foot-5 guard hit 42.1 percent from the field and 58.3 percent from the arc in the last two contests versus Kentucky (Jan. 20) and Mississippi State (Jan. 27).

After a slow start in conference play, senior Rahim Lockhart (Mendenhall, Miss.) has been on a roll for the Rebels in their last three games versus Alabama, Kentucky and Mississippi State. In those three contests, Lockhart averaged 13 points and 8.4 boards.

He had his best offensive Southeastern Conference game to date versus Alabama Jan. 17. Entering the Alabama game, the 6-foot-8 forward was 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.

Lockhart followed that performance with 12 points and nine rebounds versus Kentucky. He recorded his 21st career double-double versus Mississippi State Jan. 27 with 10 points and 11 boards. In SEC action (six games), Lockhart is averaging 10.5 points and 7.2 rebounds.

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 21st double-double performance versus Mississippi State Jan. 27 (10 points-11 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, Southern Cal (16-13) Dec. 22 and Morris Brown (10-10) Dec. 30. 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.

Ole Miss will be making its 13th television appearance of the year Wednesday when the Rebels meet Arkansas on Jefferson Pilot. Wednesday's game is the final 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 8-4 in television games. 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.

Rahim Lockhart is nearing 1,000, and it's a good thing. The 6-foot-8 forward has 950 points and needs only 50 more to reach the 1,000-point plateau. When he reaches the milestone, Lockhart will be the 25th Rebel to do so. The last Rebels to reach the 1,000-point mark were Ansu Sesay and Keith Carter, both in the 1997-98 season.

They say the big players step up in "primetime." Well, there's nothing more "primetime" than Southeastern Conference play, and freshman Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.) is making his presence known in the league. In six SEC games, Reed has netted double figures in five contests, including a career-high 21 points versus Georgia Jan. 13. The 6-foot-8 forward is averaging 12.3 points (leads team) and 6.3 boards (second on team) in SEC games only.

The Rebels could not find their shooting touch Jan. 27 versus Mississippi State, hitting only 29.7 percent (19-of-64) from the floor. The last time Ole Miss shot worse from the field was versus N.C. State in the National Invitation Tournament quarterfinal game in Raleigh, N.C., last March. The Rebels hit 28.8 percent (17-of-59) versus the Wolfpack. The last time Ole Miss shot worse than 29.7 percent in regular-season play was 26.6 percent (17-of-64) versus Kentucky in the 1995-96 campaign.

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.

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, Arkansas and Kentucky, the Rebels shot 73.1 percent from the line (76-of-104) in the final four minutes (and overtime) of those games.

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 15-38 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 6-4 this year when scoring less than 70 points.

Give David Sanders (Jackson, Miss.) some credit. He's trying to tough it out, but the sprained left ankle he suffered versus Georgia Jan. 13 is still affecting his play. In the three league games prior to the injury, the 6-foot-3 guard was averaging 8.0 points and playing outstanding defense. Since that injury, Sanders is averaging only 5.3 points and has been limited in his lateral movement on the defensive end.

Sanders played 28 minutes at Alabama Jan. 17 and had eight points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals versus the Crimson Tide. He played 14 minutes versus Kentucky Jan. 20 and 23 minutes versus Mississippi State Jan. 27.

Sanders suffered the injury with under six minutes to go in the second half versus the Georgia. Before he left the game, Sanders had four points, two boards, five assists and one steal. But, more importantly, he was playing outstanding defense on Georgia's D.A. Layne. After Sanders left the game with the injury, Layne scored eight of his 21 points, including the basket that put the Bulldogs ahead to stay at 1:11 mark of the second half.

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 Kentucky Jan. 20, the 2000-01 senior class has 76 wins, the most victories by a class in a four-year span. The 76 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, Ole Miss lost to its rival Mississippi State Jan. 27, but something good may have come out of it. Senior Jason Flanigan may have found his shot again, and that is good news for the Rebels. Since scoring 14 points versus Vanderbilt Jan. 6, the 6-foot-1 guard had been in a shooting funk, hitting only 4-of-19 from the field in the next four games. However, Flanigan was 3-of-5 from the field, including 2-of-4 from the arc, versus Mississippi State. His two treys helped the Rebels cut an 18-point Bulldog lead to only three with two minutes to play.

Despite his shooting woes in that four-game stretch, Flanigan is still hitting 46.7 percent from the field and 44.3 percent from the arc for the season.

Senior Rahim Lockhart recorded a career-best five blocked shots versus Memphis Dec. 9. After his one block versus Kentucky Jan. 20, he now has 115 for his career and is in 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.

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 668 career rebounds, after grabbing 11 boards versus Mississippi State Jan. 27. Lockhart is in the No. 10 spot on the Ole Miss career rebounding list, and needs four 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.

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 cooled off in contests 15-17.

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 three games prior to Kentucky Jan. 20, Ole Miss hit 5.33 three-pointers per game and shot 26.2 percent.

The Rebels hope they have gained their stroke back from the three-point line. After shooting under 30 percent (26.2 percent, to be exact) in the three games prior to Jan. 20, Ole Miss hit 53.8 percent (7-of-13) from the arc in its 65-55 victory over Kentucky. In their last two games versus Kentucky and Mississippi State, the Rebels are shooting 39 percent from the three-point arc (16-of-41).

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.

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.

Wade also proved he was "da man" in the Rebels' win over Kentucky Jan. 20. He came off the bench to score nine points and grab two boards. He scored his nine points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field, including 1-of-2 from the three-point line.

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 54-31. 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.

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 over Arkansas, besting his previous high of six rebounds versus VCU earlier this year. Holmes is averaging 2.7 rebounds per contest this season (52 total boards), and has already surpassed his rebound total (44) of a year ago.

Sophomore 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. 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.



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