Men's Basketball Game Notes
Jan. 31, 2002
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REBEL GAME NOTES
OLE MISS TO OPEN TWO-GAME SEC ROAD SWING AT GEORGIA SATURDAY: The Ole Miss Rebels (17-4, 6-2 SEC) open a two-game Southeastern Conference road swing Saturday, Feb. 2 when they travel to Athens, Ga., to take on the nationally-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (16-5, 5-3 SEC). The game is slated for 3:00 p.m. (CT) at Stegeman Coliseum. The Rebels enter Saturday's encounter having won 13 of its last 15 games. The Rebels have won four straight in the league, defeating Arkansas Jan. 19, LSU Jan. 23, South Carolina Jan. 26 and Vanderbilt Jan. 30. The Bulldogs, ranked No. 16 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and No. 17 in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 poll, have dropped their last two games at Vanderbilt and at South Carolina.
BARNES IN FOURTH SEASON AS REBEL MENTOR: Rod Barnes is in his fourth season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. The 2001 Naismith and CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year, Barnes has compiled an 83-39 record. He has led Ole Miss to a 17-4 mark this season. Last year, Barnes, the 2001 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, guided Ole Miss to a school-record 27 wins (27-8 record) and the program's first trip to the NCAA Tournament "Sweet Sixteen." The winning season and postseason tournament berth both were the fifth-straight for Ole Miss.
Barnes was hired as the Rebel head coach on April 9, 1998. A 1988 graduate of Ole Miss, Barnes served as an assistant under Rob 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-GEORGIA SERIES: Saturday's game is the 95th meeting between the two schools, with Georgia holding a 60-34 lead in the series. The Bulldogs have won two straight in the series, defeating Ole Miss 70-66 in Oxford last year and 71-65 in Athens in the 1999-2000 season. The Rebels' last victory in the series was an 85-76 win in Oxford in the 1998-99 campaign. Georgia holds a commanding 34-9 lead in the series in games played in Athens. The last time Ole Miss won at Georgia was the 1993-94 season, an 85-69 victory on Jan. 22, 1994. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 1-2 versus Georgia and 0-1 against the Bulldogs in Athens.
SCOUTING GEORGIA: The Bulldogs enter Saturday's contest with a 16-5 overall mark and a 5-3 Southeastern Conference record. Georgia, ranked No. 16 in the Associated Press poll and No. 17 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, have dropped two straight on the road, falling at Vanderbilt and at South Carolina. Ezra Williams leads a trio of double-digit scorers for the Bulldogs with an 18.0 average. Jarvis Hayes (17.6 ppg) and Chris Daniels (12.9 ppg) are also averaging double figures. Williams is the squad's top three-point threat (41.1 percent), while Jonas Hayes is the team's top field goal shooter at 57.8 percent. Rashad Wright leads the squad with 96 assists. Georgia, as a team, is shooting 44.8 percent from the floor, 32 percent from the three-point arc, and 73 percent from the charity stripe. The Bulldogs are out-rebounding their opponents by an average of 1.7 boards per game (38.3-36.6).
A RUN THROUGH THE EAST: The Rebels' game Saturday versus Georgia will be the last of three straight contests against members of the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division this week. Ole Miss defeated South Carolina 71-53 Jan 26 and Vanderbilt 73-61 Jan. 30.
DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE!: That's been the staple of the Rebel basketball program since the early 1990s, and the 2001-02 Ole Miss squad has been playing stellar defense of late. In the last four contests, the Rebels have held their opponents to an average of 58.2 points per game. Ole Miss has also forced the opposition into 71 turnovers (17.8 average) and has 42 steals (10.5 average) in those four contests.
A GOOD SIGN?: Well, it's still early in the races for the league's overall championship and Western Division title. But, good signs are always needed whenever they show up during a season. Ole Miss opened a three-game homestand Jan. 23 versus LSU, which is nearly reminiscent to the Rebels' three-game homestand of 2000-01. The following compares the two:
IN GOOD COMPANY: Coming into the 2001-02 season, Ole Miss had put together a string of five consecutive winning seasons. The Rebels are one of four schools in the SEC to post winning records in each of the previous five years. Kentucky, Arkansas and Auburn are the other three league schools to do so.
COMMON OPPONENTS: The Rebels and the Bulldogs have played five common opponents this season. Ole Miss is 3-2 versus the common opponents, while Georgia is 4-2. The following shows the results of those common opponents:
A RECENT REVERSAL OF FORTUNES: The Rebels and Bulldogs have played the same opponents in their last two games against South Carolina and Vanderbilt. Ole Miss defeated the Gamecocks and Commodores in Oxford, while Georgia dropped decisions to both teams on the road.
REBELS GUARANTEE WINNING SEASON: With their victory over South Carolina Jan. 26, the Rebels guaranteed themselves a sixth straight winning campaign. Ole Miss currently has a 17-4 record. The six consecutive winning seasons are the most in the program's 92-year history since the Rebels had nine straight winning ledgers from 1919-20 through 1927-28.
FINDING THE (SHOOTING) FEELING AGAIN: Ole Miss started off the 2001-02 campaign with a hot-shooting hand from the field, hitting nearly 50 percent (49.4 percent, to be exact) from the floor heading into Southeastern Conference play. The Rebels, though, loss their touch and hit a slump.
In the last three games (all at home), Ole Miss found its shooting stroke from the field. The following shows the ups and downs of field goal shooting for the Rebels this year:
WE NEED YOU, COACH!: In all games, teams shoot at the opposite end of the floor (away from their bench) in the first half, and then shoot in front of their bench in the second half. For the Rebels, they must really love being close to their own bench and head coach Rod Barnes. In Southeastern Conference play (eight games), Ole Miss is shooting a considerably higher percentage in the second half than first in all of its SEC games - especially home contests - and the following chart shows that:
12 AND COUNTING DOWN: Senior Jason Harrison (Little Rock, Ark.) entered the 2001-02 season with 766 career points and needed 234 to become the 26th player in Ole Miss history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Harrison is on track to do so.
After 21 games, the 5-foot-5 guard has scored 222 points (10.6 average) and now has 988 career points, needing 12 to reach the milestone.
In the Rebels' contest at Tennessee Jan. 6, he scored a career-high 23 points, surpassing his previous best of 22 points against Arkansas in the 1998-99 campaign (freshman year). He also hit a career-best seven field goals versus the Volunteers.
HARRISON CLIMBING ASSISTS CHART: Senior Jason Harrison is looking to surpass the 100-assists plateau for the third straight year, and he is well on his way to that accomplishment. After 21 games in 2001-02, Harrison has 89 dishes for a 4.2 average. At his current pace, Harrison would hand out 126 assists this season.
Harrison dished out 115 assists as a sophomore in 1999-2000 and 104 as a junior in 2000-01. The 5-foot-5 guard entered the 2001-02 campaign with 305 career assists, and now has 394 assists. He is in the No. 3 spot on the career assists chart.
If Harrison reaches the 100-assists plateau this season, he would become only the third player in Rebel history to accomplish the feat three straight years. Rod Barnes and Sean Tuohy also did so. Harrison would also join Barnes and Tuohy as the only Rebels to pass out over 400 assists in a career. The following lists the Rebels' career assists leaders:
Rebel Career Assists Leaders
HARRISON LOOKS TO JOIN ELITE REBEL CLUB: With 12 more points and six more assists, Jason Harrison will reach both the 1,000-point and 400-assists milestones. When he does, the Little Rock, Ark., native will be only the second player in Rebel basketball history to reach the two plateaus and also record over 150 steals in a career. Rod Barnes, Ole Miss' current head coach, is the other. The following compares the two:
OLE MISS SECOND MOST WINS SINCE 1996-97: The Rebels have, indeed, been one of the Southeastern Conference's most successful teams in recent years - especially since 1996-97. Ole Miss has won 125 games (overall games) since 1996-97, the most by any SEC Western Division team. The 125 victories are also second among all league teams, only trailing Kentucky's 159 wins. The following charts show the Rebels' success (including the 2001-02 season):
Most Overall/SEC Wins By SEC West Teams
Most Overall/SEC Wins By SEC Teams (Top 6)
REBELS SECOND ON WEST TITLES LIST: The Rebels clinched the Southeastern Conference Western Division title outright in 2000-01, and it was the program's third SEC Western Division championship in the last five years. Since the league went to the two-division format in 1991-92, the Rebels have won the second-most SEC West titles. The following chart shows the SEC Western Division champions (outright and shared titles):
SEC Western Division Team Titles Years Arkansas 4 1992-93-94-95 Ole Miss 3 1997-98-2001 Mississippi State 2 1995-96 Auburn 1 1999 LSU 1 2000
REED LEADS NATION IN FREE THROW SHOOTING IMPROVEMENT: It's the goal of every player to improve his game throughout his career. In the case of sophomore Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.), he had to work on his free throw shooting after the 2000-01 season. And worked on it, he did.
As of Jan. 28, the Rebels' 6-foot-8 forward had made the nation's biggest improvement at the free throw line. Last season, Reed shot 54.9 percent from the charity stripe, but this year, he is hitting 79.4 percent which is a difference of 24.5 percent (as of Jan. 28). Reed is now shooting 80.2 percent from the line. The following lists the top five players with biggest improvements from the foul line in the nation:
Best Improvement in FT Pct.
REED NEARING 700: Justin Reed is moving on up the chart - the scoring chart, that is. After his 21-point performance versus Auburn Jan. 9, the Jackson, Miss., native went over 600 points for his career and is closing in on the 700-point plateau. He now has 692 career points. Earlier this season, Reed eclipsed the 500-point plateau with his 17 points against Memphis. Last year, the 2001 Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year netted 385 points, and has 307 in 2001-02. He is leading the team in scoring (14.6 ppg) and is second on the squad in rebounding (6.1 rpg).
Reed's 385 points last season were the third most by a freshman in Ole Miss history. Joe Harvell (395 points, 1990) and Tim Jumper (394 points, 1988) were the only two to score more than Reed in their freshmen campaigns.
REED AMONG FIRST TWO-YEAR SCORING LEADERS: With Justin Reed nearing the 700-point plateau this year, the 6-foot-8 forward is moving up the chart for most points scored in the first two years in a Rebel uniform. The following chart shows the top first two-year scorers in Ole Miss history:
& played only 2 years
* did not play as freshmen because freshmen were not eligible to play varsity ball
# played only 1 year
$ played only 3 years
BARNES GETS WIN NO. 80: Rod Barnes posted his 80th victory as head coach at Ole Miss with the Rebels' 70-64 victory at Arkansas Jan. 19. He has a current record of 83-39, and reached the 80-win plateau the fastest of any coach in Rebel basketball history. His 83 victories are tied for the fourth most by a head coach in Ole Miss basketball history. The following lists the winningest coaches in Rebel history:
BARNES GETS ANOTHER "FIRST": As if he hasn't done enough in his short tenure as head coach of the Ole Miss basketball program, Rod Barnes achieved another "first" with the Rebels' 70-64 victory at Arkansas Jan. 19. With that win, Barnes earned his 80th as head coach and is the first Rebel mentor to average 20 victories per season in the program's history.
REBELS IN CLOSE CALLS: While the Ole Miss fans may not enjoy the nailbiters this season, the Rebels are proving they can be successful in games decided by single digits. Ole Miss is 6-3 in contests decided by less than 10 points this year, including victories over versus Auburn (69-65), No. 22-ranked Mississippi State (66-59) and Arkansas (70-64). Last year, the Rebels had a 14-3 mark in games decided by single digits.
Georgia is 7-3 in games decided by less than 10 points this season.
THE REBELS' NEW SIXTH-MAN: The last three years, Jason Harrison was the Rebels' "super-sub," thriving in the role of Ole Miss' sixth-man. With Harrison moving into the starting lineup, head coach Rod Barnes has been looking for someone to become the Rebels' sixth-man, and Emmanuel Wade (Marianna, Ark.) may be taking over that role.
In Ole Miss' last 14 games, the Marianna, Ark., native is averaging 8.9 points and 3.9 rebounds, while shooting 83.3 percent from the charity stripe (30-of-36). He also has 19 assists, 20 steals and three blocks in the last 14 contests.
He also has come up big for the Rebels during the 14-game stretch, hitting the game-clinching free throws to seal the 71-67 victory over Memphis Dec. 7 and recording five steals in the SunClassic Tournament Dec. 21-22.
Wade scored five straight points (trey, 2 FTs) during a 10-2 second half run versus Mississippi State Jan. 12 that helped propel the Rebels to victory. In Ole Miss' 70-64 victory at Arkansas, Wade came alive in the second half, scoring all eight of his points and grabbing four rebounds after the intermission. Against LSU Jan. 23, he grabbed a career-high tying six rebounds.
In the Rebels' victory over Vanderbilt Jan. 30, Wade came off the bench to record 14 points, two rebounds, two assists and three steals. He hit the key three-pointer to break a 49-all tie and begin a 14-5 run that gave Ole Miss control of the contest.
"TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS" OFF THE COURT: One of Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes' favorite lines is "take care of your business." Well, the Rebels did it once again in the classroom. Three Rebels - sophomores Aaron Harper (Jackson, Miss.) and Justin Reed and freshman Spence Shutt (Savannah, Tenn.) - made the University of Mississippi Athletic Association (UMAA) Honor Roll (3.00-3.49 gpa) for the fall semester. In the spring of 2001, seven Ole Miss players made one of the University's three honor rolls (Chancellor's, Dean's, UMAA).
REBELS HAVE BALANCED ATTACK: In 2001-02, the Rebels are showing their opponents they have a multi-offensive attack. Ole Miss has four players averaging double figures with Justin Reed at 14.6 ppg, David Sanders (Jackson, Miss.) at 11.6 ppg, Aaron Harper at 11.2 ppg, and Jason Harrison at 10.6 ppg. Derrick Allen (Gadsden, Ala.) is just under double figures at 9.7 ppg.
In 16 of their 21 games this year, the Rebels have had at least four players score in double figures. Ole Miss has a 13-3 record in those games.
MAYBE WE SHOULD START HIM: Coaches often have tough decisions when making the starting lineup, but this one may not be that difficult. Junior forward Richard Kirklin (Pine Bluff, Ark.) made his first Southeastern Conference start of the season in the Rebels' victory over LSU Jan. 23. The 6-foot-9 forward has started seven games in his Ole Miss career, and the Rebels are 7-0 in those contests, including 5-0 in SEC games.
WAS IT DEJA VU FOR HARPER?: The Rebels' three-game homestand from Jan. 23-30 was not only be a good sign for the entire Rebel team, but also for sophomore Aaron Harper. The following reveals how the three-game homestands in 2000-01 and 2001-02 looked very similar for the 6-foot-7 guard/forward:
HITTING THE GLASS BY COMMITTEE: Entering the 2001-02 season, Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes knew his Rebels had to make up for its lack of inside presence. He challenged his off-guard trio of juniors David Sanders and Emmanuel Wade and sophomore Aaron Harper to improve their numbers on the boards, and they have responded. All three players have increased their rebounding production from last year, and the following shows that:
AT THE HEAD OF THE CLASS(ES): Well, Jason Harrison is only one player, but he is the 2002 Rebel senior class. And, he is closing in the record for most victories by a class in a four-year span. After the Rebels' victory over Vanderbilt Jan. 30, this year's senior class has 83 victories, which is five shy of the record of 88 wins set by the 2001 seniors (Jason Flanigan, Rahim Lockhart, Jason Holmes and John Engstrom). The 2001-02 senior class has also been a part of the 2001 SEC Western Division championship squad and has been to three straight postseasons (2 NCAA, 1 NIT). The following chart lists the most successful classes in Ole Miss history:
HARPER HITTING THE CLUTCH TREY: Sophomore Aaron Harper's touch from the three-point arc has been coming back in recent games, but no matter if he has been "on" or "off" from the arc, he seems to hit the key three-pointers when the Rebels need it most. The following illustrates Harper's key threes in recent games:
BOMBS AWAY!, HARPER CLIMBING CHART: Sophomore Aaron Harper is the Rebels' primary three-point shooter, and so far in 2001-02, he is living up to that reputation. The 6-foot-7 guard/forward has hit 52 treys this year and is moving up the Ole Miss career three-pointers chart. The following shows the career leaders for the Rebels:
Rebel Career Three-Pointers
TIP-INS... Saturday's game may come down to which team gets in done on the foul line. Both teams are ranked in the top three in the SEC in free throw shooting, with Ole Miss first (74 percent) and Georgia third (73 percent) ... David Sanders was perfect from the field and foul line versus Vanderbilt (5-of-5 FG, 1-of-1 3-pt. FG, 4-of-4 FT). It was the 13th time (eight different players) this year that a Rebel has had a perfect shooting game ... Ole Miss has had some success in the month of February in recent seasons, but the 2001-02 Rebels enjoyed January as well. Ole Miss finished the first month of 2002 with a 7-2 record, the best mark in the month since the 1951-52 team also posted a 7-2 January record.
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