Rebels Take On Auburn Saturday Afternoon

Feb. 2, 2001

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Ole Miss (16-4, 4-3) vs. Auburn (13-8, 3-5)
Saturday, February 3, 2001 - 1:00 p.m. (CT)
Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum - Auburn, Ala.

Television: None
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play, Sean Tuohy, color analyst, Stan Sandroni, pregame/halftime/postgame host)

The Ole Miss Rebels (16-4, 4-3 SEC) will be on the road again Saturday, Feb. 3 when they travel to Auburn, Ala., for a Southeastern Conference showdown versus the Tigers (13-8, 3-5 SEC). The game is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. (CT). Ole Miss, which is No. 26 in the "Also Receiving Votes" category of both polls, bounced back after its loss at Mississippi State (Jan. 27) with an 84-73 win over Arkansas Wednesday. Auburn defeated Mississippi State, 60-56 Wednesday.

Rod Barnes is in his third season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. He has an overall record of 55-31 (.640 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).

OLE MISS-AUBURN SERIES Saturday's game will the 101st meeting between the two schools, with the Tigers holding an all-time series lead of 62-38. The series began in 1927. Last year, the teams split their two meetings, with Ole Miss winning 79-77 (ot) in Oxford and the Tigers winning 75-72 in Auburn. The Tigers have a commanding 41-7 series lead in games played in Auburn, and are 27-5 versus the Rebels at Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. The last time the Rebels won in Auburn was in the 1996-97 campaign, a 71-63 win on Mar. 1, 1997. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 1-3 versus Auburn and 0-2 against the Tigers in Auburn.

The Tigers enter Saturday's game with a 13-8 overall record and a 3-5 Southeastern Conference mark. Auburn posted a 60-56 win over Mississippi State Wednesday after suffering two close setbacks to Florida (65-63) and Alabama (81-80). Sophomore guard Marquis Daniels leads three Tigers averaging in double figures at 16.4 ppg. Sophomore transfer Adam Harrington (15.6 ppg) and senior Scott Pohlman (13.0 ppg) are also averaging double digits. Jamison Brewer leads the team on the boards with a 7.4 average. Auburn players top the SEC statistical charts in assists, steals and blocked shots. Brewer leads the league in assists (6.81 apg), while Daniels is at the top of the conference in steals (2.48 spg). Kyle Davis is the league's top shot blocker at 2.32 bpg. Auburn is shooting 47.3 percent from the field, 33.2 percent from the three-point arc and 63.7 percent from the foul line. The Tigers are out-rebounding their opponents by an average of 3.6 boards per game (39.6-36.0).

For the Rebels, January was a month on the road. In January, Ole Miss played three home games and four road contests. The Rebels were one of four Southeastern Conference teams - Arkansas, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee - to play only three home league games in January.

Saturday's contest will be the fifth road game for Ole Miss in Southeastern Conference play. The Rebels are only one of two SEC squads to have played five of their first eight league games on the road. Vanderbilt is the other team. In its first four SEC road contests, Ole Miss is 2-2.

After hitting only 29.7 percent from the field versus Mississippi State Jan. 27, the Rebels responded with a hot shooting performance from the field in their victory over Arkansas Wednesday. Ole Miss hit 60 percent from the field (24-of-40) in the victory over the Razorbacks.

It was the first time the Rebels shot 60 percent or better from the field since they hit 61.2 percent (30-of-49) in an 87-82 win over Arkansas last year (Feb. 2, 2000). In fact, Ole Miss shot better than 60 percent from the field in three games last year-63 percent versus Southeastern Louisiana, 62 percent versus Birmingham-Southern and 61.2 percent versus Arkansas. All three were Ole Miss wins.

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 64.1 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 seven SEC games, Harrison is hitting 56 percent from the arc (14-of-25).

Saturday's game at Auburn will be Ole Miss' first non-televised contest since the Rebels played at Arkansas Jan. 10. Ole Miss played five straight games on television from Jan. 13 through Jan 31 (Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Arkansas). The Rebels have 14 scheduled television appearances in 2000-01. This season, Ole Miss is 9-4 in television games. The Rebels have appeared on television over 40 times the past four seasons.

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 102. Up next for Harrison is Joezon Darby (1996-98), who is No. 3 with 131 career treys. This season, Harrison is shooting 48.1 percent from the three-point line.

All players have their ups and downs during a season, and senior Jason Flanigan (Little Rock, Ark.) is no different. Flanigan, who also goes by the nickname "Buck," had his down spell from Jan. 10 through Jan. 20, but has returned to his old form in the Rebels' last two games.

After scoring 14 points versus Vanderbilt Jan. 6, the 6-foot-1 guard went into a shooting funk, hitting only 4-of-19 from the field in the next four games. However, Flanigan has bounced back in the Rebels' last two contests versus Mississippi State and Arkansas. He shot 5-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-8 from the arc, in the two games. His three treys also came at key moments in the two games.

Despite his shooting woes in that four-game stretch, Flanigan is still hitting 45.9 percent from the field and 43.1 percent from the arc for the season.

After averaging only 6.3 points in the Rebels' first four league games, Jason Harrison, also known as "Little Man," has stepped up big lately. In Ole Miss' last three Southeastern Conference contests, Harrison is averaging 15.0 points, 3.0 boards and 5.0 assists. The 5-foot-5 guard hit 41.4 percent from the field and 56.3 percent from the arc in the last three contests versus Kentucky (Jan. 20), Mississippi State (Jan. 27) and Arkansas (Jan. 31).

Talk about getting over an injury. Ole Miss' David Sanders (Jackson, Miss.) got over his left sprained ankle in a big way Wednesday against the Razorbacks. The 6-foot-3 guard scored a career-high 19 points on 6-of-6 shooting from the field, including 1-of-1 from the arc, and 6-of-8 from the charity stripe. He also had three boards and three steals in the win.

Prior to his career-high performance versus Arkansas, Sanders had been suffering from a left sprained ankle which he injured in the Georgia game Jan. 13. In the three league games prior to the injury, he was averaging 8.0 points and playing outstanding defense. In the games from Jan. 17 through Jan. 27 after the injury, Sanders averaged only 5.3 points and was limited in his lateral movement on the defensive end.

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 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. 31, the 2000-01 senior class has 77 wins, the most victories by a class in a four-year span. The 77 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).

After a slow start in conference play, senior Rahim Lockhart (Mendenhall, Miss.) has been on a roll for the Rebels in their last four games versus Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Arkansas. In those four contests, Lockhart averaged 13 points and 7.5 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. He had 13 points and four rebounds in the win over Arkansas. In SEC action (seven games), Lockhart is averaging 10.9 points and 6.7 rebounds.

Shooters are known to lose and then regain their shot during a season. But, in the case of freshman Aaron Harper (Jackson, Miss.), he never really lost his shot. His shots just didn't seem to want to fall.

That, however, changed in the Rebels' win over the Razorbacks Wednesday. The 6-foot-7 guard hit 4-of-10 from the field and 3-of-7 from the three-point arc. Harper hit two key treys in a second-half run for Ole Miss which turned a 48-41 Arkansas lead into a 62-51 Rebel advantage. He also grabbed five boards in the win.

In the two games prior to Arkansas, Harper was 1-of-10 from the floor and 1-of-6 from the arc. But again, over half of his shots were on target, but rattled in and out of the basket.

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.

Rahim Lockhart is nearing 1,000, and it's a good thing. The 6-foot-8 forward has 963 points and needs only 37 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 seven SEC games, Reed has netted double figures in six 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 66.3 percent from the foul line for the season (11th in the SEC), 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 (both games) and Kentucky, the Rebels shot 73.1 percent from the line (87-of-119) 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 81-9 record (.900 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 10-0 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.

Senior Rahim Lockhart recorded a career-best five blocked shots versus Memphis Dec. 9. After his one block versus Arkansas Jan. 31, he now has 116 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 672 career rebounds, after grabbing four boards versus Arkansas Jan. 31. Lockhart is in the No. 9 spot on the Ole Miss career rebounding list, and needs 26 more rebounds to take over the No. 8 spot currently held by Sean Murphy (1988-91, 697 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 three games versus Kentucky, Mississippi State and Arkansas, the Rebels are shooting 40.7 percent from the three-point arc (24-of-59).

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 55-31. 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 2.8 rebounds per contest this season (56 total boards), and has already surpassed his rebound total (44) of a year ago.

Jason Harrison was one assist shy of tying his career high versus Arkansas. He had eight assists versus the Razorbacks...Saturday's game will have the two worst free throw shooting teams in the SEC, with Ole Miss 11th and Auburn 12th...Jason Flanigan's brother, Wes, was an All-SEC guard at Auburn. Wes is currently serving as an assistant coach at Northwest (Miss.) C.C. in Senatobia, Miss.



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