Rebels Go For Sweep Of Homestand, 20th Win Of Season

Feb. 13, 2001

Mississippi goes for an important trifecta in Wednesday's game against SEC archrival Mississippi State - a sweep of its three-game homestand, its 20th win of the season and a split of the series against the Bulldogs.

The 14th-ranked Rebels (19-4, 7-3 SEC West) lead the West division by one-half game over Alabama and close the season at home against the Crimson Tide. Mississippi has won four straight games and has been impressive in the first two games of this homestand.

The Rebels routed LSU 50-33 last Wednesday before defeating then-No. 10 Tennessee 87-71 on Saturday. Aaron Harper scored a combined 39 points in those victories for Mississippi, which is looking to record its second 20-win season in three years under coach Rod Barnes.

Mississippi has the second-best record in the SEC behind Kentucky and has been the biggest surprise of the conference. The Rebels were picked to finish near the bottom of the West Division in the preseason but are closing in on their third division title in the last five years.

"What we're trying to do is win the whole thing - the SEC title," said guard Jason Flanigan, who had five points and six assists Saturday. "Then we want to go to the Final Four."

Mississippi State (12-9, 3-7 West) has proven to be a stubborn opponent for Mississippi.

The Bulldogs have won the last four games between the teams, including a 79-69 victory at Starkville, Miss., on Jan. 27. Tang Hamilton scored 16 points and Guy Gardner added 10 off the bench for Mississippi State in a game that featured 57 fouls.

Coach Rick Stansbury's team is 0-5 on the road in SEC action and trying to bounce back from Saturday's 76-57 loss at Kentucky. Mario Austin had 14 points for the Bulldogs, who had 29 offensive rebounds but shot just 26.7 percent from the field. They went 0-for-19 from 3-point range.

"If we can't hit shots on the road, we can't win," Stansbury said. "We had 29 offensive rebounds, but we probably didn't score on five of those."

Mississippi State leads the all-time series 122-99.

 

 

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