Ole Miss Takes On South Carolina

Feb. 15, 2001

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The Ole Miss Rebels (20-4, 8-3 SEC) return to the road Saturday, Feb. 17 when they travel to Columbia, S.C., to meet the South Carolina Gamecocks (13-9, 5-6 SEC). The game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (CT). Ole Miss, ranked No. 16 in the Associated Press poll and No. 19 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, won its fifth straight game with a nail-biting 51-48 victory over Mississippi State Feb. 14. After winning two straight SEC games over Georgia and Vanderbilt, the Gamecocks fell at Alabama, 60-55 Wednesday.

Game #25
16/19 Ole Miss (20-4, 8-3) vs. South Carolina (13-9, 5-6)
Saturday, February 17, 2001 ? 6:30 p.m. (CT) tip
Frank McGuire Arena ? Columbia, S.C.

Rebels on Television and Radio


Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play, Sean Tuohy, color analyst, Stan Sandroni, pregame/halftime/postgame host)

Rod Barnes is in his third season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. He has an overall record of 59-31 (.656 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).

Saturday's game will be the 14th time the two schools have faced each other. South Carolina holds a 7-6 edge in the series. Last year, Ole Miss posted an 83-75 victory in Oxford on Feb. 9, 2000 (see game recap and boxscore on page 5). The Gamecocks hold a 4-0 series lead in games played in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina won the last meeting in Columbia, a 67-66 victory on Jan. 27, 1999 (1998-99 season). The two schools met only one time prior to South Carolina joining the Southeastern Conference in the 1991-92 season. The two teams played in the Gulf-South Tournament in the 1960-61 season, with the Gamecocks taking an 85-79 decision. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 1-1 versus South Carolina and 0-1 against the Gamecocks in Columbia.

The Gamecocks enter Saturday's game with a 13-9 overall record and a 5-6 Southeastern Conference mark. South Carolina has a 3-2 record in its last five games, with victories over LSU (68-56), Georgia (77-75) and Vanderbilt (70-65). The Gamecocks dropped a 60-55 decision at Alabama Feb. 14. Of its six league losses, four have been by eight points or less. The junior backcourt tandem of Aaron Lucas and Jamel Bradley lead the Gamecock offense. Lucas is the squad's top scorer at 11.3 ppg, while Bradley is second at 11.0 ppg. Tony Kitchings and Antonio Grant, this week's SEC Player of the Week, lead South Carolina on the boards with rebounding averages of 6.8 and 6.2, respectively. Kitchings is the squad's top field goal shooter at 51.9 percent, while Bradley is the top three-point threat, hitting 33.5 percent from the arc. Lucas leads the team with 95 assists and is ranked fourth in the SEC in that statistical category. South Carolina is shooting 40 percent from the field, 28.3 percent from the three-point line and 68.4 percent from the charity stripe. The Gamecock defense is holding its opponents to 66.5 points per game, which is fifth best in the SEC.

After a much-needed, three-game homestand, Ole Miss takes to the road again for two straight league games at South Carolina Feb. 17 and at Florida Feb. 21. The Rebels played five of their first eight conference games on the road, and posted a 3-2 record in those contests. Ole Miss was one of only two SEC squads to play five of their first eight league games on the road. Vanderbilt was the other team. The Rebels will now close regular-season play with three of their final five games on the road.

When the Rebels and Gamecocks meet Saturday, the game could be a defensive struggle. Both teams rank among the top five in the league in scoring defense, with Ole Miss first (62.7 ppg) and South Carolina fifth (66.5 ppg).

Talk about homecourt advantage in a series. Well, the Ole Miss-South Carolina series is all about that. The Gamecocks have never lost to Ole Miss in Columbia, holding a 4-0 series lead. On the other hand, the Rebels have defeated the Gamecocks in all five meetings (5-0 record) in Oxford.

With his 15-point performance in the Rebels' victory over Mississippi State Feb. 14, senior Rahim Lockhart (Mendenhall, Miss.) became the latest member to join the Ole Miss 1,000-point club. The 6-foot-8 forward has 1,009 points and is No. 25 on the Rebel career scoring chart. Lockhart needs 32 points to move past Denver Brackeen (1953-55, 1,040 points) into the No. 24 spot on the career scoring chart.

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 701 career rebounds, after grabbing eight boards versus Mississippi State Feb. 14. Lockhart is in the No. 7 spot on the Ole Miss career rebounding list, and needs 29 more rebounds to take over the No. 6 spot currently held by Fred Cox (1972-74, 729 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.

When senior Rahim Lockhart reached the 1,000-point and 700-rebound milestones, he became only the seventh player in Rebel basketball history to do so. The other players (points, rebounds) are: Walter Actwood (1,216, 945), Coolidge Ball (1,072, 754), Fred Cox (1,105, 729), Joe Gibbon (1,601, 827), John Stroud (2,328, 826), and Elston Turner (1,805, 828).

The 2000-01 Rebels posted their 20th victory with a 51-48 win over Mississippi State, marking the fastest any team in Ole Miss basketball history has reached the 20-win plateau in a season. The 2000-01 team recorded its 20th win in only 24 games. The previous quickest climb to 20 victories was by the 1936-37 and 1997-98 squads. Both teams reached 20 wins in their 25th games.

The Rebels won their 20th game of the season with a 51-48 victory over Mississippi State Feb. 14. It is the fourth time in the last five seasons that Ole Miss has won 20 or more games. The 1996-97 (20-9 record), 1997-98 (22-7) and 1998-99 (20-13) also posted 20-win campaigns.

In its history, Ole Miss has had six 20-win teams. They were 1936-37 (20-6), 1937-38 (22-12), 1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99 and 2000-01.

Ole Miss is the first team in the SEC to reach the 20-win plateau in the 2000-01 season. The Rebels are 20-4 and are the only 20-victory squad in the Southeastern Conference.

This is the third time in the program's history that Ole Miss has been the first SEC squad to reach 20 wins. The 1936-37 (20-6 record) and 1937-38 (22-12 record) teams also were first among SEC schools to reach the magic number of 20 wins in a season. In fact, the 1936-37 and 1937-38 Ole Miss teams were the only 20-win squads in the SEC those two seasons.

The 2000-01 Rebels are sure making their mark in Ole Miss basketball history, and they are continuing to climb up the single-season victory chart. Ole Miss has a current record of 20-4, and the 20 wins are tied for the third most in Rebel basketball history. The school record for most victories in a season is 22 by the 1937-38 and 1997-98 teams.

No, Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is not nearing his 60th birthday (not even close for the 35-year-old, by the way). Barnes is closing in on 60 victories for his career. He has a current record of 59-31.

Earlier this season, Barnes won his 50th game as Ole Miss head coach with the Rebels' 84-83 overtime victory over No. 13-ranked Southern Cal Dec. 22. Barnes reached the 50-win plateau the third fastest of any coach in Rebel history. George Bohler and Homer Hazel were the only two coaches in Ole Miss history to reach the milestone faster.

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 62.7 points per game, which leads the SEC.

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 10 opponents under 60 points, including four SEC teams. The Rebels held Arkansas (53-48 Ole Miss win) Jan. 10, Kentucky (65-55 Ole Miss win) Jan. 20, LSU (50-33 Ole Miss win) Feb. 7 and Mississippi State (51-48 Ole Miss win) Feb. 14 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.

Ole Miss has a reputation for playing tough, 'in-your-face' defense. Lately, the Rebels have not only been in their opponents' faces but also their passing lanes. In Ole Miss' last seven games (6-1 record), the Rebels have forced their opponents into 150 turnovers (21.4 per game). In its first four conference games, Ole Miss forced only 54 turnovers (13.5 per contest).

On the offensive end of the floor, the Rebels have taken better care of the ball the last four games with only 42 turnovers (10.5 per game).

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 83-9 record (.902 winning percentage) when it scores 70 points or more. On the other hand, the Rebels are 17-38 when they net less than 70 points during that five-year period (including 2000-01). This season, Ole Miss has a 12-0 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 8-4 this year when scoring less than 70 points.

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 Mississippi State Feb. 14, the 2000-01 senior class has 81 wins, the most victories by a class in a four-year span. The 81 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).

The 2000-01 senior class set the record for most wins in a four-year span earlier this year, breaking the previous record of 74 victories. Now, the senior class has accomplished another first in Rebel history. With Ole Miss' victory over Tennessee Feb. 10, this class posted its 80th victory and is the first three or four-year senior class to average 20 victories per season.

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 65.3 percent from the foul line for the season (11th in the SEC), but more importantly, the Rebels are hitting their foul shots when they count. In their wins over Sam Houston State, VCU, Oklahoma, Memphis, Southern Illinois, Southern Cal, Vanderbilt, Arkansas (both games), Kentucky, Auburn, Tennessee and Mississippi State (second game), the Rebels shot 74.1 percent from the line (109-of-147) in the final four minutes (and overtime) of those games.

Call them 'Cardiac Kids' or maybe even 'Comeback Kids,' the Rebels have proven they can be resilient when they are down in games this season. Ole Miss pulled off another comeback Feb. 14 in its 51-48 victory Mississippi State. Trailing 38-31 with 11:47 to go, the Rebels started the comeback. A 9-2 run over the next five minutes tied the contest at 40-all. Freshman Josh Hayes (Little Rock, Ark.) began the run with the Rebels' first three-pointer of the game, and Jason Flanigan tied the contest with two free throws at the 6:02 mark. After trading hoops over the next four minutes, Jason Harrison (Little Rock, Ark.) put Ole Miss ahead for good, 49-47 on a layup with 1:09 left en route to the victory.

The Rebels did the same against Auburn Feb. 3. Down 52-43 with under 11 minutes to play, Ole Miss began its comeback. Over the next six minutes, the Rebels outscored Auburn, 17-7 to take a 60-59 lead with 5:14 left in the game. Ole Miss went on to win the contest, 74-70.

Three days earlier (Jan. 31), the Rebels put together another comeback versus Arkansas. Down 48-41 with 13 minutes left, Ole Miss went on a 21-3 run to take a 62-51 lead en route to the 84-73 victory over the Razorbacks.

In their win over Southern Cal Dec. 22, the Rebels overcame a 77-71 deficit in the final 1:30 to tie the game at 78-all and send the contest into overtime. Ole Miss won the game, 84-83.

It's ironic that the shortest player on the floor comes up 'big' in crucial times for the Rebels, but that is the case when junior Jason Harrison is on the floor late in games. In Ole Miss' Feb. 14 win over Mississippi State, the 5-foot-5 guard hit a key trey to put the Rebels ahead 47-46 with 2:12 left in the game. He then hit a layup with 1:09 remaining to give Ole Miss the lead for good at 49-47.

But, this wasn't the first time Harrison has played 'big' for Ole Miss. He hit a career-high four three-pointers in the Rebels' 65-55 win over Kentucky Jan. 20. Harrison also helped lead the Rebels to wins over Southern Cal and Sam Houston State earlier this year.

As a freshman in 1998-99, Harrison sealed victories from the foul line against Oklahoma (Dec. 22, 1998) and Arkansas (Jan. 9, 1999).

The last five seasons, 70 has been a special number for Ole Miss because when the Rebels score 70 or more points, they usually win. Well, the Rebels now have another magic number?five, as in five double figure scorers.

In their two wins over Arkansas (Jan. 31) and Auburn (Feb. 3), the Rebels had five players net double figures. This season, the Rebels are 3-0 when they have five or more players post double figures.

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.

In the Rebels' Feb. 10 win over Tennessee, freshman Aaron Harper (Jackson, Miss.) was en fuego?on fire. He torched the nets, scoring a career-high 23 points. The 6-foot-7 guard also posted career bests of seven field goals and five three-pointers. He hit a three-pointer in the opening minute versus the Volunteers to give Ole Miss a 7-0 lead, and then closed the first half with an eight-point flurry to increase the Rebel advantage to 46-28.

Harper had the hot-shooting hand for the Rebels in the four games (all Ole Miss wins) prior to the Feb. 14 contest versus Mississippi State. He scored in double figures in all four games and averaged 16.5 points during that span.

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

That, however, changed in the Rebels' four wins over Arkansas Jan. 31, Auburn Feb. 3, LSU Feb. 7 and Tennessee Feb. 10. The 6-foot-7 guard hit 21-of-47 from the field (44.7 percent) and 14-of-32 from the three-point arc (43.8 percent) in those four games.

Against the Razorbacks, Harper hit two key treys in a second-half run which turned a 48-41 Arkansas lead into a 62-51 Rebel advantage. He grabbed five boards in the win over Arkansas.

Harper also aided in the Rebels' comeback at Auburn Feb. 3. His back-to-back three-pointers during a 17-7 second-half run tied the game at 56-all with 6:37 left. Harper's dunk with 1:09 left gave Ole Miss the lead for good at 68-67, and he hit two free throws with :46 left to extend the Rebels' lead to three points at 70-67.

Harper exploded for 16 points in Ole Miss' victory over LSU Feb. 7. He also had four assists, one block and one steal. Harper followed the LSU game with a career-high performance versus Tennessee (see previous note).

In the two games prior to Arkansas (Jan. 31), 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.

All players have their ups and downs during a season, and senior Jason Flanigan 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 five 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 (21.1 percent) in the next four games. However, Flanigan has bounced back in the Rebels' last six contests versus Mississippi State (both games), Arkansas, Auburn LSU and Tennessee. In the last five games (all Ole Miss victories), Flanigan averaged 6.8 points, 3.8 boards and 3.6 assists.

After earning a start in the Rebels' victory at Vanderbilt Jan. 6, sophomore Richard Kirklin (Pine Bluff, Ark.) had been heard from very little the last month. Well, the 6-foot-9 forward broke out again in Ole Miss' win over Tennessee Feb. 10. He scored six points on 2-of-2 shooting >from the arc and grabbed two boards.

As in games past, Kirklin's three-pointers came at key moments for Ole Miss against Tennessee. His first-half trey halted a 6-0 Volunteer run (cut 13-6 Ole Miss lead to 13-12) and extended the Rebels' lead to 16-12. Kirklin's second-half trey kept the momentun going for the Rebels, increasing the Ole Miss advantage from 50-37 to 53-37.

Junior Jason Harrison 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 11 SEC games, Harrison is hitting 47.1 percent from the arc (16-of-34).

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 104. Up next for Harrison is Joezon Darby (1996-98), who is No. 3 with 131 career treys. This season, Harrison is shooting 44.3 percent from the three-point line.

Where Clark Kent uses a telephone booth to change into comic-book hero 'Superman,' Rebel freshman Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.) used the halftime break in Ole Miss' two games versus Arkansas (Jan. 31) and Auburn (Feb. 3) to do the same.

Against the Razorbacks, the 6-foot-8 forward had no points and one board in the first half, but exploded in the second half with 12 points and five rebounds. Reed finished the Arkansas game with 12 points (4-of-5 FG, 4-of-5 FT) and six boards. Six of Reed's 12 points came in a second-half stretch in which Ole Miss turned a 48-41 deficit into a 62-51 lead (21-3 run).

In the Rebels' win over Auburn, Reed had only three points and two rebounds at the break, but posted 13 points, three boards and four steals in the second half. Reed finished the contest with 16 points, five rebounds and a career-high seven steals. He netted eight of his 16 points during a second-half run that turned a 52-43 deficit into a 60-59 lead. Reed also hit the game-clinching free throw with :05 left to seal the win.

Although he didn't put up the numbers in the scoring column versus LSU Feb. 7, Reed had a solid all-around game in the second half. After the intermission, Reed grabbed seven of his team-high nine boards and also had three steals. He finished the LSU game with six points, nine rebounds, and four steals (no turnovers).

Sophomore Emmanuel Wade (Marianna, Ark.) has proven to be 'da man' for the Rebels in the second half of three Southeastern Conference games this season.

His first big second-half performance came in the Rebels' victory over Arkansas Jan. 10. The 6-foot-3 guard, who also goes by the nickname '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 had another huge second half in the Rebels' win over Kentucky Jan. 20. He netted five of his nine points in the second half versus the Wildcats, including a hoop at the 3:57 mark to extend the Rebels' lead to 55-46.

In the win at Auburn, Wade played inspired ball in the second half after having no stats at halftime. He had seven points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals in the second half versus Auburn. All of his seven points against the Tigers came in the opening minutes of the second half, keeping the Rebels within striking distance.

Just call Justin Reed 'Mr. Swipe'?especially in the Rebels' victory at Auburn Feb. 3. Reed recorded a career-high seven steals against the Tigers. The seven steals are tied for the third most in a single game in Ole Miss history. The Ole Miss record is eight steals by Gerald Glass (vs. Christian Brothers, Nov. 2, 1988) and Eric Laird (vs. DePaul, Mar. 25, 1983) The 6-foot-8 forward has 32 steals for the season.

They say the big players step up in 'primetime.' Well, there's nothing more 'primetime' than SEC play, and freshman Justin Reed is making his presence known in the league. In 11 SEC games, Reed has netted double figures in eight contests, including a career-high 21 points versus Georgia Jan. 13. The 6-foot-8 forward is averaging 11.9 points (leads team) and 5.8 boards (second on team) in SEC games only.

The Rebels hit only two three-pointers versus Mississippi State Feb. 14. The last time Ole Miss hit two or fewer treys was last year in a 77-65 win at Alabama State (2-of-9, Dec. 1, 1999)...Rahim Lockhart is 10 steals away >from 150 for his career. If he reaches 150 steals, he would be the only player in Rebel history to have at least 1,000 points, 700 rebounds, 100 blocks and 150 steals.



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