100 YEARS FLASHBACK: Ole Miss - Notre Dame 2001

As part of this season's celebration of the First 100 years of Ole Miss Basketball, OleMissSports.com will be featuring stories and exclusive content throughout the year that look back on some of the great moments, teams and players of the past. The celebration will culminate with the public introduction of the All-Century Team at Saturday's Georgia game.

From 1997 through 2001, Ole Miss was the SEC Western Division's most successful club, topping the West in victories and capturing three division titles. However, all the regular season success had not translated into glory in The Big Dance. That is, until 2001, when the tourney's smallest player provided the program's biggest moment. The following is the Clarion Ledger account of March 18, 2001.

Rebs Make Sweet 16

By Robert Falkoff
Clarion Ledger

KANSAS CITY, Mo. It may not have been the shot heard around the world, but it was certainly the shot heard around Mississippi.

Leave it to 5-foot-5 Jason Harrison to hit what was arguably the biggest basket in Ole Miss history.

With the chance to secure his school’s first Sweet 16 berth hanging in the balance, Harrison delivered a 23-foot bomb with 46 seconds remaining that exploded in Notre Dame’s face Sunday and lifted the Rebels to a 59-56 victory.

The Rebels are headed to San Antonio Friday for a matchup against Arizona. Notre Dame is headed home to ponder the notion that dynamite comes in small packages.

“The little man did it again,” Ole Miss guard Jason Flanigan marveled. “We hadn’t made outside shots all day, but Jason knocked down the one we needed most.”

Harrison’s 3-pointer over Martin Ingelsby with the shot clock running down erased a 55-54 Notre Dame lead.

Two years earlier, in a similar situation, Harrison had drilled a dramatic trey that pushed Ole Miss ahead of Michigan State by three in the last five minutes of a second-round NCAA Tournament game. But Mateen Cleaves quickly answered with a trey, and the Spartans went on to win.

“That shot against Michigan State crossed my mind when I made this one,” Harrison said. “This time, there wasn’t a Cleaves answer, thank goodness.”

Ole Miss, 27-7, led 58-56 when David Sanders was fouled with 18.5 seconds left. Sanders missed at the line but redeemed himself moments later by coming from the weakside to reject Matt Carroll’s 3-pointer with seven seconds remaining.

Flanigan made one of two free throws with 2.0 on the clock, and Ryan Humphrey could only heave the ball aimlessly when he rebounded Flanigan’s second shot.

“It’s unbelievable,” Ole Miss coach Rod Barnes said. “What a great win for our program.”

Although they hit just 3 of 16 3-point shots, the Rebels won with Rahim Lockhart’s 24-point spree and a defense that limited Notre Dame to 29.0 percent shooting.

Troy Murphy, the Irish All-American, hit only 4 of 16 shots in a 17-point effort as the Rebels rotated smaller but quicker people on him.

“They did a great job in the second half of forcing me to touch the ball 20 or 22 feet from the basket,” Murphy said.

Lockhart was able to seal his man repeatedly inside the Notre Dame zone, and his power moves kept Ole Miss in front most of the way.

“They were zoning on the outside and leaving me 1-on-1 on the inside,” Lockhart said. “Our coaches did a great job of preparing us.”

Notre Dame played only seven men in the tournament, and the Rebels felt their superior depth was a major issue. The Irish shot 63.3 percent Friday against Xavier.

“This was a great college basketball game,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “They just made more plays at crunch time than we did.”

Tipoff time for Friday’s game will be announced today. While the Rebels savored their Sweet 16 berth Sunday, they pointed out there are still goals in front of them. If they beat Arizona, they’ll play Illinois or Kansas Sunday for the right to advance to Minneapolis.

“We’re trying to get to the Final Four,” Flanigan said. “As long as these guys keep believing, we’ll take our chances.

“A few years ago, guys like Ansu Sesay, Anthony Boone and Joezeon Darby laid a foundation for this program. Then guys like Keith Carter, Jason Smith and Michael White poured some concrete.

“The people we have now are trying to put a top on it.”
 

 

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