Men's Basketball Game Notes

Feb. 26, 2002


OLE MISS TO CLOSE OUT SEC ROAD SLATE AT LSU ON WEDNESDAY: The Ole Miss Rebels (19-8, 8-6 SEC) will travel to Baton Rouge, La., on Wednesday, Feb. 27 to meet the LSU Tigers (14-13, 4-10 SEC) in a Southeastern Conference Western Division showdown. The game is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (CT). The Rebels enter Wednesday's contest having split their last four games. Ole Miss defeated Florida (68-51) Feb. 16 and Arkansas (79-67) Feb. 9 and lost at Auburn (65-62) Feb. 13 and at Mississippi State (61-59) Feb. 23. The Tigers have also split their last four contests, defeating Mississippi State (68-65, ot) Feb. 13 and Arkansas (67-63) Feb. 16 and falling to South Carolina (66-53) Feb. 20 and Georgia (55-54) Feb. 23.

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 National Coach of the Year, Barnes has compiled an 85-43 record. He has led Ole Miss to a 19-8 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-LSU SERIES: Wednesday's game will be the 178th meeting between the two schools. The series with the Tigers, which began in 1909, is the second longest in Ole Miss basketball history. LSU leads the all-time series 104-73, but the Rebels have won 11 of the last 16. Earlier this year, the Rebels recorded a 70-55 victory over LSU in Oxford. Last season, the teams split their two encounters, with Ole Miss winning 50-33 in Oxford and LSU winning 78-77 in overtime in Baton Rouge. The Tigers hold a commanding 67-24 edge in games played in Baton Rouge, but Ole Miss has won three of the last five in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 4-3 versus LSU and is 1-2 versus the Tigers in Baton Rouge.

SCOUTING LSU: The Tigers bring a 14-13 overall mark and a 4-10 Southeastern Conference record into the Feb. 27 game. LSU has split its last four outings, defeating Mississippi State (68-65, ot) Feb. 13 and Arkansas (67-63) Feb. 16 and falling to South Carolina (66-53) Feb. 20 and Georgia (55-54) Feb. 23. Ronald Dupree leads a trio of Tigers in double figures with a 17.0 scoring average. Collis Temple III (13.4 ppg), who has seen limited action the last two contests, and Torris Bright (12.9 ppg) are also netting double digits for LSU. Dupree leads the Tigers on the boards with an 8.7 average, while Temple averages 6.0 boards per game. Brad Bridgewater is the squad's top shooter at 55.6 percent, and Torris Bright is LSU's top threat from the arc, hitting 40.7 percent.

OLE MISS GOING FOR WIN NO. 20: The Rebels enter Wednesday's game with a 19-8 overall record and need only one more victory to reach the magical number 20. If Ole Miss is successful in reaching the 20-win plateau in 2001-02, it will be the second straight year the Rebels have done so. Last season, Ole Miss won a school-record 27 game. A 20-win campaign in 2001-02 will also mark the fourth time in the last five years that Ole Miss has accomplished the feat. The Rebels were 20-9 in 1996-97, 22-7 in 1997-98, 20-13 in 1998-99 and 27-8 in 2000-01.

"SENIOR WEEK" FOR THE REBELS: Yes, "Championship Week" begins next week for all of college basketball. This week, though, will be "Senior Week" for Ole Miss. The Rebels travel to LSU Wednesday, and the game will be the final home contest for the Tiger seniors. They will be honored before Wednesday's game. Ole Miss then will return home to Tad Smith Coliseum Sunday, Mar. 3 for its own "Senior Day." Prior to Sunday's contest, Jason Harrison (Little Rock, Ark.), the squad's lone senior, will be honored.

THE BATTLE FOR THE (FIRST-ROUND) BYE: With Alabama securing the Southeastern Conference Western Division title Feb. 23, the race is on between Ole Miss and Mississippi State to see which team will not only finish second, but also get a first-round bye in the league's tournament, which will be held in Atlanta Mar. 7-10. The following shows the race for second place in the West and what's on tap:

Western Division

SEC Record What's Left
Ole Miss 8-6 at LSU, Ala.
Miss. State 7-6 Ark., at SC

IS THIS DEJA VU?: Well, just a little. For the second straight year, the Rebels will close Southeastern Conference regular-season play with a road game at LSU followed by the season finale at home against Alabama. Last year, the Rebels dropped a narrow 78-77 overtime decision to the Tigers in Baton Rouge, but followed with an SEC Western Division-clinching 105-71 victory over the Crimson Tide in the final regular-season contest.

By the way, this is the third consecutive year that Ole Miss has closed SEC play with LSU and Alabama. In the 1999-2000 campaign, the Rebels hosted the Crimson Tide in their final home game before closing the year at LSU.

A "SWEET SIXTEEN" MATCH-UP: Wednesday's game will be an encounter between the last two teams from the Southeastern Conference Western Division to advance to the NCAA Tournament "Sweet Sixteen." Last year, Ole Miss made it to the Midwest Regional semifinals in San Antonio, Texas. The previous season (1999-2000), the Tigers advanced to the West Regional semifinals in Albuquerque, N.M. The two teams were nearly mirror images of each other in separate seasons and the following shows that:

Ole Miss (00-01) LSU (99-00)
27-8 Overall Record 28-6
11-5 SEC Record 12-4
Champ SEC West Div. Champ*
Finals SEC Tourn. Semifinals
Sweet 16 NCAA Tourn. Sweet 16

* LSU also tied for the overall SEC title

DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE!...PART I: When Ole Miss and LSU meet Wednesday, it will be a battle of the defenses. The Rebels are ranked second in the Southeastern Conference in scoring defense, holding opponents to 64.0 points per game. The Tigers, though, are not far behind Ole Miss, ranking third in the league in scoring defense at 64.3 points per contest.

REED DOUBLES HIS PLEASURE...PART I: Whatever Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.) has been doing in the month of February, let him keep doing it. In the Rebels' last five games (Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Mississippi State), the 6-foot-8 forward is averaging a double-double of 15.2 points and 10.2 boards. He is also shooting 50 percent from the field and 75 percent from the foul line in the five-game stretch.

In four of the five games, he recorded double-doubles against Alabama (19-12), Auburn (17-10), Florida (15-10) and Mississippi State (12-11). He is also tied for third in the country for current consecutive games with a double-double with three, and the following chart shows that:

Current Consecutive Games With A Dbl-Dbl
(as of Feb. 25, research by Stats Inc.)

Player/School # Consec. Dbl-Dbl
1. Ryan Humphrey/Notre Dame 5
2. Greg Lewis/Winthrop 4
3. Justin Reed/Ole Miss 3
3. Tyrone Levett/Alabama St. 3
3. Dexter Hall/S.C. State 3
3. Rickey White/Maine 3
3. Reggie Evans/Iowa 3

HARRISON IS THE NEW IRONMAN, SETS OLE MISS GAMES PLAYED RECORD: Jason Harrison's father told him as he was growing up, "Don't let anyone tell you, `You can't' when you can." Ever since, the 5-foot-5 senior has been proving people wrong. Many told him he couldn't play basketball at the NCAA Division I level, but that must have been 128 games and an Ole Miss school record ago.

In the Rebels' contest at Mississippi State Feb. 23, Harrison set an Ole Miss record for career games played. Against the Bulldogs, he played his 128th career game in a Rebel uniform. Harrison moved past his former teammate Jason Flanigan (1998-2001), who set the standard last year with 127 games played. The following chart lists the top five on the career games played chart:

Rebel Career Games Played

Player/Years No.
1. Jason Harrison/1999-present 128
1. Jason Flanigan/1998-2001 127
3. Rahim Lockhart/1998-2001 123
4. Roger Stieg/1980-83 121
5. Carlos Clark/1980-83 118
5. Jason Smith/1996-99 118

REED DOUBLES HIS PLEASURE...PART II: Justin Reed doubled his pleasure for the seventh time this year when he posted 12 points and 11 boards in Ole Miss' contest at Mississippi State Feb. 23. The 6-foot-8 forward also recorded double-doubles versus Florida (15-10), Auburn (17-10), Alabama (19-12), Lipscomb (12-10), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (16-10) and Kansas State (15-11) this season. Reed now has 10 double-doubles for his career, including six versus SEC opponents. The following lists Reed's double-double performances:

2001-02 Season Pts Rebs
Mississippi State 12 11
Florida 15 10
Auburn 17 10
Alabama 19 12
Lipscomb 12 10
Arkansas-Pine Bluff 16 10
Kansas State 15 11

2001-02 Season Pts Rebs
South Carolina 18 11
Georgia 21 12
VCU 16 13

BOMBS AWAY, HARPER CLIMBING CAREER CHART: Sophomore Aaron Harper (Jackson, Miss.) 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 72 treys this year and is moving up the Ole Miss career three-pointers chart. The following shows the career leaders:

Rebel Career Three-Pointers

Player/Years No.
1. Keith Carter/1996-99 249
2. Joe Harvell/1990-93 214
3. Jason Harrison/1999-present 156
4. Aaron Harper/2001-present 135
4. Joezon Darby/1996-98 131
6. Jason Flanigan/1998-2001 89
7. Gerald Glass/1989-90 87
8. Tim Jumper/1988-91 82

HARPER ALSO MOVING UP SEASON TREY LIST: Aaron Harper's assault beyond the arc is not just limited to Ole Miss career chart. He is also moving up quickly on the Rebel single-season three-pointers list. The following show the top five leaders for three-pointers made in a single season in Rebel history:

Rebel Single-Season Three-Pointers

Player/Year No.
1. Joe Harvell/1992 79
2. Keith Carter/1999 77
3. Aaron Harper/2002 72
4. Aaron Harper/2001 63
4. Keith Carter/1996 63

THERE'S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: The old saying goes, "All good things must come to an end." For Ole Miss and junior Richard Kirklin (Pine Bluff, Ark.), it came to an end Feb. 23. In the Rebels' game at Mississippi State, Kirklin got the ninth starting nod of his career. The 6-foot-9 forward entered the game with a perfect 8-0 record when he started, but a narrow 61-59 setback to Mississippi State ended his streak of victories. He is now 8-1 when he starts, including 6-1 in SEC games.

Against the Bulldogs Feb. 23, Kirklin had five points, three rebounds and one assist.

FOUR PLUS DOUBLE FIGURES EQUALS WINS: It's a rather odd equation, but it is adding up for Ole Miss in 2001-02. The Rebels have had 18 games this year where four players have scored in double figures. Ole Miss has a 15-3 record in those games.

BARNES GETS WIN NO. 80, MOVING UP CAREER WINS CHART: 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 85-43 (.664 winning percentage), and reached the 80-win plateau the fastest of any coach in Rebel basketball history. His 85 victories are the fourth most by a head coach in Ole Miss basketball history. The following lists the winningest coaches in Rebel history:

Coach Years Wins
Bonne Graham 1950-62 144
Cob Jarvis 1969-76 87
Rob Evans 1992-98 86
Rod Barnes 1999-present 85
Bob Weltlich 1977-81 83
Ed Murphy 1986-92 76

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 19-8 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.

DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE!...PART II: The Ole Miss defense was clicking Feb. 16 in the win over Florida. The Rebels held the Gators to 51 points, the lowest offensive output in the Billy Donovan era. But, playing tough defense is nothing new for Ole Miss. Last year, the Rebels held three SEC opponents to under 50 points (33 by LSU, 48 by Arkansas and Mississippi State).

Since the inception of the shot clock in the 1985-86 season, the Rebels have had eight games in which they held their opponent to under 50 points. Seven of those eight contests have been since the 1994-95 campaign -- or since Rod Barnes has been a member of the Rebel coaching staff (1993-98, assistant, 1998-present, head).

REED NAMED TO NABC ALL-DISTRICT SIX SQUAD: Sophomore Justin Reed was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District 6 second team, the organization announced Feb. 12. Reed, who leads the Rebels in scoring with a 14.8 average, was joined on the second team by Alabama's Erwin Dudley, South Florida's Altron Jackson, Mississippi State's Mario Austin and Miami's Johnny Salmons. This is the second straight year that an Ole Miss player has been named to the NABC district squad, as Rahim Lockhart earned first team accolades last season.

This year, Reed has earned BP Top of the World Classic All-Tournament Team, SEC Player of the Week and Sierra Providence SunClassic MVP accolades. He was also a 2001-02 preseason Wooden Award candidate.

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, he had to work on his free throw shooting after the 2000-01 season. And worked on it, he did.

As of Feb. 25, 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 78.1 percent from the foul line, a difference of 23.3 percentage points. The following lists the top five players with biggest improvements from the foul line in the nation:

Best Improvement in FT Pct.
(as of Feb. 25, research by Stats Inc.)

Player/School 00-01 Pct 01-02 Pct
1. Justin Reed/Ole Miss 54.9 78.1
2. Earl Barron/Memphis 58.3 79.2
3. James Thomas/Texas 45.7 64.0
4. Mike Sweetney/G'town 61.9 80.0
5. Dan Lytle/Evansville 55.9 73.2

SANDERS NOT TO BE OUTDONE: Justin Reed may be ranked among the nation's leaders in free throw shooting improvement, but David Sanders (Jackson, Miss.) is not doing too bad from the free throw line himself. In the Rebels' last nine games, the 6-foot-3 guard is hitting 80.9 percent from the foul line (38-of-47). He has also improved his free throw shooting percentage from the last season, hitting 70.5 percent in 2001-02 compared to 66.9 percent in 2000-01 (3.6 pct difference).

MORE ON REBEL FREE THROWS: Justin Reed and David Sanders aren't the only Rebels who have improved their percentages from the charity stripe. Several Ole Miss players have made the free throw line a priority this season, and it is paying dividends for the entire team. As of Feb. 25, Ole Miss was ranked 10th in the nation in team free throw shooting improvement. The Rebels are currently shooting 73.8 percent from the charity stripe. The following chart shows the leaders in free throw shooting improvement:

Best Team Improvement in FT Pct.
(as of Feb. 18, research by Stats Inc.)

Player/School 00-01 Pct 01-02 Pct
1. American 57.2 72.4
2. Pennsylvania 62.0 73.2
3. Washington 57.5 67.6
4. Ball State 65.2 75.1
5. Denver 59.8 69.7
10. Ole Miss 65.4 73.8

HE'S DONE IT!...PART I: With his six assists versus Auburn Feb. 13, senior Jason Harrison went over the 100-assists plateau for a third straight year. After 27 games in 2001-02, Harrison has 109 dishes for a 4.0 average. At his current pace, Harrison would hand out 120 assists this season.

By reaching the 100-assists plateau this year, he became only the third player in Rebel history to accomplish the feat three straight years. Rod Barnes and Sean Tuohy also did so.

On Feb. 6, Harrison joined Barnes and Tuohy as the only Rebels to pass out over 400 assists in a career. 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 414 assists. He is in the No. 3 spot on the career assists chart. The following lists the Rebels' career assists leaders:

Rebel Career Assists Leaders

Player/Years No.
1. Sean Tuohy/1979-82 830
2. Rod Barnes/1985-88 456
3. Jason Harrison/1999-present 414
3. Henry Jackson/1976-79 378
4. Michael White/1996-99 370
6. Bob Mahoney/1973-75 362

HE'S DONE IT!...PART II, HARRISON GOES OVER 1,000 POINTS: Senior Jason Harrison is now No. 26. No, he hasn't changed his jersey number, as he still wears No. 11. With his nine points versus Alabama Feb. 6, the 5-foot-5 guard became the 26th Rebel in the program's history to reach the 1,000-point milestone for a career. He now has 1,034 career points.

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 JOINS ELITE REBEL CLUB: With his nine points and four assists against Alabama Feb. 6, Jason Harrison reached both the 1,000-point and 400-assists milestones. In doing so, the Little Rock, Ark., native became 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:

Pts Asts Stls
Barnes/1985-88 1,201 456 154
Harrison/1999-pres. 1,034 414 164

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 127 games (overall games) since 1996-97, the most by any SEC Western Division team. The 127 victories are also second among all league teams, only trailing Kentucky's 164 wins. The following charts show the Rebels' success (including the 2001-02 season):

Most Overall/SEC Wins By SEC West Teams
(1996-97 to present, through Feb. 25)

Team All Wins SEC Wins
Ole Miss 127 55
Arkansas 117 50
Auburn 115 47
Alabama 107 43
Mississippi State 99 38
LSU 86 27

Most Overall/SEC Wins By SEC Teams (Top 6)
(1996-97 to present, through Feb. 25)

Team All Wins SEC Wins
Kentucky 164 71
Ole Miss 127 55
Florida 122 54
Arkansas 117 50
Auburn 115 47
Tennessee 112 50

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 (14 games), Ole Miss is shooting a considerably higher percentage in the second half than first -- especially home contests -- and the following chart shows that:

1st Half 2nd Half
Home 38.1 pct. (51-134) 50.6 pct. (80-158)
Away 40.7 pct. (96-236) 46.4 pct. (90-194)
Total 39.5 pct. (146-370) 48.3 pct. (170-352)



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