Ole Miss Basketball Game Notes
March 2, 2004
GAME #26: Ole Miss (12-13, 4-10) vs. LSU (17-8, 7-7)
OLE MISS AND LSU LOOK TO END SKIDS: Both Ole Miss and LSU will be looking to end four-game losing streaks Wednesday. The Rebels have already equaled their SEC win total of a year ago with four. Ole Miss fell at Alabama Saturday 84-69 despite another spectacular performance by the SEC's top tandem - senior forwards Justin Reed and Aaron Harper. Reed led the way with 29 points and 11 rebounds, while Harper totaled 19 points and six boards. Wednesday against Vanderbilt, Harper and Reed, former high school teammates, poured in 29 and 21, respectively. Freshman Bam Doyne matched his career best in points vs. Alabama with six. Doyne also posted career highs in rebounds with seven and assists with three against the Commodores.
BARNES IN SIXTH SEASON AS REBEL MENTOR: Rod Barnes is in the midst of his sixth season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. The 2001 Naismith and CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year, Barnes has a 112-74 record (.602 winning percentage). The 100 wins in his first five seasons is the most by a Rebel coach in that span of time in Ole Miss history. In 2000-01, Barnes was the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, and guided Ole Miss to a school-record 27 wins and the program's first NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 berth. Another winning season and postseason tournament followed in 2001-02 - both were the sixth straight for the Ole Miss program.
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 (18th; 1,201 points), assists (2nd; 456) and steals (7th; 154).
SCOUTING LSU: After a 17-4, 7-3 start, LSU has suffered its longest losing streak of the season with four straight, including a 70-64 home loss to Kentucky Sunday. The Fighting Tigers were without the services of leading scorer and rebounder Jaime Lloreda, who has missed two of the last three games with various injuries to his left achilles and heel and right ankle. Sophomore guard Darrel Mitchell has been LSU's top scorer the last two games with 14 at Mississippi State and 15 vs. UK. He leads the SEC in three-point percentage at 42.1. Forward Brandon Bass has been one of the conference's top freshman, averaging 12.5 points and 7.2 rebounds. LSU head coach John Brady is in his seventh year at the helm and returns eight letterwinners and two starters from last year's 21-11 squad that tied for second in the SEC West and earned an NCAA Tournament berth.
OLE MISS-LSU SERIES: Wednesday's game will be the 185th 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 107-77, but the Rebels prevailed 53-49 in this season's earlier meeting in Oxford behind 22 points and five assists from Aaron Harper. The teams split their two meetings a year ago. The Tigers hold a 70-25 lead in games played in Baton Rouge. However, Ole Miss has won four of the last seven meetings against LSU in Baton Rouge, and took last year's encounter 67-57 in the Maravich Center. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 6-5 against LSU and is 2-3 vs. the Tigers in Baton Rouge.
QUOTING BARNES: "We had a tough game at Alabama, and we're looking for a win. I thought we played well, we just got into foul trouble early. Our kids continue to work, and they want to win really bad. When you lose someone like Lloreda, the big thing is that LSU has had some time to make adjustments. Sunday proved that they're a good basketball team without him. They've got enough kids. We can't look at that and even be concerned right now. We have to prepare ourselves."
DYNAMIC DUO: The Rebels continue to boast two of the top scorers in the Southeastern Conference in seniors Justin Reed and Aaron Harper. Reed and Harper form the top scoring duo in the SEC at 19.1 (2nd) and 16.8 (9th), respectively. The former Provine High School teammates are also No. 1 in conference play with Reed at 19.6 (T1st) and Harper at 18.0 (6th).
Justin Reed: Reed posted his third straight 20-point game Saturday against Alabama with 29. He also grabbed 11 rebounds to earn his fifth double-double of the year and the 14th game in which he has topped the team in both points and rebounds. Reed dropped 21 points and six boards on Vanderbilt Wednesday. He boasts 12 games this season with 20-plus points and four with 28 or more. Reed is tied for the SEC lead in scoring in league games at 19.1 ppg.
Aaron Harper: Harper finished three assists shy of a triple-double against Vanderbilt with 29 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. He was second in the SEC in scoring during the month of February at 21.1 ppg in the seven games. Included in that stretch is a career-high 30-point night against Auburn. Harper has been particularly impressive over the last five games, posting averages of 22.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists.
CAJUN FEAST: Ole Miss aims at a clean sweep of the state of Louisiana Wednesday at LSU. The Rebels are 5-0 against Louisiana schools this year, including a 53-49 win over the Fighting Tigers on Jan. 21 in Oxford. The following chart shows the Rebels' victories this year over foes from its Southwestern border state:
Nov. 25 Centenary W, 72-60 Nov. 29 SE Louisiana W, 52-48 Dec. 20 Louisiana-Monroe W, 66-64 Dec. 28 Nicholls State W, 79-46 Jan. 21 LSU* W, 53-49
CHART CLIMBERS: Rebel seniors Justin Reed and Aaron Harper continue to soar up the Ole Miss all-time scorers list. With his 20-point night against Florida, Reed moved into the top five for career points, passing Ole Miss great Keith Carter (1996-99). Earlier this season, Reed, a three-time All-SEC forward, became only the fifth Rebel to rank top 10 in both points and rebounds. Harper joined Reed on the top-10 scorers chart, as the 6-foot-7 swingman tallied 29 points last Wednesday vs. Vanderbilt to pass former Rebel star Ansu Sesay (1995-98) for 10th. He also needs only nine more steals to enter the top 10 in that category. Harper is already Ole Miss' all-time leader in three-pointers with 272 and needs 11 more to crack the SEC's all-time top five for career threes.
ROAD WARRIOR: This season, Oxford native Kendrick Fox has certainly saved his best for when the Rebels are away from his hometown. The junior forward is scoring twice as many points on the road than at home at 8.0 ppg compared to 4.4 ppg at Tad Smith Coliseum. Fox is also shooting over 20 points higher from behind the arc at 50.0 percent as opposed to 29.4. Included in Fox's road performances is his career-high 17-point, five three-pointer outing at Evansville that propelled the Rebels to their first road win of the year. Fox also caught fire at Rupp Arena in Lexington, scorching Kentucky for four threes and 16 points.
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