Ole Miss Awaits Foe

March 6, 2001

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Game #30 -- Jefferson Pilot-TV
SEC Tournament Second Round
Auburn/Tennessee vs. 14/11 Ole Miss (23-6, 11-5)
Friday, March 9, 2001 -- 12:07 p.m. (CT) tip
Gaylord Entertainment Center -- Nashville, Tenn.

Rebels on Television and Radio

Jefferson Pilot (Tom Hammond, play-by-play, Larry Conley, color analyst, Roger Roebuck, producer, Jimmy Moore, director)

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

The Ole Miss Rebels (23-6, 11-5 SEC) open Southeastern Conference Tournament action Friday, Mar. 9. Ole Miss' second-round game, which will be televised by Jefferson Pilot, is scheduled for a 12:07 p.m. (CT) tip. Ole Miss, ranked No. 14 in the Associated Press poll and No. 11 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, will meet the winner of Thursday's (Mar. 8) first-round game between Auburn (17-12, 7-9 SEC) and Tennessee (21-9, 8-8 SEC).

Rod Barnes is in his third season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. He has an overall record of 62-33 (.653 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).

The Tigers hold an all-time series lead of 62-40. The series began in 1927. This season, Ole Miss swept Auburn, winning 74-70 at Auburn. Auburn's last win in the series was a 75-72 victory in the 1999-2000 season (Feb. 19, 2000). Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 3-3 versus Auburn.

In SEC Tournament play, the Rebels are 1-1 versus Auburn. Ole Miss won the last SEC Tournament meeting versus the Tigers, an 80-68 victory in the second round in 1989 (Mar. 10, 1989).

The Tigers enter the Southeastern Conference Tournament with a 17-12 overall record and a 7-9 SEC mark. Auburn finished in fifth place in the SEC Western Division. Of their nine SEC losses, seven were by 10 points or less, including two narrow setbacks to Ole Miss (74-70, 64-62). The sophomore tandem of Marquis Daniels and Adam Harrington paces the Auburn offense. Daniels leads the squad with a 16.2 scoring average, while Harrington is second at 16.0 ppg. Both players were selected to the All-SEC third team (Coaches). Jamison Brewer is tops on the team in rebounding (7.4 rpg), and also leads the squad and the SEC in assists (176 total, 6.07 apg). Abdou Diame is the leading field goal shooter at 56.1 percent, and Harrington is the top three-point threat at 34.5 percent. Daniels leads the SEC in steals (64 total, 2.21 spg), while freshman Kyle Davis is tops in the SEC in blocked shots (65 total, 2.41 bpg). The Tigers are shooting 45.8 percent from the field, 31.7 percent from the arc and 64.3 percent from the charity stripe.

The Volunteers hold a 60-34 lead in the series, which began in 1924. Earlier this year, Ole Miss defeated Tennessee, 87-71 in Oxford. Prior to this year's Rebel victory, Tennessee had won three straight in the series, including a 98-60 win in the 1999-2000 season. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 1-2 versus Tennessee.

In SEC Tournament play, the Rebels hold a 5-4 series lead. Tennessee won the last tournament meeting versus Ole Miss, a 94-85 win in 1991 (Mar. 7, 1991). The last Rebel win over Tennessee in the SEC Tournament was an 87-86 victory in 1990 (Mar. 8, 1990). The winner of the last two encounters between Ole Miss and Tennessee in the SEC Tournament has gone on to advance to the championship game. The Rebels lost to Alabama, 70-51 in the 1990 title game, while the Volunteers fell to Alabama, 88-69 in the 1991 championship.

The Volunteers, ranked No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 poll, enter the Southeastern Conference Tournament with a 21-9 overall record and an 8-8 SEC mark. Tennessee comes into the tournament on a three-game winning streak with victories over Vanderbilt (78-70), South Carolina (68-67, ot) and LSU (78-71). Prior to their current win streak, the Volunteers dropped five straight contests. Junior Vincent Yarbrough leads five Volunteers in double figures with a 14.4 scoring average. He was named to the coaches' All-SEC second team. Isiah Victor (13.2 ppg), Ron Slay (12.5 ppg) and Tony Harris (12.0 ppg) are also averaging in double figures. The Yarbrough-Victor tandem leads Tennessee on the boards with averages of 7.2 (Yarbough) and 6.8 (Victor) rpg. Victor is the squad's top field goal shooter at 55 percent, while Higgins is the team's and SEC's top three-point shooter at 49.5 percent. The Volunteers are shooting 46.4 percent from the floor, 37.3 percent from the arc and 69 percent from the foul line.

The Rebels have an overall record of 18-37 in Southeastern Conference Tournament play, and is 4-9 in tournament action since the league went to the two-division format in the 1991-92 season (see page 10 for Ole Miss' all-time tournament results). Ole Miss has participated in 38 of the previous 40 SEC Tournaments.

Last season, the Rebels lost in the first round, falling to Florida, 89-67 (see last year's tournament recap and boxscore on page 11). The Rebels have advanced to three SEC championship contests and have a 1-2 record in those games. Ole Miss won the 1981 tournament title with a 66-62 victory over Georgia in the championship game. The Rebels have a 0-2 record in SEC Tournament games played in Nashville.

The 2001 SEC Tournament will mark the 20th anniversary of the 1980-81 Rebel team that won Ole Miss' lone SEC Tournament crown. The 1980-81 Ole Miss squad, under the direction of head coach Bob Weltlich, defeated Tennessee (81-71) and Vanderbilt (71-51) en route to the 1981 SEC Tournament championship game versus Georgia. The Rebels won the title with a 66-62 victory over the Bulldogs. Elston Turner and Sean Tuohy earned All-Tournament Team honors. The title-game win also propelled the Rebels into their first-ever NCAA Tournament.

The 1980-81 squad was honored prior to the Ole Miss-Kentucky football game Sept. 30 in Oxford. Turner was also inducted into the M-Club Athletic Hall of Fame that day.

The Rebels are the Western Division's No. 1 seed in the 2001 Southeastern Conference Tournament. Ole Miss earned the No. 1 seed by winning the SEC Western Division title with an 11-5 league mark.

Since the conference went to the two-division format in 1991-92, this is the third time that Ole Miss has been the West's No. 1 seed in the tournament. The Rebels have a 2-2 record as the West's No. 1 seed, and have advanced to the semifinals both times in 1997 and 1998. Prior to this year's tournament, the Rebels have been a No. 1, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 seed.

The Rebels have an overall record of 7-15 (.318 winning percentage) in second-round games at the SEC Tournament. Ole Miss has a 2-2 record in second-round games since the league went to the two-division format in 1991-92 season. The Rebels dropped their last second-round contest, an 83-73 setback to Kentucky in the 1999 tournament (Mar. 5, 1999).

Entering the final weekend of the regular season, Ole Miss had at least a share of the SEC Western Division title, but the Rebels wanted it outright. To do that, Ole Miss would have to win over Alabama or have Arkansas fall to Georgia.

Well, Ole Miss took care of its own business with a 105-71 victory over the Crimson Tide to claim the SEC West crown with an 11-5 league record. Arkansas finished second with a 10-6 SEC mark. The title was Ole Miss' third SEC Western Division crown in the last five years.

With their win over Alabama Mar. 3, the Rebels clinched the Southeastern Conference Western Division title outright. It is Ole Miss' third SEC Western Division championship in the last five years. Since the league went to the two-division format in 1991-92, the Rebels have won the second most SEC West titles.

Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes may have to clear some space in his trophy case after this season is over, as he is up for several coach of the year honors. Barnes received his first accolade Mar. 1 when he was named SEC Coach of the Year by CollegeInsider.com, a college basketball internet magazine. Kentucky's Tayshaun Prince was named the league's Player of the Year by the internet site.

Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes picked up more postseason hardware Mar. 5-6 when he was named the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year by the league's coaches and Associated Press (AP).

Barnes is the first Rebel mentor to honored by conference's coaches since Lee Hunt received the same honor in 1983. Hunt shared the honor with Kentucky's Joe B. Hall. Barnes is the fourth Rebel coach to receive the AP honor. Bob Weltlich (1980), Lee Hunt (1983) and Rob Evans (1997) also earned the AP award.

The Rebels have been making a lot of history in recent years, and freshman Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.) added to that this week. Reed became Ole Miss' first-ever SEC Freshman of the Year. The 6-foot-8 forward earned the honor from the coaches and Associated Press (AP). Reed was also named AP's Newcomer of the Year.

Reed was selected to the coaches' SEC All-Freshman Team and was the team's lone unanimous pick.

Former Rebel basketball standout Denver Brackeen will be honored at the 2001 league tournament as one of the SEC's Living Legends. Each Chick-fil-A/SEC Basketball Legend will be recognized at halftime of his institution's first game at the tournament. The legends will also be honored as a group during pregame festivities before the first semifinal game Mar. 10. Highlighting the schedule of events at the Dr Pepper SEC Fan Fare will be appearances by the legends on the Chick-fil-A Press Box Stage. Complimentary posters of the legends will be available in the autograph area near the press box stage. This marks the third year of the basketball legends program.

Brackeen played center at Ole Miss from 1954-55. Brackeen transferred to Ole Miss from East Central Junior College, where he was an All-America selection and was chosen as the nation's Most Outstanding Junior College Player after the 1952-53 season. He made an immediate impact at Ole Miss, earning All-SEC honors in both 1954 and 1955. During his senior season, Brackeen averaged 27.2 points per game and was named UPI SEC Player of the Year and AP SEC Most Valuable Player. He also earned All-American honors after the season and set a total of 24 school records during his two-year career at Ole Miss. Brackeen was drafted in the second round of the 1955 NBA Draft by the New York Knickerbock-ers. He retired from the Adjutant General Office of the Mississippi National Guard in 1992 with the rank of Major General.

The 2001 Ole Miss seniors ended their careers on a winning note Mar. 3 when they won their final home game with a 105-71 victory over Alabama. The win also gave the Rebels their third SEC Western Division title in the last five years.

The 2001 seniors are Jason Flanigan (Little Rock, Ark.), Rahim Lockhart (Mendenhall, Miss.), John Engstrom (Paragould, Ark.) and Jason Holmes (Tylertown, Miss.). The quartet has averaged 20 victories per season, and is the only class in Rebel basketball history to do so. The 2001 seniors will also earn a fourth straight postseason berth this year, becoming the first class to play in four straight postseason tournaments since the 1983 class did so. The 1983 seniors participated in one NCAA (1981) and three NITs (1980, 1982, 1983).

Senior Rahim Lockhart joined another elite group in Rebel history when he was selected to the coaches' All-Southeastern Conference first team Mar. 5. He is only the fourth player in Rebel history to receive All-SEC first team accolades from the league's coaches. Joe Gibbon (1957), Ansu Sesay (1997, 1998) and Keith Carter (1999) were the other Rebels to earn coaches' All-SEC first team honors. (NOTE: Coaches' All-SEC picks were not made on a first-team and second-team basis from 1958-92.)

ESPN is holding "Championship Week" this week. Well, it was "Career Week" for senior Jason Holmes last week (Feb. 26-Mar. 4). In the Rebels' victory over Alabama Mar. 3, the 6-foot-5 guard was on fire, scoring a career-high 26 points. The 26-point performance bested his previous high of 17 in Ole Miss' Dec. 5 win over Kansas State. He also recorded career highs of seven field goals, five treys and seven free throws versus the Crimson Tide.

In the Rebels' contest at LSU Feb. 28, Holmes dished out a career-high six assists. He also scored 13 points versus the Tigers.

For the week, Holmes averaged 19.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists, while shooting 54.5 percent (12-of-22) from the field, 53.3 percent from the arc (8-of-15) and 100 percent from the charity stripe (7-of-7).

Senior Jason Flanigan has had his ups and downs this year, and with the way he has played recently, it looks as if he is on his way up again. The 6-foot-1 guard, who also goes by the nickname "Buck," has picked up his play in Ole Miss' last three games, and it is showing in the numbers.

In the last three games, Flanigan is averaging 9.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He scored 17 points in Ole Miss' victory over Alabama Mar. 3, which was his highest-scoring SEC contest of the regular season. Flanigan also hit a career-best 10 free throws versus the Crimson Tide.

The Rebels had an offensive explosion in their 105-71 victory over Alabama Mar. 3. It was the first time Ole Miss had broken the century mark in a Southeastern Conference game since the Rebels defeated LSU, 102-90 Feb. 15, 1995. The 105 points were the most in an SEC contest since the Rebels netted 113 in a 113-112 overtime win over LSU Mar. 4, 1989. Finally, the 34-point margin of victory was the largest for Ole Miss in a league game since a 105-65 win (40 points) over Georgia Feb. 18, 1956.

What a difference a year makes. Despite their 78-77 overtime loss at LSU Feb. 28, the Rebels still have an 11-3 record in games decided by single digits (nine points or less). Ole Miss' two other setbacks by single digits were to Iowa State (73-68) and Georgia (70-66). Last season, Ole Miss had a 6-8 record in single-digit contests.

This year's senior class of Jason Flanigan, Rahim Lockhart and Jason Holmes and junior redshirt John Engstrom is at the head of all the classes in Ole Miss basketball history. With the Rebels' victory over Alabama Mar. 3, the 2000-01 senior class has 84 wins, the most victories by a class in a four-year span. The 84 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 and 2001 SEC Western Division championship squads and has been to three straight postseasons (2 NCAA, 1 NIT).

When senior Jason "Buck" Flanigan steps on the floor in the Rebels' SEC Tournament second-round game, he will hold a school record all his own. The tournament's second-round contest will be the 122nd of Flanigan's career, giving him the record for most games played in an Ole Miss uniform.

The 6-foot-1 guard is currently tied with Roger Stieg at 121 games. Stieg played at Ole Miss from 1980-82 and was a member of the Rebels' 1981 SEC Tournament championship team.

Redshirt junior John Engstrom, who is a senior academically, got a reward for his four years of hard work and dedication to the program when he received his first career start versus Alabama Mar. 3. He grabbed two rebounds in six minutes of action in the Rebels' 105-71 victory over the Crimson Tide.

Earlier this week (Mar. 6), Engstrom was named to the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll for the third straight year. The 7-footer is only the seventh player in Rebel history to earn the league's academic honor three or more years.

So far, the Rebels can say the omens have been good for them. Ole Miss claimed the Southeastern Conference Western Division title this year in similar fashion to the 1997 and 1998 Rebel squads.

In 1996-97 and 1997-98, Ole Miss had a 4-2 record versus the SEC Eastern Division, a 4-4 road record in league play and sealed the title with victory in its final home game versus a Western Division opponent (74-68 win over LSU in 1996-97, 74-67 win over Auburn in 1997-98) in the final week of the campaign.

This season, the Rebels did the same. Ole Miss was 4-2 against the SEC East and posted a 4-4 record on the road in league. The Rebels then clinched the SEC West crown outright with a 105-71 victory over Alabama in the final game (at home) of the regular season.

The 2000-01 Rebels are sure making their mark in Ole Miss basketball history, and they now own the record for most wins in a single season. With its victory over Alabama Mar. 3, Ole Miss has a current record of 23-6, and the 23 wins are the most in Rebel basketball history. The previous school record for most victories in a season was 22 by the 1937-38 and 1997-98 teams.

The Rebels are 4-2 versus ranked opponents, defeating No. 14 Oklahoma (60-55), No. 13 Southern Cal (84-83, ot), No. 10 Tennessee (87-71) and No. 20 Alabama (105-71) and falling to No. 15 Alabama (82-63) and No. 7 Florida (75-55).

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 104 games (overall games) since 1996-97, the most by any team in the SEC Western Division. The 104 victories are also second among all league teams, trailing only Kentucky's 140 wins.

Ole Miss will be making its 16th television appearance of the year Friday when the Rebels meet either Auburn or Tennessee in the SEC Tournament second round on Jefferson Pilot. In the month of January, Ole Miss appeared before the television cameras five straight games from Jan. 13 through Jan. 31 (Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Arkansas). This season, Ole Miss has an 11-4 record in television games, including a 105-71 win over Alabama in the Rebels' last television contest Mar. 3. The Rebels have appeared on television over 40 times the past four seasons. Last year, Ole Miss had 11 television contests, and posted a 6-5 record in those games.

Ole Miss has hit 194 three-pointers so far this year, the fourth most for a season in Rebel basketball history. The record for three-pointers made in a season is 204 by the 1997-98 squad. The 1991-92 team is second with 199 treys, and the 1999-2000 squad is third with 196.

When the Rebels are hitting from the three-point arc, it's a good chance that they will win the game. This year, Ole Miss has a 12-3 record when they hit seven or more treys in a game. The Rebels are 4-0 when they hit double-digit three-pointers. Ole Miss made 11 treys in its 105-71 win over Alabama Mar. 3.

Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes was selected as one of 20 finalists for the Naismith National Coach of the Year Award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Feb. 22. Barnes is one of three SEC coaches up for the honor, as Florida's Billy Donovan and Alabama's Mark Gottfried also made the list. Other finalists are: Syracuse's Jim Boeheim, Notre Dame's Mike Brey, North Carolina's Matt Doherty, Georgia State's Lefty Driesell, Georgetown's Craig Esherick, Iowa State's Larry Eustashy, Virginia's Pete Gillen, Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt, Michigan State's Tom Izzo, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, St. Joseph's Phil Martelli, Stanford's Mike Montgomery, Arizona's Lute Olson, Oklahoma's Kelvin Sampson, Illinois' Bill Self, Boston College's Al Skinner, and Kansas' Roy Williams.

With success comes recognition, and Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes deserves both. The third-year Rebel mentor was recently named a finalist for CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year award.

Barnes is one of 10 finalists for the honor. The other nine finalists are Indiana's Mike Davis, Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt, Cincinnati's Bob Huggins, Stanford's Mike Montgomery, Ohio State's Jim O'Brien, Arizona's Lute Olson, Oklahoma's Kelvin Sampson, Boston College's Al Skinner, and Providence's Tim Welsh.

Ole Miss is one of three basketball programs in the country which went >from "worst to first" in 2000-01. The Rebels tied for fifth place in the SEC Western Division (No. 6 seed in SEC tourney) in the 1999-2000 season with a 5-11 league mark, but bounced back in 2000-01 to claim the SEC West title with an 11-5 mark.

Boston College and Central Michigan are the other two basketball programs to do the same. Boston College was coming off three straight last-place finishes in the Big East, but won the league's title in 2001. Central Michigan had 12 consecutive non-winning league seasons in the Mid-American Conference, but won their conference crown this season.

No, Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes did reach his 60th birthday (not even close for the 35-year-old, by the way). Barnes posted his 60th victory as head coach at Ole Miss with the Rebels' 67-61 win over South Carolina Feb. 17. He has a current record of 62-33, and reached the 60-win plateau the fastest of any coach in Rebel basketball history.

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.

Redshirt freshman Josh Hayes (Little Rock, Ark.) showed his deadly aim >from the three-point arc earlier this season when he hit six treys in the Rebels' victory over Troy State Dec. 18. In recent games, the 6-foot-7 guard is proving he can knock down the three-pointer at key times for Ole Miss.

In the Rebels' setback at LSU Feb. 28, Hayes had his best SEC offensive game in an Ole Miss uniform with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field and 2-of-3 from the arc. Eight of his 10 points came in the first half, helping the Rebels hold on to their narrow margin in the first half.

Against Mississippi State Feb. 14, Hayes' trey could not have come at a more crucial time for Ole Miss. With the Rebels trailing 38-31 and struggling to hit a shot from the three-point arc, Hayes stepped up with a big trey to start a 9-0 run that led to a 40-all tie. Ole Miss went on to win the game, 51-48.

Three days later (Feb. 17) at South Carolina, he nailed a first-half trey to extend the Rebels' lead to 22-15 and keep Ole Miss' momentum going. In the Rebels' victory over Auburn Feb. 24, Hayes hit a first-half >three-pointer to close a 7-2 game-opening run.

In the last six games, Hayes is hitting 55.6 percent (5-of-9) from the arc. For the season, he is shooting 52.2 percent (12-of-23) from the three-point line.

With his 15-point performance in the Rebels' victory over Mississippi State Feb. 14, senior Rahim Lockhart became the latest member to join the Ole Miss 1,000-point club. The 6-foot-8 forward now has 1,078 points after scoring 14 points versus No. 20-ranked Alabama Mar. 3, and is No. 22 on the Rebel career scoring chart.

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 84-10 record (.894 winning percentage) when it scores 70 points or more. On the other hand, the Rebels are 19-39 when they net less than 70 points during that five-year period (including 2000-01). This season, Ole Miss has a 13-1 record when scoring 70 points or more, with the lone setback a 78-77 overtime loss at LSU Feb. 28.

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 10-5 this year when scoring less than 70 points.

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 738 career rebounds, after grabbing eight boards versus Alabama Mar. 3. Lockhart is in the No. 6 spot on the Ole Miss career rebounding list, and needs 17 more rebounds to take over the No. 5 spot currently held by Coolidge Ball (1971-74, 754 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.

Freshman Justin Reed tied his career high in scoring with 21 points in the Rebels' victory over Auburn Feb. 24. He also tied his career high of nine field goals versus the Tigers, hitting 9-of-14 from the field (64.3 percent). Earlier this season, the 6-foot-8 forward had 21 points and nine field goals against Georgia (Jan. 13).

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 16 SEC games, Reed netted double figures in 12 contests, including a career-high 21 points versus Georgia Jan. 13 and Auburn Feb. 24. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 12.6 points (led team) and 6.0 boards (second on team) in SEC games only this year.

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 12 games (9-3 record), the Rebels have forced their opponents into 226 turnovers (18.8 per game). In its first four conference games, Ole Miss forced only 54 turnovers (13.5 per contest).

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 63.8 points per game, which leads the SEC.

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 65.1 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, despite their 2-of-8 showing versus Auburn Feb. 24. In their wins over Sam Houston State, VCU, Oklahoma, Memphis, Southern Illinois, Southern Cal, Vanderbilt, Arkansas (both games), Kentucky, Auburn (both games), Tennessee, Mississippi State (second game) and South Carolina, the Rebels shot 71.5 percent from the line (113-of-158) in the final four minutes (and overtime) of those games.

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 campaigns in which the Rebels held the most opponents under 60 points were 1996-97 and 2000-01. The 1996-97 year saw Ole Miss hold 10 opponents to under 60 points, including five SEC squads. The 1996-97 season was the Rebels' first SEC Western Division title.

With his two three-pointers in Ole Miss' win over Alabama Mar. 3, freshman Aaron Harper (Jackson, Miss.) pushed his way onto the Rebel single-season chart for treys. The 6-foot-7 guard has 52 three-pointers, which is the sixth most for a single season in Ole Miss history. The record is 78 treys by Joe Harvell in 1992.

The 2000-01 Rebels posted their 20th victory with a 51-48 win over Mississippi State Feb. 14, 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. Ole Miss now has a 23-6 record after its win over Alabama Mar. 3. 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 was the first team in the SEC to reach the 20-win plateau in the 2000-01 season. The Rebels are 23-6 and one of only four 20-victory squads in the Southeastern Conference (Alabama, Florida and Tennessee are the others).

This is the third time in the program's history that Ole Miss was 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 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.

Freshman Justin Reed doubled his pleasure for a third time this season versus South Carolina Feb. 17. The 6-foot-8 forward scored 18 points and had 11 boards in the 67-61 victory over the Gamecocks. Reed's first double-double in SEC play came against Georgia Jan. 13, when he scored a career-high tying 21 points and grabbed 12 boards in the 70-66 setback to the Bulldogs. His first collegiate double-double was a 16 point-13 rebound performance in the Rebels' 88-84 overtime victory over VCU Nov. 25. Reed also hit a career-high tying nine field goals versus Georgia.

For the second time this season, a Rebel opponent did not guard Jason Harrison (Little Rock, Ark.) close enough. And, for the second time this year, the junior made the opposition pay. The 5-foot-5 guard tied a career high with four three-pointers in Ole Miss' setback at Florida Feb. 21. Earlier this season, Harrison hit four treys in the Rebels' 65-55 victory over Kentucky Jan. 20.

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 111. Up next for Harrison is Joezon Darby (1996-98), who is No. 3 with 131 career treys.

Senior Rahim Lockhart recorded a career-best five blocked shots versus Memphis Dec. 9. After his two blocks versus Auburn Feb. 24, he now has 126 for his career and is in second place on the Ole Miss career blocked shots chart. The 6-foot-8 forward entered the 2000-01 season with 83 career blocks. Lockhart led the Rebels in blocked shots the previous two seasons with 44 and 46 blocks, respectively.



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    • Game 2: Ole Miss 3, ECU 2

      Saturday, February 18, 2017 - Baseball

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Ole Miss rallied from a two-run deficit in the late innings to knock off ECU 3-2 and clinch the... read more

    • Ole Miss 5, ECU 4

      Friday, February 17, 2017 - Baseball

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; min-height: 14.0px} In a game that had the feel of an SEC Friday night showdown, baserunners were difficult to come by... read more

    • 2017 Ole Miss Baseball Walk Out Music

      Thursday, February 16, 2017 -

      With the 2017 Ole Miss Baseball season beginning tomorrow at Swayze Field (4 p.m. CT vs. No. 6 East Carolina), check out the always much-anticipated walk out music list. Which song is your favorite? Let us know on Twitter by... read more

    • Four Rebels Invited to the NFL Combine

      Monday, February 13, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Four Rebels will head to Indianapolis to take part in the NFL Combine in hopes of bolstering their draft... read more

    • What They're Saying: Men's Golf Sophomore Braden Thornberry

      Monday, February 13, 2017 - Men's Golf

      The breakout college golfer of the fall is trying to prove it wasn't a fluke. (@OleMissMGolf) https://t.co/S1IgwNJxmJ pic.twitter.com/p0IezRH1ul-- Ryan Herrington (@GWcampusinsider) February 6, 2017 .@tberrygolf enters the mix for this September at LACC.#WalkerCup Watch List: https://t.co/UPkkcOD3lX pic.twitter.com/0Sprbl7Qv4-- Golfweek (@golfweek) February... read more

    • Rebels Focus on Defense on Signing Day

      Wednesday, February 1, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Ole Miss' defense needed a shot in the arm after a 2016 season to forget. It began by retooling... read more

    • Engram Named a Top Performer by NFL Network's Mike Mayock

      Monday, January 30, 2017 - Football

      The Senior Bowl always offers players a chance to improve their draft stock by performing well against some of the best players in the nation. Evan Engram took advantage of that opportunity. NFL Network's draft expert Mike Mayock named Engram... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Texas A&M

      Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - Men's Basketball

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Know the Opponent: Texas A&M (10-8, 2-5) KenPom ranking: 64 Best win: vs. No. 50 Virginia Tech Worst loss:... read more

    • Rebels Impressing at East-West Shrine Game

      Thursday, January 19, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} p.p3 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Arial; color: #222221; -webkit-text-stroke: #222221} span.s1 {font: 14.0px Helvetica; color: #000000;... read more

    • Former Rebel Coach Ron Aldy Honored at Kirk Academy

      Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - Women's Basketball

      Former Women's Basketball Head Coach Ron Aldy and his family at gym floor dedication at Kirk Academy today. pic.twitter.com/Ruyc9TFui5-- Holmes Athletics (@holmesathletics) January 14, 2017 p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px... read more

    • Tunsil Named AFC East Rookie of the Year by ESPN

      Monday, January 16, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Miami Dolphins offensive lineman and Ole Miss' former blind side protector Laremy Tunsil was named AFC East rookie of... read more

    • Three Rebel Coaches Among Top-20 Recruiters Nationally

      Friday, January 13, 2017 - Football

      With the hiring of Jacob Peeler as wide receiver coach, #OleMiss now has three asst coaches ranked in @247Sports '16 Top 20 best recruiters.-- Brad Logan (@BradLoganCOTE) January 10, 2017 Ole Miss football bolstered its coaching staff by adding coaching... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Georgia

      Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - Men's Basketball

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Georgia (10-5, 2-1) KenPom ranking: 61 Best win: at No. 103 Auburn Worst loss: at No. 79 Oakland Ole... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Auburn

      Saturday, January 7, 2017 -

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Know the Opponent: Auburn (10-4) KenPom ranking: 105 Best win: No. 28 Texas Tech Worst loss: No. 172 Boston... read more




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