Men's Basketball Game Notes
March 6, 2002
Rebels on Television and Radio
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play, Stan Sandroni, pregame/ halftime/postgame host, Don Kessinger, guest color analyst)
PROBABLE STARTING LINE-UPS
- South Carolina Probable Starters -
REBEL GAME NOTES
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 CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year, Barnes has compiled an 86-44 record. He has led Ole Miss to a 20-9 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 (7th, 154).
OLE MISS-SOUTH CAROLINA SERIES: Thursday's game will be the 16th time the two schools have faced each other on the hardwood. The Rebels lead the all-time series 8-7, and have won the last four meetings. Earlier this season, Ole Miss defeated the Gamecocks 71-53 in Oxford. The Gamecocks' last victory in the series was a 67-66 win in Columbia in the 1998-99 campaign (Jan. 27, 1999).
South Carolina has a 2-1 series edge in SEC Tournament meetings with the Rebels. The last time the two schools met in the SEC Tournament was in 1999, a narrow 64-60 Ole Miss win in the first round. The Gamecocks' last win over Ole Miss in conference tournament play came in the 1998 postseason, an 87-77 victory in the semifinals.
The two schools met only once 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 3-1 versus South Carolina and 1-0 against the Gamecocks in SEC Tournament action.
SCOUTING SOUTH CAROLINA: The Gamecocks enter Thursday's contest with a 16-13 overall record and a 6-10 Southeastern Conference mark. South Carolina has dropped its last three games, but all have been by single digits to Auburn (50-46), Georgia (82-75, ot) and Mississippi State (64-57). The backcourt tandem of Jamel Bradley and Aaron Lucas leads the Gamecock offense. Bradley is the team's leading scorer with a 13.4 average, while Lucas is second with a 10.2 average. Rolando Howell leads South Carolina on the boards with a 5.8 average. Bradley is the squad's top three-point threat with a 41.0 shooting percentage from the arc, while Chuck Eidson leads the SEC in steals with 76 swipes. The Gamecocks are hitting 42.3 percent from the field, 34.3 percent from the arc and 67 percent from the charity stripe. Opponents are out-rebounding South Carolina by an average of 2.2 boards per game (32.7-34.9).
OLE MISS IN THE SEC TOURNAMENT: The Rebels have an overall record of 20-38 in Southeastern Conference Tournament play, and is 6-10 in tournament action since the league went to the two-division format in the 1991-92 season. Ole Miss has participated in 39 of the previous 41 SEC Tournaments.
Last season, the Rebels made a magical run to the league tournament's championship game, defeating Tennessee 86-73 and Florida 74-69 before falling to Kentucky 77-55. The Rebels have advanced to four SEC championship contests and have a 1-3 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 2-6 record in SEC Tournament games played in Atlanta.
REBELS ARE WESTERN DIVISION NO. 3 SEED IN TOURNEY: The Rebels are the Western Division's No. 3 seed in the 2002 Southeastern Conference Tournament. Ole Miss earned the No. 3 seed with a 9-7 league mark.
Since the conference went to the two-division format in 1991-92, this is the second time that Ole Miss has been the West's No. 3 seed in the tournament. The Rebels have a 1-1 record as the West's No. 3 seed. The previous time Ole Miss was a No. 3 seed was the 1999 tournament in which the Rebels defeated South Carolina (64-60) in the first round and fell to Kentucky (83-73) in the second round. Prior to this year's tournament, the Rebels have been a No. 1, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 seed.
BARNES IN THE SEC TOURNAMENT: Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes has a 3-3 record in Southeastern Conference Tournament play. Last year, Barnes, the 2001 SEC Coach of the Year, guided the Rebels to the championship game.
OLE MISS IN SEC TOURNAMENT FIRST-ROUND PLAY: The Rebels have an overall record of 7-16 (.304 winning percentage) in first-round games at the SEC Tournament. The last time Ole Miss played a first-round game was the 2000 SEC Tournament, an 89-67 setback to Florida. The last time the Rebels won a first-round contest in the SEC Tournament was in 1999, a 64-60 victory over South Carolina. The Rebels are 1-2 in first-round games in Atlanta.
EXPECT A LOT OF DEFENSE... When Ole Miss and South Carolina meet in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, fans should expect a defensive struggle. The Gamecocks lead the SEC in scoring defense, allowing opponents only 61.4 points per game. The Rebels, though, are not far behind, ranking second in the league in scoring defense at 63.6 points per contest.
...AND MAYBE A FEW TREYS: The Rebels and Gamecocks have proven to be two of the more successful teams from the three-point arc this season. Both squads average 7.59 three-pointers per game, which is third best in the conference. As far as percentages go, Ole Miss leads the Southeastern Conference at 38.7 percent, while South Carolina is seventh at 34.3 percent.
SPEAKING OF THREES: If the Rebels hit their average of 7.59 treys per game in the first-round match-up versus South Carolina, they will set a school record for three-pointers in a season. The 2000-01 Rebel squad set the standard with 224 treys, but this year's Ole Miss team has 220 three-pointers heading into the Southeastern Conference Tournament. The following shows the top five three-point shooting teams in Rebel history:
Most Three-Pointers Made/Team
MORE ON THE REBEL DEFENSE: Ole Miss has developed a reputation for playing tough defense, and this season's Rebels have turned it up a little on the defensive end in recent contests. In the last five games, Ole Miss has held its opponents to only 58.4 points per contest. During that same stretch, the Rebels are defending the three-point shot well, holding the opposition to 26.7 percent from the arc.
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 19 games this year where four players have scored in double figures. Ole Miss has a 16-3 record in those games, including an 8-1 mark in SEC action. The lone loss was at Tennessee Jan. 6.
OLE MISS SECURE WIN NO. 20: The Rebels won their 20th game of the 2001-02 campaign with an 84-56 victory over No. 6 Alabama Mar. 3. Ole Miss has a 20-9 record. It is the second straight year the Rebels have reached the magical plateau of 20 wins. Last season, Ole Miss won a school-record 27 games. The 20-win campaign in 2001-02 marks the fifth time in the last six 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.
AT THE HEAD OF THE CLASS(ES): Well, Jason Harrison (Little Rock, Ark.) is only one player, but he is the 2002 Rebel senior class. And, he is closing in the record for most victories by a class in a four-year span. After the Rebels' victory over No. 6 Alabama Mar. 3, this year's senior class has 86 victories, which is two shy of the record of 88 wins set by the 2001 seniors (Jason Flanigan, Rahim Lockhart, Jason Holmes and John Engstrom). The 2001-02 senior class has also been a part of the 2001 SEC Western Division championship squad and has been to three straight postseasons (2 NCAA, 1 NIT). The following chart lists the most successful classes:
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!: Thursday's game against South Carolina will be the Rebels' 10th overall television appearance in 2001-02. Ole Miss is 6-3 in television games this year, defeating Kansas State 67-65 Nov. 24, No. 22 Memphis> 71-67 Dec. 7, Arkansas 70-64 Jan. 19, South Carolina 71-53 Jan. 26, Arkansas 79-67 Feb. 9 and No. 6 Alabama 84-56, and falling at No. 12 Kentucky 87-64 Jan. 15, at No. 5 Alabama 79-59 Feb. 6 and at Mississippi State 61-59 Feb. 23.
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 86-44 (.662 winning percentage), and reached the 80-win plateau the fastest of any coach in Rebel basketball history. His 86 victories are tied for the third most by a head coach in Ole Miss basketball history. The following lists the winningest coaches in Rebel history:
REED NAMED TO COACHES ALL-SEC SECOND TEAM: Sophomore Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.) was named to Coaches All-Southeastern Conference second team. This is the fifth time in the last six years that Ole Miss has placed a player on one of the Coaches All-SEC squads. Reed, who leads the Rebels in scoring with a 14.8 average, was joined on the second team by Florida's Matt Bonner and Brett Nelson, LSU's Ronald Dupree, Mississippi State's Mario Austin and Tennessee's Marcus Haislip.
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. On Feb. 12, the 6-foot-8 forward was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District 6 second team. He was also a 2001-02 preseason Wooden Award candidate.
OH, SO VERY CLOSE!!...PART I: Last year, the Ole Miss Rebel basketball squad took many games down to the wire, but proved to be successful in the close calls with a 14-3 record in contests decided by single digits. This season, however, the close calls seem to be going the other way because of the team's overall inexperience. Ole Miss is 6-7 in contests decided by less than 10 points this year. Moreover, of the Rebels' nine setbacks, seven have been by seven points or less, including five of the seven SEC losses.
OH, SO VERY CLOSE!!...PART II: Everybody at some time wishes, "What could have been?" The Rebels are no different in 2001-02. Alabama won the overall Southeastern Conference title with a 12-4 mark, while Ole Miss finished with a 9-7 league record. However, looking back at the last three weeks, the Rebels were just eight points away from tying for the overall championship. Ole Miss dropped three-point decisions at Auburn (65-62) Feb. 13 and at LSU (59-56) Feb. 27 and a two-point loss at Mississippi State (61-59) Feb. 23.
A SENSATIONAL "SENIOR DAY" SEND-OFF FOR HARRISON: Jason Harrison is the team's lone senior, and he had a tremendous final home game in the Rebels' 84-56 victory over No. 6 Alabama Mar. 3 (Box Score). The 5-foot-5 guard scored 15 points and dished out three assists in the victory. With that win, the Rebels have won seven straight "Senior Day" contests.
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 130 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. He now has played in 130 career games. 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
GET ON MY BACK!!: At this time of year, teams heading into the postseason need a player or players to take control and lead the squad. For the Rebels, that player may be junior David Sanders (Jackson, Miss.). In Ole Miss' last six games, the 6-foot-3 guard is averaging 16.3 points and 4.7 boards. He is also hitting 55.1 percent from the field, 52.2 percent from the arc and 72.7 percent from the foul line during the six-game stretch. He netted a career-high 23 points in the Rebels' victory over No. 6 Alabama Mar. 3 (Box Score).
"I TOLD YOU SO": We've all heard it before, mainly from parents. But, Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes laid it on the Rebel fans last year. When asked about David Sanders' perimeter shooting in 2000-01, Barnes told them that the 6-foot-3 guard had the ability to shoot the three-point shot and just be patient. Well, like parents, Barnes was right.
Sanders is blistering the nets from the arc, hitting 52.4 percent (33-of-63) from the three-point line this year. Last season, Sanders hit only 21.9 percent from the arc (7-of-32).
HE'S DONE IT!...PART I, 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 1,060 career points, which is No. 24 on the Ole Miss career scoring chart.
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 (Box Score).
HE'S DONE IT!...PART II: With his six assists versus Auburn Feb. 13, senior Jason Harrison went over the 100-assists plateau for a third straight year. After 29 games in 2001-02, Harrison has 114 dishes for a 3.9 average. At his current pace, Harrison would hand out 121 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 419 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
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 128 games (overall games) since 1996-97, the most by any SEC Western Division team. The 128 victories are also second among all league teams, only trailing Kentucky's 165 wins. The following charts show the Rebels' success (including the 2001-02 season):
Most Overall/SEC Wins By SEC West Teams
Most Overall/SEC Wins By SEC Teams (Top 6)
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 20-9 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.
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:
REED DOUBLES HIS PLEASURE...PART I: Whatever Justin Reed did in the month of February, please let him carry it over to March. In the Rebels' last seven games (Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Mississippi State, LSU), the 6-foot-8 forward is averaging nearly a double-double of 15.0 points and 9.3 boards. He is also shooting 50 percent from the field and 75.9 percent from the foul line in the seven-game stretch.
In four of the seven games, he recorded double-doubles against Alabama (19-12), Auburn (17-10), Florida (15-10) and Mississippi State (12-11).
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 77 treys this year and is moving up the Ole Miss career three-pointers chart. The following shows the career leaders:
Rebel Career Three-Pointers
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
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:
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 Mar. 4, 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 nation's top five players with biggest improvements:
Best Improvement in FT Pct.
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.
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 Mar. 4, Ole Miss was ranked 10th in the nation in team free throw shooting improvement. The Rebels are currently shooting 73.6 percent from the charity stripe. The following chart shows the free throw shooting improvement:
Best Team Improvement in FT Pct.
HITTING THE GLASS BY COMMITTEE: Entering the 2001-02 season, Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes knew his Rebels had to make up for its lack of inside presence. He challenged his off-guard trio of juniors David Sanders and Emmanuel Wade (Marianna, Ark.) and sophomore Aaron Harper to improve their numbers on the boards, and they have responded. All three players have increased their rebounding production from last year, and the following shows that:
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 (16 games), Ole Miss is shooting a considerably higher percentage in the second half than first -- especially home contests -- and the following chart shows that:
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