Ole Miss To Host UNC Charlotte In NIT First Round

March 13, 2000

OXFORD, Miss. - The Ole Miss Rebels (17-13, 5-11 SEC) will host UNC Charlotte (17-15, 7-9 C-USA) in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) on Wednesday, Mar. 15. The contest, which is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (CT), will be played at Tad Smith Coliseum in Oxford, Miss. Ole Miss enters the NIT after an 89-67 loss to No. 11 Florida in the Southeastern Conference Tournament first round on Mar. 9. Prior to that setback, the Rebels had won two of its final three regular-season contests, defeating then-No. 24 Vanderbilt (75-67) and Alabama (63-59) and falling to then-No. 12 LSU (64-60). The 49ers enter Wednesday's game having won three of their last four games. UNC Charlotte defeated UAB in the regular-season finale (61-37) and then advanced to the Conference USA Tournament semifinals with victories over UAB (76-73) and Louisville (57-52), before falling to DePaul (56-49).

OLE MISS-UNC CHARLOTTE SERIES Wednesday's game will be the third meeting between the two schools. The series is tied at 1-1 with both teams winning at home. Ole Miss won the first meeting between the schools, an 81-64 victory in Oxford on Nov. 30, 1977. The following season, the 49ers defeated the Rebels, 68-57 in the 1978-79 season opener (Nov. 28, 1978).

The Rebels will be playing in their sixth National Invitation Tournament (NIT) on Wednesday when they host UNC Charlotte. In its previous five NIT appearances, Ole Miss has a 4-5 record. The Rebels have a 3-1 record in home games in the NIT, with their last home contest a 65-57 victory over South Florida in the 1983 NIT second round. The lone setback in an NIT home game was a 61-59 loss to Virginia Tech in the 1982 NIT second round. The Rebels' last appearance in the NIT was 1989, and Ole Miss dropped a 70-67 decision at St. John's in the first round.

The Rebels have an overall postseason record of 5-9 in the program's history. Prior to this year's NIT, Ole Miss had played in four NCAA Tournaments (1981, 1997, 1998, 1999) and five NITs (1980, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1989). Last season, the Rebels made their third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, advancing to the second round. Ole Miss won its first NCAA Tournament game with a 72-70 victory over Villanova in the first round, but fell to eventual Final Four participant Michigan State, 74-66 in the second round.

UNC Charlotte (17-15) vs. Ole Miss (17-13)

Wednesday, March 15 - 7:00 p.m. (CT)
Tad Smith Coliseum - Oxford, Miss.

* Based on last game's starters

No.Player (Yr.)Pos.Ht.Wt.PPG/RPGHometown
22Jason Flanigan (Jr.)G6-11758.2/2.8Little Rock, Ark.
23Syniker Taylor (Fr.)G6-01952.3/2.4Gulfport, Miss.
24Marcus Hicks (Sr.)F6-620014.5/5.6Jackson, Tenn.
25Lataryl Williams (Sr.)F6-72009.1/3.5Oxford, Miss.
44Rahim Lockhart (Jr.)F6-825012.4/8.2Mendenhall, Miss.


No.Player (Yr.)Pos.Ht.Wt.PPG/RPGHometown
11Jason Harrison (So.)G5-51509.0/2.8Little Rock, Ark.
15Ray Waddell (Jr.)G5-91650.9/0.6Philadelphia, Miss.
20Jason Holmes (Jr.)G6-52003.4/1.6Tylertown, Miss.
30Josh Hayes (Fr.)G6-71905.0/2.0Little Rock, Ark.#
31John Gunn (Fr.)F/C6-102453.2/1.9Oxford, Miss.
32Emmanuel Wade (Fr.)G6-31855.0/1.7Marianna, Ark.
45Richard Kirklin (Fr.)F6-92002.1/1.8Pine Bluff, Ark.
54John Engstrom (So.)C7-02451.1/0.9Paragould, Ark.

# - will seek a medical redshirt at the end of the season

Rebels on Television and Radio

Television: None

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

UNC Charlotte, a member of Conference USA, brings a 17-15 overall record and a 7-9 league mark into Wednesday's contest. The 49ers enter the game having won three of their last four games. UNC Charlotte defeated UAB in the regular-season finale (61-37) and then advanced to the Conference USA Tournament semifinals with victories over UAB (76-73) and Louisville (57-52), before falling to DePaul (56-49). Sophomore guard Jobey Thomas leads four 49ers in double figures with a 14.1 scoring average. Tremaine Gardiner (12.2 ppg), Diego Guevara (12.2 ppg) and James Zimmerman (10.1 ppg) are also averaging double figures. Gardiner leads UNC Charlotte on the boards with a 7.3 rebounding average, while Zimmerman is second with a 6.0 average. Guevara is tops on the team with 115 assists and a 36.3 shooting percentage from beyond the three-point line. The 49ers are shooting 40.5 percent from the field, 33.2 percent from the three-point line and 70.4 percent from the charity stripe. UNC Charlotte is averaging 68.8 points and 37.7 rebounds per contest.

* Based on last game's starters

No.Player (Yr.)Pos.Ht.Wt.PPG/RPGHometown
1James Zimmerman (Jr.)F6-520010.1/6.0High Point, N.C.
40Tremaine Gardiner (Sr.)F6-522012.2/7.3Milwaukee, Wisc.
3KenKay Jones (Jr.)C6-92155.6/4.7Lillington, N.C.
21Diego Guevara (Jr.)G6-118512.2/2.5Valencia, Venezuela
31Jobey Thomas (So.)G6-419514.1/3.2Charlotte, N.C.


No.Player (Yr.)Pos.Ht.Wt.PPG/RPGHometown
13Dalonte Hill (So.)G6-62106.2/3.5Landover, Md.
10Kedric Smith (Sr.)G5-111853.4/1.2Alexandria, La.
12Wade Helliwell (Jr.)C6-112402.4/2.4Melbourne, Australia
42Jonathan Neely (Jr.)C6-102402.3/1.8Rockingham, N.C.


Ole MissStatistical CategoryUNCC
72.3Scoring Offense68.8
70.0Scoring Defense65.8
37.4Rebound Avg.37.7
33.4Opponent Rebound Avg.37.7
+4.0Rebound Margin0.0
44.6Field Goal Percentage40.5
44.0Opponent Field Goal Percentage40.0
32.8Three-Point Field Goal Percentage33.2
32.9Opp. Three-Point Field Goal Percentage30.7
65.1Free Throw Percentage70.4
477Opponent Turnovers485

Rod Barnes is in his second season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. With the Rebels' loss to Florida in the SEC Tournament on Mar. 9, Barnes' overall coaching record now stands at 37-26. In his first season in 1998-99, Barnes guided Ole Miss to a 20-13 overall record and a third straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The Satartia, Miss., native became the first head coach in the history of Rebel basketball to win 20 games in his first season. Last 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, after Rob Evans left to take the head coaching position at Arizona State on April 6. 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).

Yes, the school-record 29-game homecourt winning streak came to an end last year, but Tad Smith Coliseum (a.k.a. the "Tad Pad") is still one of the toughest arenas in the nation for opposing teams to play. Despite dropping three conference games at home this season, Ole Miss has still won 61 of its last 68 games (.897 winning percentage) at home, including homecourt winning streaks of 15 and 29 games. The Rebels are 13-3 at Tad Smith Coliseum this season. Ole Miss also owns the third longest homecourt winning streak versus non-conference opponents in the nation at 33 (Maryland is first at 70 straight). In the past eight seasons (1992-present), Ole Miss has an overall home record of 89-28 (.761 winning percentage).

In last eight years (including the 1999-2000 season), the Rebels have posted a 63-27 record (.700 winning percentage) versus non-conference opponents. Non-conference foes have found Ole Miss especially tough the last five seasons (1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-2000), as the Rebels have an impressive 46-14 mark (.767 winning percentage) against out-of-conference teams. The following shows Ole Miss' non-conference record the past eight years:


In recent years, the Rebels have been tough on all opponents entering Tad Smith Coliseum (a.k.a. the "Tad Pad"). Entering the 1998-99 season, Ole Miss had a 20-game homecourt win streak, and the Rebels extended that streak to 29 games before falling to nationally-ranked Auburn on Jan. 13, 1999. Despite the overall homecourt win streak coming to an end, the Rebels still have another homecourt streak intact-consecutive home wins versus non-conference opponents. Ole Miss entered the 1999-2000 season with the eighth-longest homecourt win streak versus non-conference opponents. With their win over Birmingham-Southern on Jan. 2, the Rebels' streak reached 33 straight, and Ole Miss now has the third-longest streak (since the start of the 1999-2000 season, New Mexico, North Carolina, Clemson and Southwest Texas have lost at home). The following chart shows the nation's top homecourt winning streaks versus non-conference opponents:

SchoolNo.Last home non-conference loss
1. Maryland7012/12/89 Coppin St., 70-63
2. Penn State453/18/92 Pitt, 67-65 (NIT)
3. OLE MISS3311/27/95 Davidson, 84-83 (ot)
4. Vanderbilt3212/30/95 Boston College, 90-74

The last time that Ole Miss lost a game at Tad Smith Coliseum to an opponent other than a Southeastern Conference foe was to Davidson on Nov. 27, 1995, an 84-83 overtime loss at the "Tad Pad." Davidson College is located in Davidson, N.C., which is only 22 miles (or 30-minute drive) from-you guessed it-the UNC Charlotte campus.

While Ole Miss and UNC Charlotte have not played since 1978, both teams were placed in the NCAA Tournament Midwest Region first and second rounds in Milwaukee, Wisc., in 1999. Both teams won their first round games, but lost in the second round. If UNC Charlotte and Ole Miss had won their second round games, the two schools would have played in the "Sweet Sixteen" in St. Louis.

Ole Miss and UNC Charlotte have played two common opponents this season. The Rebels have a 2-0 record versus those common opponents, while the 49ers are 0-2. The following chart compares the results of those common opponents:

Ole Miss ResultOpponentUNC Charlotte Result
83-75 W (H)South Carolina65-71 L (A)
74-64 W (H)Memphis67-78 L (A)

The Rebels have an all-time record of 67-87 (.435 winning percentage) versus current members of Conference USA. However, Ole Miss has a 6-1 record versus Conference USA teams since the league was formed in the spring of 1995. In all-time NIT action, Ole Miss is 1-2 versus teams from Conference USA. In the 1990s, the Rebels were 7-2 versus members of Conference USA (2-1 versus Southern Mississippi, 2-0 versus Houston, 2-0 versus Louisville, 1-1 versus Memphis). The following chart shows Ole Miss' all-time results versus teams from Conference USA:

Cincinnati0-1N.C. Charlotte1-1
DePaul0-1Saint Louis0-1
Houston2-1Southern Miss.15-4
Louisville2-0South Florida0-0

Sophomore Jason Harrison (Little Rock, Ark.) was named to the Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference third team for the 1999-2000 season. It was the fourth consecutive year that Ole Miss had at least one player named to the Associated Press All-SEC team. Harrison also became the first Rebel sophomore to be named All-SEC since Joe Harvell in 1991 (also All-SEC third team). For the season, the 5-foot-5 guard averaged 9.0 points and 2.8 boards. He leads the team with 108 assists and is second on the squad with 42 steals.

The 1999-2000 campaign has not been as successful as the last three for the Rebels, but Ole Miss is a young squad-similar to another Rebel team in 1995-96 which went on to major success the following seasons. The following charts the similarities between those two teams:

Overall Record12-1517-13
SEC Record6-105-11
SEC Road Record0-80-8
SEC losses by less than 10 pts
(avg. margin of loss)7 (4.7)7 (4.4)
1st 5 SEC games0-50-5
1st SEC winAuburn (#21)Auburn (#4)
Wins vs. ranked teamstwotwo
Last 3 SEC games2-12-1
Regular-season finale4-pt. loss at4-pt. loss at
SEC Tour. 1st-Roundvs. Florida (loss)vs. Florida (loss)
Seniors on team3 (2 JUCOs)2 (2 JUCOs)

Next 3 Seasons3 NCAAs
3 20-win seasons
2 SEC Western
Division titles

Well, for the Rebels, it seems as if that number is 70. In the past four seasons (1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-2000), Ole Miss has an incredible 70-9 record (.886 winning percentage) when it scores 70 points or more in a game. On the other hand, the Rebels are 8-33 when they net less than 70 points in a game over the last four years, including a 2-9 mark this season. This year, the Rebels are 15-3 when scoring 70 points or more. In SEC action the last four seasons (1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-2000), Ole Miss has a 34-6 record (.850 winning percentage) when scoring 70 or more points.

Redshirt sophomore John Engstrom (Paragould, Ark.) was named to the 2000 Southeastern Conference Men's Basketball Academic Honor Roll. This was the second consecutive year that Engstrom earned the honor. The 7-foot center holds a 3.17 cumulative grade-point average in Business. Engstrom has seen action in 20 of the Rebels' 30 games in 1999-2000. He is averaging 1.1 points and 0.9 rebounds, while shooting 52.9 percent from the floor. To be eligible for the SEC Academic Honor Roll, a student-athlete must have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher and must have completed one full year of academic work at the institution.

Junior Jason Flanigan (Little Rock, Ark.) reached the 500-point milestone in his career in the Rebels' regular-season finale at LSU on Mar. 4. The 6-foot-1 guard entered the game with 488 career points, and netted point No. 500 on a free throw at the 5:13 mark of the second half. He finished the LSU game with 14 points. After netting five points versus Florida in the SEC Tournament, he now has 507 career points. This season, Flanigan is the team's fifth-leading scorer with an 8.2 average.

Since he started coming off the bench the last 10 games, sophomore Jason Harrison, dubbed "Little Man" by the coaching staff, has given some strong offensive performances for the Rebels. In the 10-game stretch, the 5-foot-5 guard has averaged 12 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists, while shooting 83.3 percent from the charity stripe. He has scored in double figures in seven of those 10 games, and hit a career-high six field goals versus Georgia. The following charts "Little Man's" last 10 games:

South Carolina14036-6
Mississippi State12444-5
Florida (SEC)20128-10

Don Kessinger, a former Rebel basketball standout from 1962-64, was honored as a member of the 2000 class of the Chick-fil-A SEC Basketball Legends, which featured former greats from all 12 SEC member institutions. The 12 legends were honored at the 2000 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament Mar. 9-12 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga.

Each Chick-fil-A SEC Basketball Legend was recognized at halftime of his institution's first game at the tournament. The legends were also honored as a group during pregame festivities before the first semifinal game on Saturday, March 11 at 12 p.m. (CT). This marked the second year of the basketball legends program, as Ole Miss' John Stroud was honored at the 1999 SEC Tournament.

Kessinger, who played guard at Ole Miss from 1962-64, was an All-America and three-time All-SEC performer in both basketball and baseball. He scored in double figures 33 consecutive games and his 22.2 points per game remains the fourth highest career scoring average in Rebel history. He currently ranks eighth in career points and fourth in free throw percentage. Opting for a professional baseball career, Kessinger played 15 years in the major leagues and was a six-time National League All-Star with the Chicago Cubs.

Well, almost. Coming into the 1999-2000 season, Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes was relying on senior forward Lataryl Williams (Oxford, Miss.) to be more of a scorer for the squad. However, no one could have guessed how important Williams scoring would be. This season, Williams has netted double figures 14 times, and the Rebels have an 11-3 record in those contests. In SEC play, Ole Miss is 4-2 when Williams scores in double figures, with the two setbacks being a two-point loss to Mississippi State (61-59) and a three-point loss to Auburn (75-72). The following chart shows Williams double-digit games and the Rebels' results:

OpponentWilliams' pointsResult
Alabama1363-59 W
Vanderbilt1275-67 W
at Auburn1072-75 L
Arkansas1087-82 W
Auburn1179-77 W
Mississippi State2159-61 L
Birmingham-Southern1089-48 W
Prairie View1398-74 W
Louisiana-Monroe1476-60 W
Memphis1174-64 W
Va. Commonwealth22*75-62 W
Oklahoma1273-81 L
Oregon State1277-58 W
Jacksonville State1574-59 W

*career high

Yes, that is not a misprint. Sophomore Jason Harrison, a 5-foot-5 guard, grabbed a career-best seven boards-yes, seven boards-in the Rebels' 63-59 victory over Alabama on Mar. 1. His previous career high was five rebounds on three occasions. He is averaging nearly three rebounds per game (2.8 rpg) from his guard position this year, and has a 2.2 rebounding average for his career.

Senior Marcus Hicks (Jackson, Tenn.) reached another milestone in his Rebel career, surpassing the 800-point plateau in Ole Miss' game at LSU on Mar. 4. With his 19 points versus Florida in the SEC Tournament on Mar. 9, Hicks now has 821 career points in 63 games. The following chart shows Hicks' scoring milestone moments this season:

Point MilestoneOpponent/DatePoints In Game
No. 400Jacksonville St./Nov. 1914 points
No. 500Oklahoma/Dec. 416 points
No. 600Florida/Jan. 811 points
No. 700Arkansas/Feb. 2*31 points
No. 800LSU/Mar. 45 points

* career high

With its victory over No. 24 nationally-ranked Vanderbilt on Feb. 26, the Ole Miss basketball program guaranteed its fourth consecutive winning season. The last time the Rebel basketball program put together four straight winning seasons was 1979-80 through 1982-83 (17-13, 1979-80, 16-14, 1980-81, 18-12, 1981-82, 19-12, 1982-83). The last time the Rebels had more than four consecutive winning campaigns was nine straight from 1919-20 through 1927-28.

Sophomore Jason Harrison is closing in on the 200-assist plateau. With his two assists versus Florida on Mar. 9, Harrison now has 194 for his career. He recorded the 150th assist of his career in the Rebels' game versus Mississippi State on Jan. 12. The 5-foot-5 guard leads the team with 108 assists this season. With his 100th assist of the season versus Vanderbilt, Harrison became the first Rebel since Cedric Brim in 1994-95 to have 100 assists or more in a season. Harrison also became only the 11th player in Rebel history record 100 or more assists in a season.

Junior Rahim Lockhart (Mendenhall, Miss.) has certainly doubled his pleasure for the Rebels in 1999-2000, as he has recorded 12 double-doubles. His last double-double performance came versus Auburn on Feb. 19 with 14 points and 11 rebounds. His 12 double-doubles ranks him 10th in the nation in that statistical category. Lockhart is currently averaging 12.4 points (18th in SEC) and 8.3 rebounds (3rd in SEC). The following charts Lockhart's double-doubles this season:

Jacksonville St.2911career high pts
McNeese St.1316career high rebs
Furman1514tied car-high blks (4)
Oregon St.1112
Alabama St.1210

The junior forward now has 13 career double-doubles, as his first came last season against Tennessee (Feb. 17, 16 pts-12 rebs).

Junior guard Jason Flanigan reached a milestone in the Rebels' 83-75 victory over South Carolina on Feb. 9, surpassing the 200-assist plateau for his career. He dished out a career-high tying nine assists versus the Gamecocks, and after his three-assist performance versus Florida on Mar. 9, Flanigan now has 219 for his career. He also dished out nine assists versus Northwestern State during his freshman campaign in 1997-98. This season, the 6-foot-1 guard has 90 assists, which is second on team.

With his three blocked shots versus Arkansas on Feb. 2, junior Rahim Lockhart moved into the top five on the Ole Miss career blocked shot chart. The 6-foot-8 forward currently has 79 career blocks and is No. 5 on the chart. In the Arkansas contest, he passed former Rebel Ronnie Sims, who recorded 71 blocked shots in his career from 1985-86. Lockhart leads the Rebels in blocked shots this season with 42, and is sixth in the SEC in blocks. Senior Marcus Hicks pushed his way into the top seven on the Rebel career blocked shots chart, as he now has 70 after his one block versus Florida on Mar. 9. The following chart show the Ole Miss career blocked shots leaders:

Rebel All-Time Blocked Shots Leaders

Player/YearsNo. of Blocked Shots
Sean Murphy/1987-91180
Johnnie Rogers/1996-99114
David Dean/1992-94108
Ansu Sesay/1995-9899
Rahim Lockhart/1997-present79
Ronnie Sims/1985-8671
Marcus Hicks/1998-present70
Patrick Eddie/1989-9168

Senior Marcus Hicks really doubled his pleasure in the Rebels' win over Arkansas on Feb. 2. Hicks' double-double of 31 points and 10 rebounds not only allowed him to reach the 700-point milestone but also surpass the 300-rebound mark. The 6-foot-6 forward entered the Arkansas game with 292 career boards, and his 10 rebounds versus the Razorbacks gave him 302. He now has 348 after grabbing two boards versus Florida on Mar. 9. This season, Hicks is the Rebels' second-leading rebounder with a 5.6 average. He was also the team's second-leading rebounder in 1998-99 with a 5.4 average. Hicks came to Ole Miss from Northwest Mississippi C.C., where he compiled 624 rebounds in two seasons from 1996-98.

With his monster rebounding games this season, junior Rahim Lockhart is close to putting his name among the top rebounders in Ole Miss basketball history. Entering NIT Play, he has 467 career rebounds and needs only 13 boards to enter the top 15 on the Rebel chart. The following abbreviated chart shows the top rebounders in Ole Miss history:

1. Walter Actwood/1974-77945
2. Elston Turner/1978-81828
7. Ansu Sesay/1995-98699
9. Jason Smith/1996-99671
12. Keith Carter/1996-99596
15. Duaine Boucher/1970-72480
Rahim Lockhart/1997-present467

Hopefully, the fourth time is the charm for Ole Miss-again. After three consecutive losses in NCAA Tournament play (1981, 1997, 1998), the Rebels broke through last year, defeating Villanova in their fourth NCAA Tournament game. Ole Miss has dropped its last three contests in NIT action (1989, 1987, 1983)...The first time Ole Miss played UNC Charlotte in the 1977-78 season was after the 49ers advanced to the 1977 NCAA Final Four, where they finished fourth. The 49ers' team leader for that 1976-77 season was Cedric "Cornbread" Maxwell, who went on to have a very successful pro career with Boston Celtics...Ole Miss' Rod Barnes and UNC Charlotte's Bobby Lutz both have a 1-1 record in postseason play as head coach of their respective teams. Both coaches led their teams to first-round victories in the NCAA Tournament last season, before losing in the second round...Freshman John Gunn (Oxford, Miss.) has practiced with the Ole Miss team the past week since recovering from mononucleosis. He has missed nine games, and is doubtful for Wednesday versus UNC Charlotte.



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    • 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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