Coach Barnes Prepares His Team For The Sweet 16 Match Up Against Arizona

March 21, 2001

By RALPH D. RUSSO
AP Sports Writer

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - There are times when Mississippi's outside shooters display pinpoint accuracy, raining 3-pointers on opponents.

Then there are games like the two Ole Miss has played in the NCAA tournament, when the Rebels' long-range bombers fire mostly blanks.

It's been that way all season but it hasn't stopped Ole Miss from reaching the round of 16 for the first time.

So as the Rebels prepare for Friday night's Midwest Regional semifinal against Arizona, coach Rod Barnes is not about to start worrying whether the 3s will fall.

"When we shoot the ball well, most of the time we win the game by double figures," he said. "When we don't, we depend on our defense to win the game. That is our style."

Form held for Ole Miss against Iona and Notre Dame. The Rebels, who shoot an ordinary 34.5 percent from 3-point range, hit only 9 of 35 from behind the arc, but made key defensive stops down the stretch to preserve two close victories.

"We are concerned about stopping Arizona ... If our shots go down, they go down. If not, we will move on," Barnes said.

While the Rebels don't wholly rely on 3-pointers, it is an important part of their offense, especially when opponents double-team powerful center Rahim Lockhart in the paint.

Lockhart had 24 points against Notre Dame and was difficult to defend one-on-one. When the Fighting Irish finally doubled Lockhart, Ole Miss rarely made them pay from the perimeter.

Jason Harrison, whose key 3 in the final minute against Notre Dame was one of only three Ole Miss made in 19 attempts, believes the Rebels will regain their touch.

"I feel like the shots will fall sooner or later," said the 5-foot-5 point guard, who is a 38 percent 3-point shooter. "If we put the effort into it, we should be fine."

Harrison, Aaron Harper and Jason Holmes, who combined for 133 3s on 38 percent shooting during the season, are only 4-for-24 in the tournament.

Reserve guard Emmanuel Wade, who was only 9-for-33 from behind the arc heading into the tournament, is the only Rebel who has been on the mark, making 3-of-4 3-pointers.

Point guard Jason Flanigan, who has missed all four of his 3-point shots in the tournament, said it's too late to be concerned.

"We will get the same looks against Arizona and we have to knock those shots down," he said.

 

 

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