Ole Miss Cruises Past Spirit Express, 90-67

Nov. 5, 1999

Box Score

OXFORD, Miss. - Ole Miss, bidding for a fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth, opened its season with a 90-67 exhibition game win Friday over the Spriit Express.

Lataryl Williams led the Rebels with 16 points, while Marcus Hicks and Rahim Lockhart had 15 apiece. The Rebels had 12 players earn at least 10 minutes of playing time, playing a variety of player combinations, coasting to the win before 1,072 in Tad Smith Coliseum.

"There were some things I was pleased with, particularly with the scoring from Lataryl, Marcus and Rahim," Ole Miss coach Rod Barnes said. "But overall we've to get a little more fight and a little more bite on defense."

The Spirit Express, a Christian ministry-based team comprised of former senior college performers, led early. Bob Campbell, a former Delta State standout, connected on a short jumper for the Spirit's biggest lead, 8-4.

In the final 11 minutes of the first half, the Rebels turned the game by going to fullcourt, man-to-man defense. Ole Miss outscored the Spirit 28-12 and forced 13 turnovers to take a 41-26 halftime lead.

Ole Miss took the lead for good with 10:54 left in the half on a Marcus Hicks layup. Rahim Lockhart and Lataryl Williams highlighted a 10-0 run by the Rebels with two dunks and a pair of three-point shots late in the first half.

"I liked the way we played and the combination we had on the floor at that time, said Barnes, noting the rotation of Hicks, Lockhart, Williams, Jason Flanigan and Jason Harrison. "We saw a lot of different player combinations and some I liked and some I didn't. But that group did a nice job late in the first half."

The Spirit opened the second half with a 8-1 surge to pull within 42-34. Greg Gibson hit a layup and a three-point shot for the Spirit, but Ole Miss answered with consecutive dunks by Lockhart and the Spirit never got within 10 points again.

The Rebels built the game's biggest lead at 84-58 on a three- point shot by Darrian Brown with 3:47 remaining. The Rebels had five different players hit three-point shots, but managed only 11- of-26 from the free throw line.

Ole Miss hosts the Ukraine Select team on Nov. 13 in another exhibition contest before opening the regular season on Friday, Nov. 19 by hosting Jacksonville State.

The Spirit Express, with a game-high 28 points from Mike Worley, lost its third consecutivce exhibition game, falling earlier to Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Monroe.

 

 

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