Ole Miss Basketball Defeats Athletes In Action 70-67 In Exhibition Play Saturday

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Nov. 16, 2002

OXFORD, Miss. - Derrick Allen and Aaron Harper each scored 16 points to lead Ole Miss to a 70-67 victory over Athletes In Action before a crowd of 1,187 at Tad Smith Coliseum Saturday. The Rebels held a 70-67 lead with 10 seconds left, but AIA had a chance to tie the contest but its three-point attempt with :04 on the clock missed.

Trey Pearson added 14 points for the Rebels, and David Sanders nearly recorded a double-double with 12 points and 9 boards. Harper also dished out 6 assists for Ole Miss.

"I feel good about our team, and we played hard," Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes said. "We executed our offense well. We were patient, and I am excited to see our team play together."

The Rebels held a 67-58 lead after two Harper free throws with 3:27 on the clock, but AIA fought back to within two at 69-67 when Stacy Harris hit a three-pointer at the 1:14 mark. AIA had an opportunity to tie, but Kendrick Fox stole the ball with 13 seconds left and passed it to Harper who was fouled. Harper then hit one of his two free throw attempts, setting up AIA's second chance to send the contest to overtime.

"Athletes In Action is a veteran team," Barnes said. "I was concerned coming in because I knew we only had a limited number of players available. This was a good win. I told our guys we need to win every chance we get because winning breeds winning. AIA threw a lot of things at us, and I am pleased with how our team handled it."

Saddi Washington led AIA with 16 points. Other AIA players in double figures were Harris with 15 points, Casey Shaw with 14 and Reed Rawlings with 10. Michael Coleman led AIA on the boards with 7 rebounds. The Rebels had 17 assists and 14 steals and forced 19 AIA turnovers.

"Overall, I was very pleased with the way our team played," Barnes said. "Our defense still needs work, but I am pleased with our team's performance. We played with more intensity tonight. Our team has to continue to be consistent and playing unselfish."

In the first half, Ole Miss jumped out to 21-12 advantage on the strength of Harper's three treys. AIA, though, responded with a 14-4 run to gain its only lead of the contest at 26-25 with 3:49 remaining before intermission. Pearson quickly put the Rebels back in front at 27-26, and Ole Miss carried a narrow 34-30 lead into halftime.

The Rebels shot 51.8 percent from the field, and out-rebounded AIA 31-29. AIA hit 47.2 percent from the floor, 47.1 percent from the arc and 75 percent from the foul line.

Ole Miss opens regular-season play Nov. 24 at East Carolina. Game time for the opener is 1:00 p.m. (CT).

 

 

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