Men's Basketball Game Notes
Nov. 29, 2002
Date: November 30, 2002
OLE MISS PROBABLES
GEORGE MASON PROBABLES
OLE MISS/GEORGE MASON TEAM COMPARISONS
REBEL GAME NOTES
OLE MISS ON THE ROAD AGAIN AT GEORGE MASON ON SATURDAY: The Rebels take to the road for the second time this week, traveling to Fairfax, Va., to meet the George Mason Patriots on Saturday, Nov. 30. Game time is 6:00 p.m. (CT).
Ole Miss (1-1) bounced back after its season-opening loss at East Carolina with a 74-58 home victory over Alabama State Nov. 27. The game was the home opener for the Rebels.
George Mason opened the 2002-03 season with two road setbacks at Central Michigan 61-58 and Southern Illinois 83-74. Saturday's contest will be the Patriots' home opener.
BARNES IN FIFTH SEASON AS REBEL MENTOR: Rod Barnes is in his fifth season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. The 2001 Naismith and CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year, Barnes has an 87-47 record (.649 winning percentage). He is 1-1 in 2002-03. The 86 wins in his first four seasons were the most by a Rebel coach in that span of time in Ole Miss history. Last year, Barnes, the 2001 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, guided Ole Miss to a 20-11 overall record and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The winning season and postseason tournament both were the sixth straight for the Ole Miss program.
Barnes was hired as the Rebel head coach on April 9, 1998. 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 (7th; 154).
OLE MISS-GEORGE MASON SERIES: The Patriots lead the all-time series 1-0. George Mason defeated Ole Miss 71-70 in Oxford last year. The Patriot victory ended the Rebels' 44-game homecourt win streak against non-conference opponents. At the time, the streak was the second longest in the country.
SCOUTING GEORGE MASON: The Patriots enter Saturday's game with a 0-2 record, but both were narrow road losses at Central Michigan (61-58) and Southern Illinois (83-74). Head coach Jim Larranaga is in his sixth season at George Mason and had an 84-64 record. He has guided the Patriots to the postseason the last two years (2002 NIT, 2001 NCAA). The Patriots were selected to finish second in the Colonial Athletic Association in a poll of the league's coaches. UNC Wilmington was picked to win the league.
Junior college transfer Mark Davis leads the Patriots in scoring (23.0 ppg), rebounding (5.5 rpg), three-point field goal percentage (35.7) and steals (9). Junior guard Raoul Heinen is also averaging double figures with a 14.0 average. Freshman forward Jai Lewis is the squad's top field goal shooter at 77.8 percent (7-of-9). George Mason is shooting 44.8 percent from the field, 29.2 percent from the three-point arc and 70.5 percent from the charity stripe.
OLE MISS VERSUS THE CAA: Saturday's game versus George Mason will be only the sixth time that the Rebels have faced a current member of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). Ole Miss has a 2-3 record versus teams from the CAA. The Rebels are 2-0 versus Virginia Commonwealth and 0-1 versus George Mason, Hofstra and James Madison.
The last two times the Rebels played a CAA member were memorable. Last year, George Mason and Ole Miss played a thriller in Oxford, with the Patriots taking a 71-70 win. The George Mason victory snapped the Rebels' 44-game homecourt win streak versus non-league opponents, which was the second longest in the nation at the time. In the 2000-01 season, Ole Miss defeated VCU 88-84 in an overtime heart-stopper in Richmond, Va. That contest proved to be a big boost in the Rebels' season and the team's run to the NCAA Tournament "Sweet Sixteen."
LOVE THOSE NOVEMBER GAMES!!!: The Rebels love to play games in November and it shows in their record in contests played during that month. Since the 1990-91 campaign, Ole Miss has a 30-5 record (.857 winning percentage) in the month of November. Ole Miss is 1-1 this November. The Rebels were 4-1 in November last year, with the lone setback an 82-78 overtime loss to Bowling Green. Prior to that loss, the Rebels had won 11 straight in the month of November.
A GOOD SIGN?: In the Rod Barnes' era, the Rebels have played the weekend following Thanksgiving every year, and it seems as if the holiday doesn't slow them down. Ole Miss has a 6-0 record under Barnes when playing the weekend after Thanksgiving, including 5-0 away from Oxford. The following shows the Rebels' success in contests the weekend after Thanksgiving:
Date Opponent Score 11/24/01 at Kansas State 67-65 W 11/25/00 at VCU (ot) 88-84 W 11/28/99 Wisconsin-Green Bay* 57-53 W 11/27/99 Oregon State* 77-58 W 11/26/99 Furman* 75-61 W 11/28/98 Austin Peay 105-62 W * SoCon Holiday Hoops Tournament in Greenville, S.C.
REBELS TOUGH ON NON-CONFERENCE FOES IN RECENT YEARS: In the last 10 years (including 2002-03), the Rebels have posted an 86-29 record (.748 winning percentage) versus non-conference opponents. Non-conference foes have found Ole Miss especially tough the last eight seasons (1995-96 through 2002-03), as the Rebels have an impressive 74-21 mark (.779 winning percentage) against out-of-conference teams. The following shows Ole Miss' non-conference record the last 10 years:
Year Record 1993-94 7-3 1994-95 5-5 1995-96 6-4 1996-97 8-3 1997-98 9-2 1998-99* 11-4 1999-2000* 14-2 2000-01* 14-2 2001-02* 11-3 2002-03* 1-1 Totals 86-29 *Totals Under Barnes 51-12
GUNN'S A-BLAZING: Indeed, redshirt junior John Gunn (Oxford, Miss.) came out on fire in the Rebels' victory over Alabama State Nov. 27. After being away from the court for over a year with a kidney illness, the 6-foot-10 forward scored a career-high 16 points against the Hornets. The 16-point performance bested his previous career high of 14 points against Tennessee in the 1999-2000 campaign (Gunn's freshman year). He scored his 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field, and the 8 field goals were also a career best.
Gunn also got the starting nod for the game, which was the second of his career and the first since the 1999-2000 season (started against Prairie View on Dec. 29, 1999).
GETTING DEFENSIVE: Defense has always been a trademark of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program, and it is continuing in the early part of the 2002-03 campaign. After two games, Ole Miss is holding opponents to 39.3 percent shooting from the field and 21.2 percent from the three-point arc. The Rebels are also holding the opposition to 61.5 points per game.
Last year, Ole Miss finished third in the league in scoring defense, allowing only 64.3 points per contest.
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF CHARITY: Entering the 2001-02 season, free throw shooting had been a weak spot in the Ole Miss armor. But that changed last year, as the Rebels shot 73.8 percent from the charity stripe. The 73.8 percentage from the foul line led the Southeastern Conference last season, and tied for fourth best for a single season in Ole Miss history.
Move forward to 2002-03 and it looks as if the Rebels are going to continue that good fortune from the charity stripe. After two games, Ole Miss is hitting 79.3 percent from the free throw line (23-of-29).
BARNES GOING FOR CENTURY MARK...: Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes enters the 2002-03 season going after a milestone of his own. After the Rebels' win over Alabama State Nov. 27, Barnes now has 87 victories and needs only 13 to reach 100 for his career. The 87 victories are tied for second most in Ole Miss history, trailing only B.L. "Country" Graham (145). With the Rebels' next victory, Barnes will be the program's second-winningest coach ever. If Barnes is successful in reaching 100 victories, he would be only the second Rebel mentor to do so. Barnes is the only coach in the program's history to average 20 or more wins per season. The following lists the winningest coaches in Rebel history:
... WHILE THE REBELS GO FOR THE MILLENNIUM: The Ole Miss Rebel basketball program will be going after a milestone as well in 2002-03. Ole Miss entered the season with 992 all-time victories, needing only eight to reach 1,000. After their 74-58 victory over Alabama State Nov. 27, the Rebels' all-time record is now 993-1081.
HARPER REACHES 700 POINTS: Junior Aaron Harper (Jackson, Miss.) passed a milestone Nov. 24 against East Carolina. The 6-foot-7 forward/guard netted 15 points against the Pirates to push him over 700 points for his career. He now has 716 points. On his current pace, Harper would reach the 1,000-point plateau this year.
THRICE WOULD BE NICE: Entering the 2002-03 season, the Rebels have three players - Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.), David Sanders (Jackson, Miss.) and Aaron Harper - who could top 1,000 points for their careers. If all three reach the milestone this year, it would be the first time in Ole Miss basketball history that three Rebels hit the 1,000-point plateau in the same season. After the Rebels' Nov. 27 game against Alabama State, Reed now has 861 points, Sanders 652 and Harper 716. Although he scored most of his points at Towson University, senior transfer Shaun Holtz (Crystal Springs, Miss.) could also reach 1,000 points for his collegiate career. He has 743 points. The last time Ole Miss had multiple players reach 1,000 points in the same season was 1997-98 when Ansu Sesay and Keith Carter did so.
PEARSON GETS FIRST COLLEGIATE START: It's rare when a freshman gets the starting nod in his first collegiate game, but that is what Trey Pearson (South Fulton, Tenn.) did when the Rebels played at East Carolina Nov. 24. The 6-foot-4 guard had 7 points, 3 assists and two rebounds in his debut. He followed that with a 6-point, 5-rebound, 5-assist performance in Ole Miss' victory over Alabama State Nov. 27. He also started the Alabama State game.
Pearson is only the fourth true freshman since 1995-96 to start his first college game. Jason Smith did so in the 1995-96 season opener, and current Rebels Aaron Harper and Justin Reed also started their first collegiate game in Ole Miss' 2000-01 opener.
WILL SEVEN BE LUCKY FOR THE REBELS?: Many say that seven is the lucky number, and the Ole Miss Rebels hope that is true for them in 2002-03. Ole Miss will be looking to extend both its winning season and postseason tournament bid streaks to seven straight. If the Rebels are successful with another winning record in 2002-03, it would be the program's seventh straight, which would be the longest winning stretch in Ole Miss history since the Rebels had nine-consecutive winning seasons from 1919-20 through 1927-28. The current string of six-straight postseason tournament appearances (1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002 NCAA; 2000 NIT) is the longest in Ole Miss history.
OLE MISS PICKED FOURTH IN WEST BY MEDIA: The Ole Miss Rebels were picked to finish in fourth place in the Southeastern Conference Western Division in a vote by media members at the annual conference media day Oct. 30 in Birmingham, Ala. Alabama was picked to win the SEC overall title and the Western Division crown, while Florida was selected to win the Eastern Division championship. The following shows the media's picks for the 2002-03 campaign (first-place votes in parentheses):
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 129 games (overall games) since 1996-97, the most by any team in the SEC Western Division. The 129 victories are also second among all league teams, only trailing Kentucky's 169 wins. The following charts show the Rebels' success:
Most Overall/SEC Wins By SEC West Teams
Most Overall/SEC Wins By SEC Teams (Top 6)
INDEED, EXPERIENCE COUNTS: One reason that Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is smiling about the 2002-03 season is because of the number of veterans returning. Four starters are back from the 2001-02 team, and when Ole Miss has had three or more starters return for the following season since 1995-96, it has resulted in a 20-win season and an NCAA Tournament berth. The following chart shows that:
AT THE HEAD OF THE CLASS(ES): As a result of the Rebels' success the last six seasons, the recent seniors have taken their places at the top of the charts for the most wins by a senior class. The 2002-03 senior class of Shaun Holtz (Crystal Springs, Miss.), Richard Kirklin (Pine Bluff, Ark.), David Sanders (Jackson, Miss.) and Emmanuel Wade (Marianna, Ark.) entered the year with 66 victories, which was 22 shy of tying the record of 88. After the Rebels' win over Alabama State Nov. 27, the 2002-03 senior class now has 67 victories. The record of 88 wins was set by the 2000-01 class of John Engstrom, Jason Flanigan, Jason Holmes and Rahim Lockhart. Last year's senior class of Jason Harrison posted the second-most victories with 86 in a four-year span. The 2002-03 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:
Four-Year Span No. of Wins 1997-98 to 2000-01 88 1998-99 to 2001-02 86 1995-96 to 1998-99 74 1979-80 to 1982-83 70 1999-2000 to present 67 1935-36 to 1938-39 63 1994-95 to 1997-98 62 1978-79 to 1981-82 62 1923-24 to 1926-27 62
OLE MISS RANKED IN TOP 50 IN FIVE PRESEASON PUBLICATIONS/WEB SITES: The Rebels were ranked among the top 50 teams in the country in five preseason publications. Ole Miss is No. 40 in Basketball News, No. 43 in Sporting News, No. 36 in Lindy's, No. 40 in ESPN.com and No. 33 in ESPN.com Bracketology.
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