Ole Miss To Meet Memphis In Mid-South Rival Game Saturday

Dec. 7, 2000

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The Ole Miss Rebels (6-0) will take to the road for the second time this season when they renew their Mid-South rivalry with the Memphis Tigers (2-5) in the 'Bluff City.' The game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. (CT) tip at The Pyramid, and will be televised live by WLMT-TV. The Rebels enter Saturday's game on a six-game win streak. Ole Miss defeated Kansas State, 60-46 in its last outing. The Tigers have lost four of their last five games with all four setbacks to nationally-ranked opponents.

Game #7 -- WLMT-TV
Ole Miss (6-0) vs. Memphis (2-5)
Saturday, December 9 -- 7:00 p.m. (CT)
The Pyramid -- Memphis, Tenn.

Rebels on Television and Radio

WLMT-TV (Greg Gaston, analyst, Jon Albright, color analyst)

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

Rod Barnes is in his third season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. He has an overall record of 45-27 (.625 winning percentage). In his first two seasons, Barnes compiled a 39-27 record, and the 39 victories are the most by a Rebel coach in his first two years in Ole Miss history. Last year, Barnes guided Ole Miss to a 19-14 overall record and a berth in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The Rebels advanced to the NIT quarterfinals for the second time in school history. The winning season and postseason tournament both were the fourth straight for the Ole Miss program.

In 1998-99, Barnes led Ole Miss to a 20-13 overall record and a third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The Satartia, Miss., native was the first head coach in the history of Rebel basketball to win 20 games in his first 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. 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).

Saturday's game will be the 31st meeting between the two schools, and will be the third straight year that the two teams have played on the hardwood. The Tigers lead the overall series, 22-8. Last season, the Rebels defeated Memphis, 74-64 in Oxford. Prior to the last two encounters, the last time Ole Miss and Memphis played was in the 1985-86 season. Before the Rebels' victory last season, the Tigers had won the last eight meetings, including three overtime games. Memphis won the 1998-99 meeting, a 78-72 overtime thriller in The Pyramid.

The Tigers, under the direction of first-year coach John Calipari, enter Saturday's game with a 2-5 overall record. All five of Memphis' losses have been to nationally-ranked teams. Junior forward Kelly Wise leads the Tigers in scoring and rebounding with averages of 17.0 points and 11.3 boards. Wise has been the Tigers' top rebounder in all seven games and the team's leading scorer in six games. Senior Marcus Moody, who has missed the last two games, is the squad's second-leading scorer with an 8.2 average. Moody (61.5 percent) and Shyrone Chatman (64.3) are the Tigers' top three-point threats, as both are shooting over 60 percent from the arc. Memphis is shooting 40.6 percent from the floor, 34.1 percent from the three-point line and 68.4 percent from the foul line. The Tigers are out-rebounding their opponents by an average of 3.6 boards per game.

The Rebels have an all-time record of 68-87 (.438 winning percentage) versus current members of Conference USA. However, Ole Miss has a 7-1 record versus Conference USA teams since the league was formed in the spring of 1995. Last year, Ole Miss was 2-0 versus teams from Conference USA, defeating Memphis (74-64) and Charlotte (62-45, NIT first round). Since the 1990-91 season, the Rebels are 8-2 versus members of Conference USA (2-1 versus Southern Mississippi, 2-0 versus Houston, 2-0 versus Louisville, 1-0 versus Charlotte, 1-1 versus Memphis).

With their win over Kansas State Dec. 5, the Rebels opened the 2000-01 season with a 6-0 record. It is the second straight season that Ole Miss has done so. The Rebels began 1999-2000 with a 6-0 record. Last year's 6-0 start was the program's first since the 1973-74 Rebels also began their season 6-0. The 1970-71, 1966-67, 1959-60 and 1955-56 teams also started their seasons with 6-0 marks.

With a victory over Memphis Saturday, Ole Miss would improve its record to 7-0 to start the season. The last time an Ole Miss team began a season with a better record than the current mark of 6-0 was in 1936-37 when the Rebels had an 11-0 start.

The Rebels have a 1-5 record in games played in The Pyramid since the facility opened in the 1991-92 season. Ole Miss' last trip to the Pyramid came in the 1998-99 season, a 78-72 overtime setback to the Tigers. Ole Miss also hosted Arkansas (1993-94) and Kentucky (1994-95) in a regular-season games at The Pyramid in consecutive campaigns in the mid-1990s. The Rebels' other appearances came in the 1994 and 1997 Southeastern Conference tournaments.

After wins this week over two Big 12 Conference opponents, the Rebels may want to think about changing leagues, but Ole Miss is not planning a move to the Big 12 Conference. The Rebel schedule has a strong Big 12 Conference flavor in the month of December. Ole Miss defeated No. 14-ranked Oklahoma (60-55) and Kansas State (60-46) this week, and could meet Iowa State in the Pearl Harbor Invitational Dec. 21-23.

The Tigers could make a case for that this week with three consecutive games versus Southeastern Conference foes. Memphis lost at Arkansas (74-68) and at Tennessee (86-76) this week, and hosts Ole Miss Saturday.

In last nine years (including 2000-01 season), the Rebels have posted a 71-28 record (.717 winning percentage) versus non-conference opponents. Non-conference foes have found Ole Miss especially tough the last six seasons (1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01), as the Rebels have an impressive 55-15 mark (.786 winning percentage) against out-of-conference teams.

Senior Jason Holmes (Tylertown, Miss.) scored a career-high 17 points in the Rebels' victory over Kansas State Dec. 5, breaking his previous high of 15 points versus Furman in the 1999-2000 campaign. The 6-foot-5 guard also recorded career bests with six field goals and tied a career high with three treys.

Aside from his offensive outburst in the Kansas State game, Holmes has had solid performances in Ole Miss' first six games?especially on the defensive end. For the season, Holmes has 12 assists, two blocked shots and six steals. He is also averaging 3.0 rebounds from his guard spot.

The old saying is that defense wins championships. If that is the case, Ole Miss may be in contention for a title in 2000-01, especially if the Rebels can continue to hassle the opposition with their defensive pressure.

Ole Miss is holding its opponents to an average of 59.8 points per game, which is second best in the Southeastern Conference. In the Rebels' last three games, they have been stingy on defense, allowing only 54.3 points per game.

Senior Jason Flanigan (Little Rock, Ark.) has gained a reputation as one of the top defenders in the Southeastern Conference. That reputation may now extend nationwide after his two brilliant defensive showings in the Rebel victories over No. 14-ranked Oklahoma and Kansas State.

In the win over the Sooners, Flanigan held Hollis Price, Oklahoma's leading scorer, to five points on 2-of-8 shooting from the field. Price came into the contest averaging 17.0 points and hitting 62 percent from the floor. Then, in the Rebels' next contest versus Kansas State, Flanigan picked up where he left off in the Oklahoma game. The 6-foot-1 guard held Phineas Atchison, the Wildcats' top scorer, to seven points on 3-of-10 shooting from the floor. Atchison entered the game averaging 14.5 points and shooting 40.8 percent from the field.

Senior Rahim Lockhart (Mendenhall, Miss.) had a career-high six steals in the Rebels' victory over Kansas State Dec. 5. Lockhart's previous career best was five steals on two occasions, with the last time coming in the Rebels' victory over Southwest Missouri State game in the NIT second round Mar. 21. For his career, the 6-foot-8 forward has 116 steals. On his current pace of 2.7 steals per game (16 steals in six games), Lockhart would have 78 swipes for the season and would finish his career in third place on the Ole Miss career steals chart.

Freshman Aaron Harper (Jackson, Miss.) was en fuego?on fire?in the Rebels' victory over No. 14-ranked Oklahoma Dec. 2. The 6-foot-7 forward/guard missed only one shot in his career-high, 18-point performance versus the Sooners. Harper was 4-of-5 from the field, with all his field goal attempts from beyond the three-point arc. He was also 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. For the season, Harper is shooting 42.9 percent from the three-point line and 90.9 percent (20-of-22) from the foul line.

The Rebels haven't had a reputation for hitting a high percentage >from the charity stripe the last couple of seasons, especially down the stretch in games. However, that may be changing in 2000-01. Ole Miss is hitting nearly 70 percent from the foul line for the season (69.6 percent, to be exact), but more importantly, the Rebels are hitting their foul shots down the stretch. In their three narrow wins over Sam Houston State, VCU and Oklahoma, the Rebels shot 76.5 percent from the line (26-of-34) in the final four minutes (and overtime) of those games.

The trio of Aaron Harper, Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.) and David Sanders (Jackson, Miss.)?the 'Provine Posse'?came up big again in the Rebels' victory over No. 14-ranked Oklahoma Dec. 2. The trio combined for 38 of Ole Miss' 60 points in the game, with Harper scoring a career-best 18 points. The trio shot 61.1 percent from the field (11-of-18), 57.1 percent from the three-point line (4of-7) and 70.5 percent from the charity stripe (12-of-17). Harper, Reed and Sanders also combined for nine boards in the victory.

With his 12-rebound performance versus Arkansas-Pine Bluff Nov. 18, senior Rahim Lockhart became the 15th player in Rebel basketball history to grab 500 boards in a career. He now has 554 career rebounds, after grabbing eight boards in the Rebels' victory over Kansas State Dec. 5. Lockhart is now in the No. 14 spot on the Ole Miss career rebounding list, and needs only two more rebounds to take over the No. 13 spot currently held by Roger Stieg (1980-83, 555 career rebounds). Lockhart entered the 1999-2000 season with 278 boards, and with his 220 rebounds in 1999-2000, he had 498 rebounds coming into the 2000-01 campaign.

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 25-3 record (.893 winning percentage) in the month of November. The Rebels have won 11 straight in the month of November, with their last loss coming at then-No. 7 nationally-ranked Temple (68-52, Nov. 18, 1998).

While the Rebels are nearly unbeatable in the month of November, their record in the month of December since the 1990-91 season isn't so bad either. Ole Miss has a 46-25 record (.648 winning percentage) in December games since the 1990-91 campaign. Ole Miss was 6-1 in the month of December last season, with the lone setback being an 81-73 loss at Oklahoma.

This year's senior class of Jason Flanigan and Rahim Lockhart and junior redshirt John Engstrom (Paragould, Ark.) are closing in on the record of most victories by a class in a four-year span. The record is 74 wins by the 1998-99 class of Hunter Carpenter, Keith Carter, Jason Smith and Michael White. After Ole Miss' victory over Kansas State Dec. 5, this class has now won 67 games, just seven behind the record. This senior class has also been a part of the 1998 SEC Western Division championship squad and has been to three straight postseasons (2 NCAA, 1 NIT).

Well, for the Rebels, it seems as if that number is 70. Since the 1996-97 season and including this campaign, Ole Miss has an incredible 75-9 record (.893 winning percentage) when it scores 70 points or more. On the other hand, the Rebels are 11-34 when they net less than 70 points during that five-year period (including 2000-01). Last year, the Rebels were 16-3 when scoring 70 points or more. This season, Ole Miss has a 4-0 record when scoring 70 points or more.

Senior Rahim Lockhart is picking up where he left off last year?doubling his pleasure. Lockhart came into the 2000-01 season with 14 career double-doubles, and he recorded his 16th double-double performance in Ole Miss' win over Louisiana-Monroe (16 points-10 rebounds) Nov. 28. He also had a double-double (17-12) versus Arkansas-Pine Bluff Nov. 18. Last year, Lockhart had 13 double-doubles, which ranked him in the top 10 in the nation in that statistical category. His first career double-double came versus Tennessee (16-12) as a sophomore in the 1998-99 season.

The Ole Miss Rebels were picked to finish in sixth place in the SEC Western Division in a vote by media members at the annual conference media days Nov. 1-2 in Birmingham, Ala. Arkansas was picked to win the SEC Western Division championship, while Tennessee was selected to win both the SEC overall title and the Eastern Division crown.

Freshman Justin Reed recorded the first double-double of his collegiate career in the Rebels' victory over Virginia Commonwealth Nov. 25. Reed had 16 points and 13 boards, which are career highs. The 6-foot-8 forward also had one blocked shot and two steals in the win. After five games, Reed is averaging 12.4 points and 6.8 rebounds.

Senior Rahim Lockhart tied a career high with four blocked shots in the Rebels' win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff Nov. 18. The 6-foot-8 forward entered the 2000-01 season with 83 career blocks, which is the fifth most in Rebel basketball history. With his three blocks in the Rebels' win over Kansas State, Lockhart now has 95 for his career. Lockhart led the Rebels in blocked shots the previous two seasons with 44 and 46 blocks, respectively.

The Rebels were hot from the free throw line in their Nov. 25 win over VCU. Ole Miss shot 78.4 percent from the foul line, hitting 29-of-37. The last time Ole Miss shot better from the foul line with over 30 attempts was back in the 1997-98 campaign. The Rebels hit 81.8 percent (27-of-33) from the charity stripe in an 82-78 victory over Mississippi State in Starkville (Feb. 21, 1998). The last time that the Rebels shot better (no limit on attempts) was 80 percent from the line (16-of-20) in last year's NIT second-round victory over Southwest Missouri State.

The Provine High School trio of Aaron Harper, Justin Reed and David Sanders, nicknamed the 'Provine Posse,' took a couple of games to adjust to the collegiate level, but they have and came up big in the Rebels' win at VCU. All three netted double figures in the win, as Reed had 16, Sanders 13 and Harper 10. But, it wasn't as much their scoring as when they stepped up, and the following charts their big plays in the VCU win:

  • Lockhart picked up his second foul at the 11:36 mark of the first half and went to the bench. From that point, Reed scored eight points and grabbed seven boards the rest of the half.
  • With time running down in the first half, Sanders capped a 10-0 run with a layup at the buzzer to pull the Rebels to within six at 40-34 at the break.
  • Two Harper free throws cut the VCU lead to 71-70 with 1:14 left in regulation, setting up Jason Harrison's three-point basket to put Ole Miss ahead 73-72 with under a minute to play.
  • Harper nailed a three-pointer to give Ole Miss the lead for good in overtime at 76-73.
  • Sanders hit two free throws with :36 left in overtime to give Ole Miss an 84-78 lead.
  • Harper clinched the victory with two free throws with :06 on the clock.

For the 2000-01 Rebels, the season theme could be 'The Drive for Five'?as in five straight winning seasons and five consecutive postseason tournament berths. Ole Miss enters 2000-01 on the momentum of four straight winning campaigns (20-9, 1996-97, 22-7, 1997-98, 20-13, 1998-99, 19-14, 1999-2000) and four consecutive postseason tournament bids (NCAA?1997, 1998, 1999, NIT?2000). 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 five or more consecutive winning campaigns was nine straight from 1919-20 through 1927-28. The Rebel program has never played in five straight postseason tournaments.

After its 1999 recruiting class was ranked No. 26 in the nation, Ole Miss took another step up the ladder to national prominence when its 2000 class was ranked as high as No. 10 in the country. The 2000 class of Derrick Allen (Gadsden, Ala.), Aaron Harper, Justin Reed and David Sanders was ranked No. 10 by HOOP SCOOP and No. 23 by The Recruiting Beat. According to the HOOP SCOOP rankings, Ole Miss had the top recruiting class in the SEC.

Ole Miss is really doing the job on the defensive end of the floor, nearly doubling the steals output of its opponents (60-31)...With their win over the No. 14-ranked Sooners, the Rebels have defeated at least one ranked team every season since 1994-95...Rahim Lockhart needs five points to reach the 800-point plateau for his career...Memphis head coach John Calipari has a 5-4 record versus teams from the SEC, with all the encounters coming when he coached at UMass...Saturday's game is the third of the current six-game series between the two schools. The series returns to Oxford next year.



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