Men's Basketball Hopes to Tame Tigers

December 11, 1998

Game #9 - Ole Miss (7-1) vs. Memphis (5-2)
Saturday, December 12 - 7:00 p.m. (CT)
The Pyramid - Memphis, Tenn.

OLE MISS BEGINS FOUR-GAME ROAD SWING IN MEMPHIS ON SATURDAY
The Ole Miss Rebels (7-1) will open their four-game road swing with a 7:00 p.m. (CT) contest at Memphis (5-2) on Saturday, Dec. 12. Ole Miss enters Saturday's game on a five-game winning streak after home victories over Alabama A&M (89-45), Austin Peay State (105-62), Northeast Louisiana (95-62), Louisville (88-69) and West Alabama (101-68). Memphis, a member of Conference USA, brings a two-game win streak into Saturday's contest. The Tigers defeated Vanderbilt (65-56) on Dec. 5 and Jackson State (73-65) on Dec. 8.

SCOUTING MEMPHIS
Memphis, a member of Conference USA, brings a 5-2 overall record into Saturday's game. The Tigers are 5-1 at home in The Pyramid. Senior All-America candidate Omar Sneed leads the Memphis offense with a 17.9 scoring average. He is also second on the team with a 6.3 rebounding average. Sophomore guard Marcus Moody is the only other Tiger scoring in double figures with a 13.3 average. The Tigers' leading rebounder is senior Jermaine Ousley with 7.6 boards per contest. Memphis, as a team, is averaging 76.1 points per game, and is shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 71.1 percent from the free throw line. The Tigers are out-rebounding their opponents by an average of 4.6 boards per game (39.7-35.1). Head coach Tic Price is in his second year at the helm of the Tiger program and has a 22-14 record.

PROBABLE STARTERS

No. Player (Yr.)           Pos.  Ht.  Wt.  PPG   RPG  Hometown
 4  Jason Smith (Sr.)      F     6-6  220  11.5  4.6  Wheatley, Ark.
24  Marcus Hicks (Jr.)     F     6-6  200  14.5  6.6  Jackson, Tenn.
44  Rahim Lockhart (So.)   F     6-8  250   8.9  5.6  Mendenhall, Miss.
22  Michael White (Sr.)    G     6-1  180   3.1  2.4  Tempe, Ariz.
33  Keith Carter (Sr.)     G     6-4  195  14.4  4.4  Perryville, Ark.
RESERVES
No. Player (Yr.)           Pos.  Ht.  Wt.   PPG  RPG  Hometown
00  Jon Cantrell (Sr.)     F     6-8  225   5.9  2.1  Germantown, Tenn.
 3  Jason Flanigan (So.)   G     6-1  175   5.9  2.5  Little Rock, Ark.
11  Hunter Carpenter (Sr.) G     6-0  180   5.0  0.5  Little Rock, Ark.
12  Jason Harrison (Fr.)   G     5-5  150   5.1  1.8  Little Rock, Ark.
13  Johnnie Rogers (Sr.)   F     6-9  220   2.7  2.0  Laurel, Miss.
20  Matt Pruitt (Fr.)      G     6-4  185   3.4  1.3  Jonesboro, Ark.
21  Darrian Brown (Fr.)    F     6-6  200   6.6  2.7  West Memphis, Ark.
23  Syniker Taylor (Fr.)   G     6-2  195            Gulfport, Miss.#
25  Lataryl Williams (Jr.) G     6-6  200   6.3  2.4  Oxford, Miss.
54  John Engstrom (Fr.)    C     7-0  245   1.3  2.0  Paragould, Ark.%
#will miss the 1998-99 season as a result of a broken left fibula and dislocated ankle suffered in football practice Nov. 4
% redshirted in 1997-98

BARNES TAKES OVER REBEL PROGRAM
Rod Barnes is in his first season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. He posted his first victory as head coach on Nov. 13 when the Rebels defeated Alabama State, 87-45. He now has a 7-1 record after the Rebels defeated West Alabama on Dec. 7. Barnes was hired as the Rebel head coach on April 9, 1998, after Rob Evans left to take the head coaching position at Arizona State on April 6. 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 (16th; 1,201 points), assists (2nd; 456) and steals (5th; 154).

OLE MISS-MEMPHIS SERIES
Saturday's game will be the 29th meeting between the two schools, but it will be the first encounter between the Rebels and the Tigers since the 1985-86 season. The Tigers lead the all-time series, 21-7. Memphis won the last meeting, a 73-56 victory on Dec. 17, 1985. The Tigers have won the last seven meetings, including two overtime games. The last Ole Miss victory in the series was a 92-89 win on Dec. 26, 1978 (1978-79 season) in Jackson, Miss.

LAST MEETING - December 17, 1985

#10 Memphis 73, Ole Miss 56

Memphis' William Beford scored a game-high 23 points, and Vincent Askew added 11 points to lead the No. 10 nationally-ranked Tigers to a 73-56 victory over Ole Miss before a crowd of 11,200 at Mid-South Coliseum. Beford also recorded 12 boards and five blocked shots in the victory. Baskerville Holmes added eight rebounds for the Tigers.

Bruce Tranbarger led the Rebels with 17 points, while Eric Smith scored 15 points. Smith also grabbed seven rebounds.

Memphis came out hot in the early going, but the Rebels proved to be just as hot from the field, as the Tigers held a 15-12 lead at the 12:18 mark of the first half. Over the next few minutes, Bedford began to take control in the post, as Memphis stretched it lead to 23-12. Ole Miss tried to stay within strking distance, but still found themselves down, 37-27 at the intermission.

In the second half, the Rebels cut the Memphis lead to nine points on two occasions, but could get no closer the rest of the game.

Ole Miss shot 38.1 percent from the field, while the Tigers hit 41.8 percent from the floor.

BARNES AMONG ELITE COACHING GROUP; AND THEN THERE WERE TWO
Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is a member of a very special group in Rebel basketball history with his 7-1 start to the 1998-99 season. Barnes is only the second coach in Ole Miss basketball history to begin his first season at the helm with a 7-1 record. Homer Hazel (1925-26) is the only other Rebel coach to begin his first campaign with a 7-1 record. In that 1925-26 season, Hazel went 16-1 before losing the final game of the season for a final record of 16-2 in his first year.

REBELS VERSUS CONFERENCE USA
The Rebels have an all-time record of 66-86 (.434 winning percentage) versus current members of Conference USA. However, Ole Miss has a perfect 5-0 record versus Conference USA teams since the league was formed in the spring of 1995. In the 1990s, the Rebels are 6-1 versus members of Conference USA (2-1 versus Southern Mississippi; 2-0 versus Houston; 2-0 versus Louisville). The Rebels defeated Louisville (88-69) on Dec. 5, and may also meet another Conference USA team this season, as UAB is participating in the Puerto Rico Holiday Shootout (Dec. 21-23). The following chart shows Ole Miss' all-time results versus teams from Conference USA:

Ala.-Birmingham 4-1 Memphis 7-21 Cincinnati 0-1 N.C. Charlotte 1-1 DePaul 0-1 Saint Louis 0-1 Houston 2-1 Southern Miss. 15-4 Louisville 2-0 South Florida 0-0 Marquette 0-0 Tulane 35-55

OLE MISS IN THE PYRAMID
The Rebels have a 1-3 record in games played in The Pyramid since the facility opened in 1992. Ole Miss hosted Kentucky in a regular-season game at The Pyramid in the 1994-95 season. The Rebels' other appearances came in the 1994 and 1997 Southeastern Conference tournaments. The following are the Rebels' results in The Pyramid:
Date            Opponent                        Result
Mar. 10, 1994   South Carolina (SEC Tournament) 57-80 L
Jan. 18, 1995   Kentucky                        65-82 L
Mar. 7, 1997    Vanderbilt (SEC Tournament)     64-62 W
Mar. 8, 1997    Kentucky (SEC Tournament)       70-88 L
REBELS TOUGH ON NON-CONFERENCE FOES IN RECENT YEARS
In last seven years (including 1998-99), the Rebels have posted a 47-21 record (.691 winning percentage) versus non-conference opponents. Non-conference foes have found Ole Miss especially tough the last four seasons (1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99), as the Rebels have an impressive 30-8 mark (.789 winning percentage) against out-of-conference teams. The following shows Ole Miss' non-conference record over the previous seven years, including 1998-99:

1992-93 5-5 1994-95 5-5 1996-97 8-2 1998-99 7-1 1993-94 7-3 1995-96 6-4 1997-98 9-1

BACK TO THE FUTURE?
It has been nearly 13 years since Ole Miss and Memphis have met on the hardwood, but there are still some former Rebel basketball players from that game who are still involved with Ole Miss athletics. The three Rebels are Rod Barnes, Derek Horne and Keith Kessinger. Barnes is now the Ole Miss head basketball coach. Horne is an Ole Miss Assistant Athletic Director for Administration, while Kessinger is an assistant coach for the Rebel baseball program.

HICKS ON A (SCORING) ROLL
Junior transfer Marcus Hicks (Jackson, Tenn.) has been on a roll of late, especially on the offensive end. In the Rebels' last three games, Hicks scored 20 or more points with performances of 20 points versus Northeast Louisiana (Dec. 2), 24 versus Louisville (Dec. 5) and 21 versus West Alabama (Dec. 7). His 24 points versus Louisville was a career high. He scored his career-high 24 points on 11-of-13 shooting from the field (.846) and 2-of-4 from the free throw line. Hicks also recorded a career-high four assists in the win over Louiville. In the Rebels' win over Alabama A&M on Nov. 23, Hicks posted his first double-double at Ole Miss with 17 points and 13 rebounds. The 13 boards were a career high. Hicks leads the team in scoring (14.5 ppg), field goal percentage (.718) and rebounding (6.6 rpg). Hicks also leads the Southeastern Conference in field goal percentage.

HICKS RANKED NO. 3 IN NATION IN FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE
Junior transfer Marcus Hicks is ranked among the nation's field goal percentage leaders, which was released by the NCAA on Dec. 7. Hicks is ranked third in the country in field goal percentage at 71.8 percent. Miami's (Fla.) Mario Bland is the nation's leader at 75.0 percent. The Rebels are also ranked among several NCAA team statistical categories. Ole Miss is No. 8 in scoring offense, No. 22 in scoring defense, No. 2 in scoring margin and No. 12 in field goal percentage.

CARTER JUMPS TO NO. 14 ON CAREER SCORING CHART; NEEDS FIVE POINTS TO TAKE OVER THE NO. 13 SPOT
Senior All-America candidate Keith Carter (Perryville, Ark.) moved into the No. 14 spot on Ole Miss career scoring chart in the Nov. 28 win over Austin Peay State. Carter now has 1,255 career points after scoring 11 points in the Rebels' win over West Alabama on Dec. 7. With his 19 points versus Austin Peay State on Nov. 28, Carter jumped past Walter Actwood (1974-77) into the No. 14 spot. Actwood netted 1,216 points in his career. In the Rebels' victory over Alabama A&M on Nov. 23, Carter passed his head coach, Rod Barnes, on the Ole Miss career scoring chart. Barnes scored 1,201 points in his career from 1985-88.

SMITH CLOSING IN; PASSES 900-POINT PLATEAU
Senior All-SEC candidate Jason Smith (Wheatley, Ark.) is drawing ever closer to becoming the 24th player in Ole Miss basketball history to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau. After scoring 17 points in the Rebels' win over West Alabama on Dec. 7, Smith now has 953 career points and needs 47 points to reach the 1,000-point mark.

CARTER NAMED PRESEASON NAISMITH CANDIDATE
Senior Keith Carter was named as one of 20 preseason candidates for the 1999 Naismith College Player of the Year, as announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club in early October. Carter is one of four players from the Southeastern Conference to be named among the preseason candidates. Georgia's Jumaine Jones, South Carolina's BJ McKie and Kentucky's Scott Padgett were also among the 20 preseason candidates for the player of the year honor.

This past summer, Carter played an integral role in helping lead the USA Goodwill Games Team to a 4-1 record and the gold medal. It was the first time that a USA amateur team had won gold in international play since 1986. In the five games, Carter averaged 7.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists, while shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 40 percent from the three-point arc.

Following the 1997-98 season, the Perryville, Ark., native was named to the Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference second team. This season, Carter is averaging 14.4 points (second on the team) and 4.4 rebounds per game.

A WINNING CLASS
The 1999 senior class will go down in Ole Miss basketball history as helping produce one of the most successful runs for the Rebels. Theses six seniors have helped the Rebels to win consecutive Southeastern Conference Western Division titles, the first regular season championships of any kind for the Ole Miss basketball program. They also helped Ole Miss earn back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths. Well, the senior class seems to be on track for another first in Rebel basketball history. The 1999 senior class has posted 61 victories, which is tied for the sixth most for a four-year span in Rebel basketball history. The following charts lists the most successful (in terms of number of victories) in Ole Miss history:

Four-Year Span      No. of Wins
1979-80 to 1982-83      70
1935-36 to 1938-39      63
1994-95 to 1997-98      62
1978-79 to 1981-82      62
1923-24 to 1926-27      62
1995-96 to present      61
1980-81 to 1983-84      61
1936-37 to 1939-40      61
1934-35 to 1937-38      61
STEALING HIS WAY UP THE CHARTS
Senior Jason Smith is also close to breaking into the top five on the Rebel career steals chart. He had two swipes in the Rebels' win over West Alabama on Dec. 7, bringing his career total to 152. He needs two more to tie you, guessed it Rod Barnes for the fifth spot on the Ole Miss career steals chart. Barnes (1985-88) finished his career with 154 steals.

Smith is second on the Rebel squad in steals this season with 14.

WHITE CLOSING IN ON 300 ASSIST PLATEAU
Senior guard Michael White (Tempe, Ariz.) is nearing a milestone in his career. With five more assists, White will reach the 300-assists plateau. White enters the Memphis game with 295 career assists. This season, the 6-foot-1 guard leads the team in that statistical category with 23.

SMITH BREAKS 500
Senior All-SEC candidate Jason Smith broke 500, and it was a good thing. With his five rebounds versus Temple on Nov. 18, Smith joined the 500-rebound club at Ole Miss. Smith now has 524 career rebounds, and is averaging 4.6 rebounds per game this season.

KEEPING THE REBELS GOING
When it comes to someone on the Ole Miss team to get the Rebel offense going, look no further than senior Jon Cantrell (Germantown, Tenn.). In last Saturday's victory over Louisville, Cantrell nailed a critical three-pointer to get the Rebels back on track. Prior to Cantrell's three-pointer, the Rebels found themselves down 10-2 at the 15:50 mark of the first half. Cantrell's trey cut the Cardinal lead to 10-5 and ignited an Ole Miss run which propelled the Rebels to a 50-37 halftime lead.

However, it is not the first time in which Cantrell has started an Ole Miss run. Last season, Cantrell's treys in the Jan. 24 game versus Mississippi State and the Feb. 18 contest at LSU helped start spurts for the Rebels. Ole Miss won both games. This season, Cantrell is averaging 5.9 points and 2.1 rebounds. He is shooting 41.7 percent from the three-point arc.

MORE ON THE REBEL DEFENSE
The Rebel defense is playing at the top of its game, and the numbers prove it. In the Southeastern Conference statistics released on Dec. 10, Ole Miss is first in the league in scoring margin (+30.9), second in turnover margin (+7.38), sixth in field goal percentage defense (.375) and second in three-point field goal percentage defense (.282). In their seven home games, the Rebels have won by an average of 37.6 points per game.

OLE MISS PUTTING UP THE POINTS
While the Rebel defense is playing well, Ole Miss is not looking too bad on the offensive end. Ole Miss is averaging 88.5 points per game, which ranks first in the Southeastern Conference. The Rebels are first in the SEC in scoring margin (+30.9) and field goal percentage (.509).

DID YOU KNOW?
Rod Barnes is the first Rebel head coach to have played his collegiate basketball at Ole Miss since Cob Jarvis. Jarvis, who was a two-time All-Southeastern Conference first teamer in 1953 and 1954, was a three-year letterwinner for the Rebels and is still in the No. 12 spot on the Ole Miss career scoring chart with 1,313 points. He coached the Rebels from 1968-76 and compiled an 87-117 record.

PLEASE, NOVEMBER, DON'T END
Well, the month of November has come and gone, and the Rebels hate to see that happen. In the 1990s, Ole Miss has posted an impressive mark of 14-3 (.824 winning percentage) in games played in the month of November. In case you were wondering, the Rebels have a 35-22 record (.614 winning percentage) in December games in the 1990s (record includes three wins in December of this year).

FIRST TIME SINCE...
The Rebels have been playing well - especially on the defensive end of the floor. In three of its seven home games, Ole Miss has held those three opponents to below 50 points. The Rebels defeated Alabama State (87-45), Belmont (91-42) and Alabama A&M (89-45). It is the first time that the Rebels have held three or more opponents to under 50 points in a season since the 1981-82 campaign. During that season, Ole Miss held six opponents to under 50 points.

SMITH RECORDS CAREER HIGH IN ASSISTS
Senior All-SEC candidate Jason Smith recorded a career-high six assists in the Nov. 23 win over Alabama A&M. Smith led the team in that statistical category in the victory. Smith's six-assist performance bested his previous career high of five assists set versus Florida last season. Ole Miss won that game, 90-79.

LOCKHART HAS A CAREER NIGHT
Sophomore forward Rahim Lockhart (Mendenhall, Miss.) has improved his game since last season, and it has paid dividends for the Rebels. In Ole Miss' 95-62 win over Northeast Louisiana on Dec. 2, the 6-foot-8 forward posted career highs of 16 points, five assists and four steals. He tied his career best in rebounding with eight boards versus the Indians. Earlier this season, Lockhart also tied a career high with three blocked shots. Lockhart is fourth on the team with an 8.9 scoring average and is second on the squad with a 5.6 rebounding average. He leads the team with 11 blocked shots.

REBELS PICKED TO FINISH THIRD IN SEC WESTERN DIVISION
In the Southeastern Conference media day voting, Ole Miss was picked to finished third in the SEC Western Division. Arkansas was the overwhelming choice to win the Western Division, with Auburn picked to finish second. Mississippi State was fourth followed by Alabama and LSU. In the SEC Eastern Division, Kentucky was picked to finish first followed by Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Vanderbilt. The Wildcats were also selected to win the overall SEC championship.

FLANIGAN SETS CAREER HIGH
Sophomore guard Jason Flanigan (Little Rock, Ark.) recorded a career high with five rebounds in the Nov. 23 victory over Alabama A&M. Flanigan's five boards bested his previous career high of four rebounds which he set six times as year as a freshman. Flanigan also scored 11 points in the Nov. 23 win, which was just two points shy of tying his career high of 13 points. Last year, Flanigan scored 13 points in the Rebels' 71-48 win over Wichita State.

TIP-INS...
Ole Miss has played at least 10 players in all of its games this season...Junior transfer Lataryl Williams (Oxford, Miss.) and freshman Darrian Brown (West Memphis, Ark.) each netted a career-high 16 points in Ole Miss' victory over Austin Peay State on Nov. 28...Carter connected on four treys in the Rebels' first two wins. Last year, the Rebels were 6-1 when Carter hit four or more three-pointers in a game...Ole Miss shot 76.2 percent from the free throw line versus Alabama A&M on Nov. 23. It was the first time this season that the Rebels have shot better than 70 percent >from the charity stripe. The Rebels also shot over 70 percent (72.0) from the charity stripe versus Northeast Louisiana and won. Last year, Ole Miss posted a 6-4 record when they shot 70 percent or better from the foul line...It will be a homecoming of sorts for senior Jon Cantrell on Saturday. Cantrell is from Germantown a suburb of Memphis and played his high school basketball at Memphis University School.


 

 

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