Ole Miss Men's Basketball To Meet Southern Illinois Thursday In Hawaii

Dec. 19, 2000

Game #10 - Yahoo! Sports Invitational
So. Illinois (4-3) vs. #24/#25 Ole Miss (9-0)
Thursday, December 21 - 7:00 p.m. (CT)
Cannon Activities Center - Laie, Hawaii

Rebels on Television and Radio

Television: Sports West TV

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

The Ole Miss Rebels (9-0) will travel to Hawaii to compete in the Yahoo! Sports Invitational (formerly Pearl Harbor Invitational) Dec. 21-23. Ole Miss will meet Southern Illinois (4-3) in the tournament?s first round at 7:00 p.m. (CT). The Rebels, ranked No. 24 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Poll, enter the tournament on a nine-game win streak. The Salukis posted a win in their last outing, a 94-79 victory over Murray State.

Rod Barnes is in his third season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. He has an overall record of 48-27 (.640 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).

The Dec. 21 meeting will be the third between the two schools on the hardwood, but the first since the 1993-94 season. The Salukis lead the all-time series, 2-0. Southern Illinois won the last encounter, an 81-60 win in Carbondale, Ill., on Dec. 8, 1993. The Salukis also won the first meeting in the 1992-93 campaign, an 85-78 win in Oxford on Dec. 28, 1992.

The Salukis, a member of the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), enters the Yahoo! Sports Invitational with a 4-3 overall record. Southern Illinois posted a victory in its last outing, a 94-79 win over Murray State Dec. 17. Sophomore Kent Williams leads three Salukis in double figures with an 18.0 scoring average. Jermaine Dearman (15.0 ppg) and Joshua Cross (13.7 ppg) are also averaging in double figures. Dearman leads Southern Illinois on the boards with a 7.0 rebounding average. The Salukis are shooting 46.4 percent from the field, 40.6 percent from the three-point line and 64.1 percent from the charity stripe. Bruce Weber is in his third season at Southern Illinois and has a record of 39-28 at the school.

Ole Miss is one of four NCAA Division I schools to have both its men?s and women?s basketball teams undefeated as of Dec. 19. The Rebels and Lady Rebels both have perfect 9-0 records. The other three schools that have accomplished the feat are Alabama, Tennessee and Baylor.

The Rebels have an all-time record of 5-7 (.417 winning percentage) versus current members of the Missouri Valley Conference. Ole Miss is 1-0 versus Indiana State and Southwest Missouri State, 2-2 versus Wichita State, 1-2 versus Bradley, 0-1 versus Illinois State and 0-2 versus Southern Illinois. The Rebels have never played Creighton, Evansville, Northern Iowa and Drake. The last time Ole Miss played a member of the Missouri Valley Conference was last season when the Rebels defeated Southwest Missouri State, 70-48 in the NIT second round in Oxford.

With their victory over Troy State Dec. 18, the Rebels remained undefeated at 9-0, marking the program?s best start since the 1936-37 team began that year with an 11-0 record. That 11-0 start by the 1936-37 squad is the best in the program?s history. Last year (1999-2000), Ole Miss started the campaign with a 6-0 record before losing its first game at Oklahoma, 81-73.

Ole Miss is currently on a nine-game win streak entering the Yahoo! Sports Invitational Dec. 21-23. The nine-game win streak is the second longest in the program?s history. The 1936-37 and 1937-38 teams both posted 11-game win streaks.

After staying on the mainland the first 86 years of the program?s existence, Ole Miss basketball has been frequent travelers the past five seasons. The team?s current trip to Hawaii to play in the Yahoo! Sports Invitational is its third trip off the mainland the past five years. In the 1998-99 campaign, the Rebels traveled to Puerto Rico to play in the Holiday Classic and finished second to eventual Final Four participant Ohio State. Following the 1996-97 season, Ole Miss played a five-game exhibition tour in Australia and won all five games.

The Rebels have an all-time record of 51-51 (.500 winning percentage) in regular season tournaments in their history. Last season, Ole Miss won the inaugural SoCon Holiday Hoops Tournament in Greenville, S.C., defeating Wisconsin-Green Bay, 57-53 in the title game. The Rebels also beat Furman (75-61) and Oregon State (77-58) en route to the championship game. Prior to last year?s title, the Rebels? previous regular-season tournament title came in the 1993-94 season, a 78-74 victory over Southern Mississippi in the Cellular South/Mississippi Beach Shootout (one-game tournament). The previous time Ole Miss won a two-day tournament title was in the 1988-89 campaign when the Rebels claimed the Bayou Classic championship with wins over Southern (90-88) and Nicholls State (74-53).

The Yahoo! Sports Invitational will be only the sixth three-day tournament for the Rebels in their history. The last three-day tournament came last season at the SoCon Holiday Hoops Tournament. The Rebels? other three-day tournaments were the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic (San Juan, Puerto Rico) in 1998-99, All-College Tournament (Oklahoma City, Okla.) in 1972-73, Gulf South Tournament (Shreveport, La.) in 1960-61 and All-American City Tournament (Owensboro, Ky.) in 1954-55.

The Rebels have a record of 4-2 versus teams in the Yahoo! Sports Invitational field. Ole Miss is 4-0 versus Troy State and 0-2 versus Southern Illinois. The Rebels have never met BYU, BYU-Hawaii, Boise State, Iowa State and Southern Cal on the hardwood.

No matter what the Rebels do in the tournament?s first round, they will face a first-time opponent?BYU-Hawaii or Southern Cal?on the tourney?s second day. BYU-Hawaii or Southern Cal will be the Rebels? second first-time opponent of the 2000-01 season. Ole Miss defeated Kansas State, 60-46 Dec. 5, and will meet Morris Brown for the first time Dec. 30. Last year, Ole Miss posted a 3-0 record versus first-time foes with wins over Oregon State (77-58), Virginia Commonwealth (75-62) and Southwest Missouri State (70-48). Since the 1998-99 campaign, Ole Miss has an 8-2 record (.800 winning percentage) versus first-time foes.

In last nine years (including 2000-01 season), the Rebels have posted a 74-28 record (.725 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 57-15 mark (.792 winning percentage) against out-of-conference teams.

The Yahoo! Sports Invitational field has a postseason feel to it?especially from last year?s postseason. Four of the teams in this year?s field?Ole Miss, BYU, Iowa State and Southern Illinois?played in the 2000 postseason. Iowa State participated in the 2000 NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Midwest Regional final, while Ole Miss, BYU and Southern Illinois all played in the NIT. The Rebels and Cougars advanced to the NIT quarterfinals, and the Salukis made it to the second round.

Yes, we must. The Rebels were en fuego?on fire?from the three-point arc in their victory over Troy State Dec. 18. Ole Miss hit a school-record 14 treys, breaking the previous mark of 13 three-pointers versus Arkansas in the 1991-92 season (Jan. 18, 1992, 114-93 Arkansas win). The Rebels shot 41.2 percent from the arc in the win over the Trojans, led by redshirt freshman Josh Hayes? (Little Rock, Ark.) 6-of-7 shooting performance from the arc. For the season, Ole Miss is hitting 34.5 percent from the three-point line.

Redshirt freshman Josh Hayes had the game of his young career Dec. 18 in the Rebels? victory over Troy State. Hayes scored a career-high 20 points and also posted career bests of seven field goals and six three-pointers. For the season, Hayes is shooting 71.4 percent from the field (10-of-14) and 70 percent from the three-point line (7-of-10).

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 58.4 points per game, which is tops in the Southeastern Conference. In the Rebels? last five games, they have been really stingy on defense, allowing only 53.6 points per game.

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 76-9 record (.894 winning percentage) when it scores 70 points or more. On the other hand, the Rebels are 13-34 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 5-0 record when scoring 70 points or more.

As discussed in the previous note, the Rebels have been nearly unbeatable when they score 70 points or more. However, the 2000-01 Rebels are proving they can win games when they don?t reach that magical number of 70. Ole Miss is 4-0 this year when scoring less than 70 points.

In the Rebels? victory over Southeastern Louisiana Dec. 13, senior Rahim Lockhart (Mendenhall, Miss.) was nearly perfect from the floor. The 6-foot-8 forward finished the game 10-of-11 from the field, but was 10-of-10 with five minutes left in the contest. His 90.9 field goal shooting performance is tied for the second-best, single-game showing in Rebel basketball history.

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 three brilliant defensive showings in the Rebel victories over No. 14-ranked Oklahoma, Kansas State and Memphis.

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.

In the Rebels? win over Memphis, Flanigan led the defensive charge against the Memphis guard trio of Scooter McFadgon, Shyrone Chatman and Marcus Moody. The trio shot 12 percent (3-of-25) from the field.

Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is nearing 50?and it?s a good thing. With two more victories, Barnes will hit the 50-win plateau for his career. He has a current record of 48-27.

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 67.6 percent from the foul line for the season, but more importantly, the Rebels are hitting their foul shots down the stretch. In their four narrow wins over Sam Houston State, VCU, Oklahoma and Memphis, the Rebels shot 81.8 percent from the line (36-of-44) in the final four minutes (and overtime) of those games.

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 18th double-double performance in Ole Miss? win over Southeastern Louisiana (21 points-14 rebounds) Dec. 13. He also had double-doubles versus Arkansas-Pine Bluff (17-12) Nov. 18, Louisiana-Monroe (16-10) Nov. 28 and Memphis (15-14) Dec. 9. 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.

Junior Jason Harrison (Little Rock, Ark.) has sure been in the spirit of the season in terms of giving?as in giving the ball to his teammates. In Ole Miss? last six games, Harrison is averaging 4.3 assists per contest. The 5-foot-5 guard leads the squad with 36 assists this season, and is also ranked among the Southeastern Conference leaders in that statistical category.

Senior Rahim Lockhart 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 117 steals.

After setting a career high in steals in the Rebels? victory over Kansas State Dec. 5, Rahim Lockhart followed up with a career high in blocked shots in Ole Miss? win at Memphis Dec. 9. The 6-foot-8 forward blocked a career-best five shots versus the Tigers, breaking his previous high of four. This season, Lockhart leads the Rebels with 21 blocked shots.

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 588 career rebounds, after grabbing six boards in the Rebels? victory over Troy State Dec. 18. Lockhart is in the No. 13 spot on the Ole Miss career rebounding list, and needs nine more rebounds to take over the No. 12 spot currently held by Keith Carter (1996-99, 596 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.

Throughout his career, Jason Flanigan has not had the reputation of being a scorer. However, the last two seasons when the Rebels have needed him to step forward on the offensive end, the 6-foot-1 guard has responded. In the Rebels? victory over Memphis Dec. 9, Flanigan netted a season-high 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field, including a career-high three treys. Flanigan nailed a key three-pointer in the first half to extend the Rebel margin, and later in the second half, he hit his third trey of the game to halt a Tiger rally.

Earlier this season, Flanigan came up big for the Rebels in their victory over VCU. With the Rebels fighting to stay in the game, Flanigan answered consecutive VCU hoops with two baskets of his own. His second bucket?a three-pointer?started a 10-0 Rebel run which cut the Ram advantage to six at 40-34 at the break. His second three-pointer of the game came during the Ole Miss comeback in the second half, slicing the VCU lead to 70-68 with 3:13 left in regulation.

Senior Rahim Lockhart recorded a career-best five blocked shots versus Memphis Dec. 9, and in doing so, moved into fourth place on the Rebel career blocked shot chart. After his two blocks versus Troy State Dec. 18, he now has 104 for his career. Up next for Lockhart is David Dean (1992-94), who is third with 108 career blocked shots. The 6-foot-8 forward entered the 2000-01 season with 83 career blocks. Lockhart led the Rebels in blocked shots the previous two seasons with 44 and 46 blocks, respectively.

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 49-25 record (.662 winning percentage) in December games since the 1990-91 campaign. The Rebels are 5-0 in December this year. 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 Troy State Dec. 18, this class has now won 70 games, just four 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).

It's hard to believe that a freshman could be this wise this early, but Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.) showed his basketball smarts in the Rebels' victory over Memphis. After playing only three minutes in the first half with three fouls, he picked up his fourth early in the second half. But, Reed returned for the final 10 minutes and made the most of it. He netted eight of his 10 points in the final 10 minutes, including two huge baskets (one on a putback as the shot clock expired) and two free throws with under three minutes to play.

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.

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.

The trio of Aaron Harper, Justin Reed 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 (4-of-7) and 70.5 percent from the charity stripe (12-of-17). Harper, Reed and Sanders also combined for nine boards in the victory.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Aaron Harper (7) and Jason Holmes (5) recorded career high in assists versus Troy State Dec. 18...With their win over the No. 14-ranked Sooners, the Rebels have defeated at least one ranked team every season since 1994-95...Ole Miss has held six of its nine opponents to under 40 percent shooting from the field.



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