Men's Basketball to Face Oklahoma in Puerto Rico Classic

December 22, 1998

Game #11
Ole Miss (8-2) vs. #23 Oklahoma (7-1)
Tuesday, December 22 at 12:30 p.m. (CT)
Puerto Rico Holiday Classic
Eugenio Guerra Sports Complex at Bayamon, Puerto Rico

PROBABLE STARTERS

 
No.  Player (Yr.)        Pos. Ht.   Wt.   PPG/RPG    Hometown
4    Jason Smith (Sr.)    F   6-6   220   12.3/4.9   Wheatley, Ark.
24   Marcus Hicks (Jr.)   F   6-6   200   14.0/6.1   Jackson, Tenn.
13   Johnnie Rogers (Sr.) F   6-9   220   5.6/3.4    Laurel, Miss.
22   Michael White (Sr.)  G   6-1   180   3.1/2.2    Tempe, Ariz.
33   Keith Carter (Sr.)   G   6-4   195   15.0/4.2   Perryville, Ark. 
RESERVES
 
No.  Player (Yr.)            Pos.Ht.   Wt.   PPG/RPG   Hometown
00   Jon Cantrell (Sr.)      F   6-8   225   5.4/2.0   Germantown, Tenn.
3    Jason Flanigan (So.)    G   6-1   175   5.0/2.6   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   4.1/1.8   Little Rock, Ark.
20   Matt Pruitt (Fr.)       G   6-4   185   3.4/1.3   Jonesboro, Ark.
21   Darrian Brown (Fr.)     F   6-6   200   6.0/2.5   West Memphis, Ark.
25   Lataryl Williams (Jr.)  G   6-6   200   5.2/1.9   Oxford, Miss.
44   Rahim Lockhart (So.)    F   6-8   250   8.3/5.2   Mendenhall, Miss.
54   John Engstrom (Fr.)     C   7-0   245   1.3/2.0   Paragould, Ark.%
%  redshirted in 1997-98
OLE MISS TO MEET NATIONALLY-RANKED OKLAHOMA IN CLASSIC SECOND ROUND The Ole Miss Rebels (8-2) will meet No. 23 nationally-ranked Oklahoma (7-1) in the semifinals of the 1998 Puerto Rico Holiday Classic on Tuesday, Dec. 22. Game time is 12:30 p.m. (CT). The Rebels advanced to the Classic's semifinals with a 66-61 victory over St. Joseph's, while Oklahoma earned a win by forfeit over American University-Puerto Rico. With their win over St. Joseph's, the Rebels posted their first win away from Tad Smith Coliseum in 1998-99.

BARNES IN FIRST YEAR AT HELM OF 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 an 8-2 record after the Rebels defeated St. Joseph's, 66-61 on Dec. 21. 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 (6th; 154).

OLE MISS-OKLAHOMA SERIES
The Rebels and the Sooners will meet for the first time ever on the hardwood.

BARNES AMONG ELITE COACHING GROUP
Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is a member of a very special group in Rebel basketball history with his 8-2 start to the 1998-99 season. He is one of only five coaches in Rebel basketball history to start their first season with an 8-2 record or better. The other four coaches are B.Y. Walton (8-2; 1911-12), R.L. Sullivan (8-2; 1919-20), Homer Hazel (9-1; 1925-26) and Ed Murphy (8-2; 1986-87). Prior to the Rebels' loss at Memphis on Dec. 12, Barnes was only the second coach in Ole Miss basketball history to begin his first season at the helm with a 7-1 record. Hazel (1925-26) was 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 last game of the season for a final record of 16-2 in his first year.

REBELS VERSUS THE BIG 12
Ole Miss has an 8-16 overall record versus members of the Big 12 Conference. The Rebels are 1-0 versus Oklahoma State, 1-1 versus Nebraska, 6-8 versus Texas, 0-1 versus Baylor, Kansas and Texas A&M and 0-4 versus Texas Tech. Ole Miss has not played a Big 12 Conference member since the league was formed in 1994. THE LAST TIME OLE MISS PLAYED A MEMBER OF THE BIG 12 WAS THE 1981 SEASON WHEN THE REBELS FELL TO KANSAS, 69-66 IN THE FIRST ROUND OF THE NCAA TOURNAMENT. Current Rebel radio analyst Sean Tuohy was a guard on that 1981 Ole Miss team that played Kansas in the 1981 NCAA Tournament.

OLE MISS VERSUS FIRST-TIME FOES
The Rebels will meet Oklahoma this afternoon for the first time in their history, but the Sooners aren't the only first-time opponent for Ole Miss in 1998-99. Ole Miss played first-time foe Alabama A&M on Nov. 23 and West Alabama on Dec. 7. The Rebels won both contests. The Rebels could also play one other first-time opponent if they meet Ohio State tomorrow.

REBELS TOUGH ON NON-CONFERENCE FOES IN RECENT YEARS
In last seven years (including 1998-99), the Rebels have posted a 48-22 record (.686 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 31-9 mark (.775 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 8-2
1993-94 7-3
1995-96 6-4
1997-98 9-1

REBELS PERFECT AWAY FROM CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES
Ole Miss has only made two trips - including this one - away from the continental United States in its history, but the Rebels may want to keep scheduling games outside the continental U.S. Ole Miss is a perfect 6-0 in games played outside the continental U.S. The Rebels defeated St. Joseph's, 66-61 in the first round of the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic. Following the 1996-97 campaign, Ole Miss posted a 5-0 record in an exhibition tour of Australia in May 1997.

STEALING HIS WAY UP THE CHARTS
Senior Jason Smith (Wheatley, Ark.) moved into the No. 2 spot on the Rebel career steals chart in Ole Miss' win over St. Joseph's on Dec. 21. With his four swipes versus the Hawks, Smith now has 160 career steals. Up next for Smith is Ole Miss steals record holder Eric Laird (1982-85), who recorded 179 steals in his career. Smith leads the team in steals with 22 this season.

CARTER JUMPS TO NO. 13 ON CAREER SCORING CHART
Senior All-America candidate Keith Carter (Perryville, Ark.) moved into the No. 13 spot on Ole Miss career scoring chart after his 18-point performance versus Memphis on Dec. 12. Carter now has 1,290 career points after netting 17 points in the Rebels' win over St. Joseph's on Dec. 21. Up next for Carter is Cob Jarvis (1952-54), who scored 1,313 career points.

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 ON THE 1,000-POINT PLATEAU
Senior All-SEC candidate Jason Smith is drawing ever closer to becoming the 24th player in Ole Miss basketball history to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau. After scoring 13 points in the Rebels' win over St. Joseph's on Dec. 21, Smith now has 984 career points and needs 16 points to reach the 1,000-point mark. For the season, Smith is third on the team in scoring with a 12.3 average.

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 62 victories, which is tied for the third 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
1995-96 to present      62
1994-95 to 1997-98      62
1978-79 to 1981-82      62
1923-24 to 1926-27      62
1980-81 to 1983-84      61
1936-37 to 1939-40      61
1934-35 to 1937-38      61
WHITE REACHES 300-ASSIST MARK FOR CAREER
With his four assists in the Rebels' win over St. Joseph's, senior guard Michael White (Tempe, Ariz.) reached the 300-assist mark for his career. He now has 300 career assists. This season, the 6-foot-1 guard is tied for the team lead with 28 assists.

SMITH'S IN THE GROOVE
Entering the 1998-99 season, senior Jason Smith knew that he would have to pick up some of the scoring load with the departures of Ansu Sesay, Joezon Darby and Anthony Boone. Smith had a slow start to the season, but has turned it on in the Rebels' last five games. Since the Northeast Louisiana game on Dec. 2, Smith has scored in double figures in every game, including a season-best 19 points in the win over the Indians. In the last five games, Smith is averaging 15.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest. He is also shooting 55.6 percent from the field (35-of-63) in those five games.

 

 

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