Rebels Meet up with Buckeyes in Title Game

December 23, 1998

1998-99 Ole Miss Basketball

OLE MISS TO MEET OHIO STATE IN PUERTO RICO HOLIDAY CLASSIC TITLE GAME The Ole Miss Rebels (9-2) will meet Ohio State in the championship game of the 1998 Puerto Rico Holiday Classic on Wednesday, Dec. 23. The game, which is scheduled for a 6:00 p.m. (CT) tip, will be televised by ESPN Regional (available only in Ohio). The Rebels advanced to the Classic's title game with a 66-61 victory over St. Joseph's in the first round on Monday and a 75-72 win over Oklahoma in the semifinals on Tuesday. Ohio State made its way to the championship contest with a first-round victory over UAB, 71-64 and a semifinal victory over N.C. State, 81-64. With their wins over St. Joseph's and Oklahoma, the Rebels now have a 2-2 record away from Tad Smith Coliseum in the 1998-99 season.

The Buckeyes have already played two Southeastern Conference teams this year. Ohio State defeated Alabama, 78-70 in Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 15, and lost at Vanderbilt, 92-86 in Nashville on Nov. 28.

Game #12
Ole Miss (9-2) vs. Ohio State (10-2)
Wednesday, December 23 6:00 p.m. (CT)
Championship Game Puerto Rico Holiday Classic Eugenio Guerra
Sports Complex Bayamon, Puerto Rico

PROBABLE STARTERS   
No. Player           (Yr.) Pos.  Ht.  Wt.  PPG/RPG    Hometown
 4  Jason Smith      (Sr.)  F   6-6  220  12.0/4.6    Wheatley, Ark.
24  Marcus Hicks     (Jr.)  F   6-6  200  14.3/5.9    Jackson, Tenn.
13  Johnnie Rogers   (Sr.)  F   6-9  220   5.0/3.3    Laurel, Miss.
22  Michael White    (Sr.)  G   6-1  180   3.3/2.2    Tempe, Ariz.
33  Keith Carter     (Sr.)  G   6-4  195  15.5/4.5    Perryville, Ark. 
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   4.6/2.5    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   4.6/1.8    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   5.3/2.2    West Memphis, Ark.
25  Lataryl Williams (Jr.)  G   6-6  200   5.3/1.8    Oxford, Miss.
44  Rahim Lockhart   (So.)  F   6-8  250   8.0/4.8    Mendenhall, Miss.
54  John Engstrom    (Fr.)  C   7-0  245   1.3/2.0    Paragould, Ark.% %    redshirted in 1997-98

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 a 9-2 record after the Rebels defeated Oklahoma, 75-72 on Dec. 22. 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-OHIO STATE SERIES
The Rebels and the Buckeyes 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 9-2 start to the 1998-99 season. He is one of only four coaches in Rebel basketball history to start their first season with a 9-2 record or better. The other three coaches are B.Y. Walton (9-2; 1911-12), R.L. Sullivan (9-2; 1919-20) and Homer Hazel (10-1; 1925-26). 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 TEN
Ole Miss has a 1-4 overall record versus members of the Big Ten Conference. The Rebels are 1-0 versus Michigan and 0-2 versus Illinois and Minnesota. Ole Miss has not played a Big Ten Conference school since it dropped an 83-72 decision to Illinois on Nov. 28, 1989. That game was played in Oxford.

OLE MISS VERSUS FIRST-TIME FOES
The Rebels will meet Ohio State on Wednesday (Dec. 23) night for the first time in their history, but the Buckeyes aren't the only first-time opponent for Ole Miss in 1998-99. Ole Miss has a 3-0 record versus first-time opponents in 1998-99, defeating Alabama A&M (89-45) on Nov. 23, West Alabama (101-68) on Dec. 7 and Oklahoma (75-72) on Dec. 22.

OLE MISS IN REGULAR SEASON TOURNAMENTS
The Rebels will be going after their first regular-season tournament championship since the 1993-94 season on Wednesday night when they meet Ohio State in the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic title game. In the 1993-94 season, Ole Miss defeated Southern Mississippi, 78-74 in the Cellular South/Mississippi Beach Shootout (one-game tournament). The last time the Rebels won a two-day (or longer) tournament title was the Bayou Classic championship during the 1988-89 season. Ole Miss defeated Southern (90-88) and Nicholls State (74-53) en route to the title. Wednesday night's game versus Ohio State will be the Rebels' third consecutive regular-season tournament championship contest. Ole Miss advanced to the title games of New Mexico's Lobo Invitational in the 1996-97 season (lost to New Mexico, 75-64 in championship) and the First Merchants/CVC Ball State Invitational in the 1997-98 season (lost to Ball State, 70-66 in championship).

REBELS TOUGH ON NON-CONFERENCE FOES IN RECENT YEARS
In last seven years (including 1998-99), the Rebels have posted a 49-22 record (.690 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 32-9 mark (.780 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  9-2
1993-94  7-3
1995-96  6-4
1997-98  9-1
REBELS PERFECT AWAY FROM CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES
The Ole Miss men's basketball program 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 7-0 in games played outside the continental U.S. In the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic, the Rebels defeated St. Joseph's, 66-61 in the first round and Oklahoma, 75-72 in the semifinals. 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 had 160 steals. With his two steals in the win over Oklahoma on Dec. 22, Smith now has 162 for his career. Up next for Smith is Ole Miss steals record holder Eric Laird (1982-85), who recorded 179 steals in his career. Smith is tied for the team lead in steals with 24 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 1,310 career points after netting 20 points in the Rebels' win over Oklahoma on Dec. 22. 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 nine points in the Rebels' win over St. Joseph's on Dec. 21, Smith now has 993 career points and needs only seven points to reach the 1,000-point mark. For the season, Smith is third on the team in scoring with a 12.2 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 63 victories, which is tied for the second 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
1995-96 to present      63
1935-36 to 1938-39      63
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


 

 

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