Men's Basketball Finishes Out Non-Conference Schedule

Dec. 29, 2000

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The Ole Miss Rebels (11-1) will close out the non-conference portion of their 2000-01 schedule Saturday, Dec. 30 when they host Morris Brown (2-10). Game time is 2:00 p.m. (CT) at Tad Smith Coliseum. Ole Miss, ranked No. 24 in both polls, had its 11-game winning streak halted with a 73-68 loss to Iowa State in the finals of the Yahoo! Sports Invitational last weekend. The Fighting Wolverines have dropped their last two games to Alabama State (72-57) Dec. 21 and Michigan (95-81) Dec. 23.

Game #13
Morris Brown (2-10) vs. #24/#24 Ole Miss (11-1)
Saturday, December 30 ? 2:00 p.m. (CT)
Tad Smith Coliseum ? Oxford, Miss.

Rebels on Television and Radio


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 50-28 (.641 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 is the first meeting between the Rebels and Fighting Wolverines on the hardwood.

Morris Brown enters Saturday's game with a 2-10 overall record. The Fighting Wolverines dropped a 95-81 decision to Michigan in their last game on Dec. 23. Anthony Adams, who scored a game-high 31 points versus Michigan, is the squad's leading scorer with a 14.5 average. Kareem Allison is the team's only other double figure scorer with a 10.4 average. Amien Hicks, who had a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds) versus Michigan, leads Morris Brown on the boards with a 7.8 rebounding average. Hicks is also the team's top shooter, hitting 46.5 percent from the field. Russell Ellington is in his fourth season as the head coach at Morris Brown. He has a 35-60 overall record at the school.

Ole Miss jumped into the Associated Press (AP) Top 25 Poll Dec. 11, coming in at No. 23. It was the first time the Rebels had been in the poll since they were ranked No. 13 in the final AP poll of the 1997-98. Ole Miss also finished the 1997-98 season ranked No. 20 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

This week, the Rebels are ranked No. 24 in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls. This is the third straight week Ole Miss has been in the AP poll and the second week in the coaches poll. Ole Miss is one of four Southeastern Conference teams ranked in this week's polls, as Tennessee is No. 5/No. 5, Florida No. 6/No. 7, and Alabama No. 20/No. 20.

Ole Miss will face its final first-time opponent of the 2000-01 regular season when it meets Morris Brown Saturday. The Rebels have a 2-1 record against first-time opponents this year, defeating Kansas State (60-46) Dec. 5 and No. 13-ranked Southern Cal (84-83, ot) Dec. 22 and falling to Iowa State (73-68) Dec. 23. 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 a 9-3 record versus first-time foes.

No, Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is not celebrating his 50th birthday (not even close for the 34-year-old, by the way). With the Rebels' overtime victory over No. 13-ranked Southern Cal Dec. 22, Barnes won his 50th game as the Ole Miss head coach. He has a current record of 50-28. Barnes reached the 50-win plateau the third fastest of any coach in Rebel history. George Bohler and Homer Hazel are the only two coaches in Ole Miss history to reach the milestone faster.

Forget the Final Four for now. Ole Miss was among the "Final Two" prior to the Rebels' loss to Iowa State Dec. 23. Before the setback to Iowa State, Ole Miss was one of the last two NCAA Division I schools to have both its men's and women's basketball teams undefeated. The Lady Rebels are still undefeated at 11-0. Baylor is now the lone school to have both its men's and women's team undefeated.

With their victory over No. 13-ranked Southern Cal on Dec. 22, the Rebels tied the best start in school history with an 11-0 mark. The 1936-37 team also had an 11-0 start. Last year (1999-2000), Ole Miss started the campaign with a 6-0 record before losing its first game at Oklahoma, 81-73.

Before their loss to Iowa State Dec. 23, the Rebels had won 11 straight games, tying the school record for consecutive victories. The 1936-37 and 1937-38 teams also posted 11-game win streaks.

With their victory over No. 14-ranked Oklahoma Dec. 2, the Rebels posted their 300th victory in Tad Smith Coliseum. Ole Miss has an all-time record of 303-154 (.663 winning percentage) at the "Tad Pad." Tad Smith Coliseum opened in the 1965-66 season.

In recent years, the Rebels have been tough on all opponents entering Tad Smith Coliseum (a.k.a. the "Tad Pad"). Entering the 1998-99 season, Ole Miss had a 20-game homecourt win streak, and the Rebels extended that streak to 29 games, before falling to nationally-ranked Auburn on Jan. 13, 1999. Despite the overall homecourt win streak coming to an end, the Rebels still have another homecourt streak intact?consecutive home wins versus non-conference opponents. Ole Miss entered the 2000-01 season with the third-longest homecourt win streak versus non-conference opponents. With their win over Troy State Dec. 18, the Rebels' streak reached 42 straight.

In last nine years (including 2000-01 season), the Rebels have posted a 77-29 record (.726 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 60-16 mark (.789 winning percentage) against out-of-conference teams.

Ole Miss placed second in the Yahoo! Sports Invitational played in Laie, Hawaii, last weekend. The Rebels fell to Iowa State, 73-68 in the invitational's championship game. Ole Miss advanced to the title game with victories over Southern Illinois (70-66) and No. 13-ranked Southern Cal (84-83) in overtime.

Senior Rahim Lockhart (Mendenhall, Miss.) was selected to the Yahoo! Sports Invitational All-Tournament Team last weekend. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 12.7 points and 9.0 rebounds in the tournament's three games. He recorded his 19th career double-double (16 points, 13 rebounds) in the Rebels' victory over No. 13-ranked Southern Cal Dec. 22. It is the second straight season that Lockhart has received tournament honors. Last year, he earned All-Tournament Team accolades at the SoCon Holiday Hoops Tournament (Nov. 26-28, 1999).

Senior Jason Holmes (Tylertown, Miss.) played big for the Rebels in the Yahoo! Sports Invitational Dec. 21-23. The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 8.3 points in the tournament, but scored in double figures versus No. 13-ranked Southern Cal and Iowa State.

In the Rebels' win over the Trojans, Holmes netted 10 points, but none as key as his four free throws in the contest. His first two free throws pulled the Rebels to within two points at 78-76 with 31 seconds left in regulation, setting up Aaron Harper's game-tying hoop. Then, Holmes' two free throws in overtime gave Ole Miss the lead for good at 82-80 with 2:49 left.

Holmes followed that performance with 12 points versus Iowa State in the title game. He shot 3-of-4 from the three-point line and 3-of-3 from the free throw line in the contest.

After a slow start at dialing from long distance this year, the Rebels are getting hot from the three-point line. Prior to the Dec. 18 game versus Troy State, Ole Miss was ranked last in the SEC in three-point field goals made per game at 4.63. However, that has changed in Ole Miss' last four contests. The Rebels hit a school-record 14 treys versus Troy State and also posted nine three-pointers versus Southern Illinois and Southern Cal and seven versus Iowa State. Over those four games, the Rebels have hit 9.75 treys per contest. Ole Miss is also hitting 42.9 percent from the arc in those four games.

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 37.1 percent from the three-point line.

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 62.3 points per game, which is third in the Southeastern Conference.

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 79-9 record (.898 winning percentage) when it scores 70 points or more. On the other hand, the Rebels are 13-35 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 7-0 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 4-1 this year when scoring less than 70 points, with the lone setback a 73-68 loss to Iowa State in the championship game of the Yahoo! Sports Invitational.

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 62.5 percent from the field (10-of-16) and 58.3 percent from the three-point line (7-of-12).

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 615 career rebounds, after grabbing 27 boards in the Yahoo! Sports Invitational Dec. 21-23. Lockhart is in the No. 11 spot on the Ole Miss career rebounding list, and needs 22 more rebounds to take over the No. 10 spot currently held by Joe Harvell (1990-93, 636 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.

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 19th double-double performance in Ole Miss' overtime win over No. 13-ranked Southern Cal (16 points-13 rebounds).

He also had double-doubles versus Arkansas-Pine Bluff (17-12) Nov. 18, Louisiana-Monroe (16-10) Nov. 28, Memphis (15-14) Dec. 9 and Southeastern Louisiana (21-14) Dec. 13. 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.

In the Rebels' victory over Southeastern Louisiana Dec. 13, senior Rahim Lockhart 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.

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 68.1 percent from the foul line for the season, but more importantly, the Rebels are hitting their foul shots down the stretch. In their five narrow wins over Sam Houston State, VCU, Oklahoma, Memphis and Southern Illinois, the Rebels shot 80 percent from the line (40-of-50) in the final four minutes (and overtime) of those games.

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.

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 three blocks in the Yahoo! Sports Invitational Dec. 21-23, he now has 107 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.

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 121 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 24 blocked shots.

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. He did it again Dec. 21 versus Southern Illinois. With the Salukis beginning to take control of the game early in the second half, Flanigan hit three treys in a three-minute stretch to keep the Rebels to within striking distance. The three treys tied a career best. He also hit two key free throws with six minutes left to widen the Rebel lead.

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.

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 51-26 record (.662 winning percentage) in December games since the 1990-91 campaign. The Rebels are 7-1 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' two victories in the Yahoo! Sports Invitational Dec. 21-23, this class has now won 72 games, just two 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 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.



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