• 63°

Ole Miss faces next big test with trip to Tuscaloosa

By Staff
The Meridian Star
Jan. 17, 2001
The next big test.
The Ole Miss Rebels (14-2, 2-1 SEC) will take to the road again tonight when they travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to meet the Alabama Crimson Tide (13-2, 2-1 SEC). The game is scheduled for 7:00 p.m., and will be televised by Jefferson Pilot Sports. Ole Miss, ranked No. 20 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Poll, suffered its first SEC loss to Georgia (70-66) Saturday, while Alabama defeated Mississippi State, 72-59.
This game will be the 146th meeting between the two schools. The 16th-ranked Crimson Tide (No. 12 in ESPN Coaches poll) holds a 103-42 lead in the series, which began in 1921. Last season, the teams split their two meetings, with Alabama winning in Tuscaloosa, 96-67 and Ole Miss winning in Oxford, 63-59. The last time the Rebels won in Coleman Coliseum was the 1997-98 campaign, a 74-63 win on Jan. 10, 1998.
Sophomore guard Rod Grizzard leads four Alabama players in double figures with a 19.1 scoring average. Erwin Dudley (14.9 ppg), Gerald Wallace (12.9 ppg) and Terrance Meade (12.6 ppg) are also averaging in double digits. Dudley leads the team and the SEC in rebounding (9.7 rpg) and field goal percentage (62.8 percent). Meade is the squad's top three-point threat at 34.1 percent, while Tarik London is tops on the team with 53 assists. The Crimson Tide is shooting 44.9 percent from the field, 29.6 percent from the three-point arc and 72 percent from the charity stripe. Alabama is out-rebounding its opponents by an average of 5.5 boards per contest (43.1-37.6).
Ole Miss sophomore guard David Sanders suffered a sprained left ankle versus Georgia but is expected to play. The 6-foot-3 guard suffered the injury with under six minutes to go in the second half versus the Bulldogs. Before he left the game, Sanders had four points, two boards, five assists and one steal. This season, Sanders is averaging 6.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, while shooting 52.6 percent from the field.
Defensively, the Rebels are holding opponents to an average of 62.1 points per game, which is tops in the Southeastern Conference.
Senior Rahim Lockhart has 112 blocks for his career and is in third place on the school's career blocked shots chart. He needs three more to take second place.
Bulldogs conclude non-conference slate with Tulane: Stepping out of conference play for the final time this regular season, the Mississippi State Bulldogs play host to the Tulane Green Wave (7-8) of Conference USA. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at Humphrey Coliseum.
The Bulldogs, 9-4 overall and 1-2 in SEC play, are looking to snap a two-game losing skid, coming off losses to Florida and Alabama.
With their top six leading scorers on the year being separated by only 5.5 points, coach Rick Stansbury's Bulldogs continue to be led in the scoring department by senior guard Antonio Jackson (13.1 ppg) and junior center Robert Jackson (12.8 ppg), who also rate among the SEC's statistical leaders in assists (4.1 apg; 8th) and rebounding (9.6 rpg; 2nd), respectively.
Forward Tang Hamilton is contributing 12.0 points and 6.3 boards an outing, while junior guard Marckell Patterson averages 11.6 points and tops the league in three-point field goal percentage (47.9%).
As a team, the Bulldogs remain atop the conference in rebounding (45.3 rpg) and rebounding margin (+11.0 rpg) after having been out-rebounded by two opponents (Florida and Louisiana Tech) on the campaign. State enters the Tulane contest sporting an impressive 55-5 (.917) home record against non-SEC opposition dating back to the start of the decade of the 1990s.

x