Big crowd turns out for rivalry
By By Austin Bishop/EMG Regional Sports Director
Jan. 13, 2002
OXFORD A crowd of 9,224 stuffed itself into Tad Smith Coliseum on Saturday afternoon to watch the Rebels take a 66-59 win over arch-rival Mississippi State University.
It was the third-largest crowd ever to watch a basketball game on the Ole Miss campus.
The biggest crowd was in 1981 as 9,321 turned out to watch Kentucky beat the Rebels 62-55. The second largest crowd was in 1980 in a game that saw Ole Miss beat State 75-64.
The listed capacity at Tad Smith is just 8,700.
Those throws really aren't free
Mississippi State knocked down just 18-of-29 free throws and missed several clutch charity shots with the game still in doubt.
MSU coach Rick Stansbury said he recognized the problem, but really didn't have any solutions.
MSU center Mario Austin of York, Ala., said there was no doubt that those numbers would have to improve if the Bulldogs were going to be able to win big games on the road in the Southeastern Conference.
No advantage for ranked team
Saturday's game marked the eighth time since 1996 that one of the two teams were nationally ranked when MSU and Ole Miss squared off.
With State's loss, the ranked team has now only managed to win half of those eight games. MSU is now 1-2 as the ranked team going into game. The two teams have never played when both were ranked.
WWF visits the Tad Pad
While it didn't break out into a brawl, tempers did flare a little midway through the second half.
With the Bulldogs trailing 38-34 with 11:46 to play in the game, Marckell Patterson drove to the hoop and was fouled by Emmanuel Wade. The two got tangled up as they hit the floor and Patterson wrapped his legs around one of Wade's.
As Wade tried to get to his feet, he took exception to the move by Patterson and hit him with a good mule kick.
The players on both teams gathered around the baseline, but no players left the bench and things were quickly cleared up.
No techinical fouls were called, but Patterson did step to the line and make both of his free throws to cut the lead to two.
No thank you sir
With 6:35 left in the first half and the 35-second clock winding down, Ole Miss' Wade fired up a 22-footer in desperation.
We will never know whether or not it was on target, because MSU point guard Derrick Zimmerman caught the ball about a foot off Wade's fingertips and slapped it over the MSU bench.
The possession clock expired and MSU took control of the ball.
Finally got that double-digit lead
Sophomore Ole Miss power forward Justin Reed thought he had given his team its first double-digit lead of the game, when he picked up an offensive rebound about five feet in front of the basket, took one step and threw it home with a dunk.
But the refs thought otherwise, as Reed was called for pushing off and hit with the offensive foul.
But the former Provine High School star didn't let it take any steam out of him, as a minute later he knocked down a pair of free throws to put the Rebs up 48-38 with 7:18 left to play in the game.
It hurt, but it also helped
When MSU's Mario Austin was fouled with 5:54 to go in the game, he had to be attended to on the floor with a slight groin injury.
Austin was unable to shoot his free throws, so he was replaced by Michael Gholar in the game and at the line.
Coincidentally, Austin was just 5-for-10 at the line at that point in the game, while Gholar had made all four of his.
Gholar promptly made it 6-for-6 to cut the Ole Miss lead to six. Gholar finished the game a perfect 8-of-8 from the line.