Barnes, Stansbury looking forward
By By Will Bardwell/staff writer
December 20, 2003
Ole Miss and Mississippi State are seemingly headed in opposite directions.
The Bulldogs are 8-0. The Rebels are 3-3. Mississippi State has rolled over opponents, while Ole Miss has more often just rolled over.
Both teams' coaches said on the Southeastern Conference's coaches teleconference on Friday that their last few non-conference games could go a long way in determining their fates for the rest of the season.
The Rebels have been fortunate in all three of their wins. Ole Miss has come from behind in the second half in each victory, and was down by 13 to Evansville before Kendrick Fox's three-pointer with four seconds left won the game.
Mississippi State, on the other hand, has had no problem finding offense. Guard Timmy Bowers and forward Lawrence Roberts are ranked 8th and 9th respectively among conference scorers, with Bowers averaging 16.1 points and Roberts not far behind at 15.9 points. Winsome Frazier is also among the conference's best, scoring 15.1 points per game.
Roberts, who transferred from Baylor over the summer, has been the biggest addition to a Bulldogs squad that returned just one starter from last season. The 6-foot-9, 235-pound junior scored the winning basket against Alabama-Birmingham on Dec. 6, and has put together six double-doubles in his first eight games at Mississippi State.
Roberts has given Mississippi State a reliable third scoring threat a blessing not bestowed upon Ole Miss. While Fox is shooting 44 percent from behind the arc and Justin Reed is enjoying his best season at 20.7 points per game, the Rebels have eclipsed 70 points just once.
Aaron Harper, Ole Miss' most reliable sharpshooter for the past three years, has started slow this season. Harper is shooting 30 percent from three-point range and just 38 percent from the field worst among the Rebels' starters.
Harper showed signs of life on Wednesday, though, finishing with 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists. He was 5-of-8 on three-point shots.
Ole Miss begins a six-game homestand today against Louisiana-Monroe, while Mississippi State travels to Santa Clara tonight. Should the Bulldogs win, they would be the only 9-0 team in the country.