March 18, 2001

By the Associated Press

GAME: No. 6 Notre Dame (20-9) vs. No. 3 Mississippi (25-7).
REGION: Midwest, second round
TIME: Sunday, 4:45 p.m. EST.
SITE: Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Mo.

After surviving a near-upset in the first round of the NCAA tournament, Mississippi looks to regain its form as the Rebels face Notre Dame in second round action.

Third-seeded Ole Miss held off No. 15 seed Iona 72-70 on Friday night in the first round of the Midwest Regional.

Emmanuel Wade, who averaged just four points a game for the season, had a career-high 19 for the Rebels, while Mississippi’s Rahim Lockhart sank the go-ahead free throw with 50 seconds left, then made the defensive play of the game.

With 1.8 seconds to go, Lockhart stripped Iona’s Courtney Fields of the ball in the lane and Jason Holmes then hit a free throw to seal the win for the Rebels.

It was a struggle all night,” Ole Miss coach Rod Barnes said. “But when it came time to make the big plays, we made big plays.”

“The teams that get past these tight first-round games have a chance to go a long way.”

The Irish, who entered the tournament with three straight losses, are coming off their first NCAA victory since 1989.

Troy Murphy was struggling on Friday night, so teammate David Graves stepped up, hitting all seven of his field-goal attempts as the Irish beat Xavier 83-71 in the Midwest Regional.

Matt Carroll led the Irish with 21 points, shooting 9-of-11. Graves, who’d been coming off the bench since spraining his ankle in mid-January, had 20.

Murphy, the first-team All-America, added 19 points but shot just 6-of-17.

“I didn’t shoot it well and my teammates picked me up and made it easy. They got me a couple late for dunks and Sunday I’ll shoot it better,” Murphy said.

Murphy averaged 22 points and nine rebounds as Notre Dame won the Big East West division in Mike Brey’s first season as coach.

Murphy had managed just eight points as the Irish were bumped out by Pitt in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament when he shot just 2-for-11. It snapped his streak of 78 straight double-figure scoring games.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Notre Dame – F Ryan Humphrey (14.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg ), F Troy Murphy (22.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg), C Harold Swanagan (4.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg), G Martin Ingelsby (8.0 ppg, 6.7 apg ), G Matt Carroll (12.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg). Mississippi – F Justin Reed (11.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg), F Lockhart (12.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg), G David Sanders (7.1 ppg, 1.8 apg), G Holmes (6.4 ppg, 1.9 apg), G Jason Flanigan (7.3 ppg, 3.0 apg).

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Notre Dame – At-large bid, Big East Conference, beat Xavier, 83-71, First Round. Mississippi – At-large bid, Southeastern Conference, beat Iona, 72-70, First round.

ALL-TIME TOURNAMENT RECORD: Notre Dame – 26-24, 24 years. Mississippi – 2-4, 5 years.