UK Men's Basketball

Cat looks to change karma

OXFORD, Miss. — Ramon Harris reluctantly acknowledged that he changed his uniform number in an attempt to change his karma.

"I guess," he said, "if you want to say that."

Harris had worn No. 22 this season. During that time, he sustained a neck injury in a collision with teammate Michael Porter against Lamar in December. Then he fainted at halftime of the Alabama game last weekend.

"It was just a decision I made when I was in the hospital in Alabama," Harris said. "I told coach (Billy Gillispie) why I wanted to do it. He agreed and said that was fine."

Harris chose No. 5 because he has five siblings (three brothers and two sisters).

"Like I said before, a number is a number to me," he said.

Maybe so, but the change to No. 5 was the second time in three seasons he's switched. He began his career with No. 34. Then he gave the number to DeAndre Liggins as a welcoming gesture to the freshman.

Harris switched to No. 22, the number he wore in three seasons playing for West High School in Anchorage, Alaska.

Color coded

Mississippi called for a "red alert" for the game against Kentucky. The Rebels got permission from the Southeastern Conference office to wear red uniforms. Plus, the school asked fans to wear red at the game.

Ole Miss fans did not answer the call for a "red alert" with much enthusiasm. The Tad Smith Coliseum (a.k.a. the "Tad Pad") was hardly half filled, if that, at tip-off. The announced crowd of 6,852 was well below capacity (9,061) and represented only the second-largest home attendance for the Rebels. A crowd of 7,674 watched Ole Miss lose 83-51 to Louisiana State on Jan. 17.

Rather than a "red alert," it was more of a Whiteout. Malcolm White scored a career-high 20 points and grabbed six rebounds.

When asked about the power forward, Gillispie made a pointed comment. "When our two interior guys play all those minutes (70 by Perry Stevenson and Patrick Patterson) and grab five defensive rebounds, you're going to have opportunities," he said.

Freshman Terrico White, who began the season as a wing and moved to point guard a month ago, scored 21 points (one shy of a career high) and handed out a career-high seven assists.

"Anybody can play on any night," Harris said of Malcolm White, who averaged 6.8 points against SEC teams. "You can't discount anybody. You can't say he's a non-factor."

Terrico White played despite a painful bone bruise sustained last weekend at South Carolina.

Out of rhythm

Jodie Meeks missed 11 shots, which equaled the number of misses he had against Vanderbilt (five of 16). He hadn't missed more shots since making only five of 20 at North Carolina on Nov. 18.

His seven three-point misses marked Meeks' most since shooting 2-for-12 from beyond the arc against Miami on Dec. 6.

Meeks acknowledged that Ole Miss's intense defense threw him off his rhythm.

"That's right," he said. "I missed some shots early. They did a good job contesting shots. They never lost sight of me.

"I did miss some shots I normally make."

While conceding he got frustrated, Meeks added with a smile, "It's not going to ruin my confidence."

Sorry I asked

During the obligatory TV interview right after the first half ended, UK Coach Billy Gillispie had the following exchange with ESPN's Jeannine Edwards.

Edwards: "Coach, so far Ole Miss has been doing a pretty good job keeping Jodie Meeks covered up. He's only got six points. What adjustments do you need to make for him in the second half?"

Gillispie: "This is Kentucky. It's not Jodie Meeks. He's a very good player. What difference does it make? Our team's ahead by two. Ole Miss is playing very good. This is not a one-man team. And that's really a bad question."

Etc.

Gillispie said he played freshman DeAndre Liggins a career-high 34 minutes in an effort to improve UK's defense. "He did OK," the UK coach said. "His decision-making has to get a lot better, but he did OK." ... Ole Miss had lost nine straight games to Kentucky, a streak dating back to 2001. ... Because of the bad weather, UK stayed overnight in Oxford, Miss., and will return home Wednesday.

Columnist John Clay contributed to this article.

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