Lion Tamers

Trevor Gaskins got his first start of the 2010-11 season and responded in a big way as his 24 points led Ole Miss to a 84-71 win against Penn State in Oxford Friday.

The junior guard said it was all in a night's work.

"They just left me open and I stepped up and made a couple of shots," Gaskins said.

That was an understatement. Gaskins' point total was a personal career high. He was 9 for 14 for the game, 6 for 11 from 3-point range, and the team was 13 for 29 from beyond the arc.

Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said he actually started Gaskins in this one for his defensive play.

"I started him because I knew he would he would harass (Penn State senior guard) Talor Battle," said Kennedy, smiling. "Then Talor Battle scores 26. But Trev gets 24. But defensively we thought it was our best matchup on Battle early."

Ole Miss (3-1) took a 7-5 lead on a Chris Warren 3-pointer and never trailed again. The lead was its largest at 13 points, which was the final margin. The Rebels were up 40-34 at halftime.

Penn State (4-1) got as close as two points at 55-53 near the midway point of the second half.

But Ole Miss was able to stretch the lead back out with some key board work as well as continued effective shooting.

Chris Warren

When Gaskins missed, there was often somebody there to help out, like on a 3-point miss that was put back in underneath by Terrance Henry to make it 71-59 with just under five minutes left.

But Gaskins wasn't on the missing end of many shots and said it wasn't necessarily any momentum he felt from making some early baskets.

"I'm always confident when I shoot," Gaskins said.

That much was apparent in a big way Friday night.

Ole Miss shot 52 percent from the floor (27-52), and from 3-point range the Rebels were 45 percent (13-29). From the free throw line, they were 74 percent (17-23).

Penn State shot 44 percent (23-52) and was 47 percent (8-17) from behind the arc and 74 percent (17-23) from the charity stripe.

In addition to Gaskins' point total, Warren had 20 points, Nick Williams 15, and Henry 13.

Sunrise Shooting:

Gaskins said one of the reasons the Rebels shot the ball well was because they had put in some extra work this holiday week.

"We had been putting in major reps this whole week," he said. "So it came out as a good result. We were waking up early in the morning and shooting like 300 shots. All the guards shot 100 twos and 200 threes (every day). We did it Monday through Thursday. It came out as a good result."

Terrance Henry

Kennedy said this team works hard every day, and that showed again this week and in the game with the Nittany Lions.

"We had some guys in areas in which we were deficient in our last outing really step up," he said. "That shows you've got kids that care. And you've got kids that have worked this past week to earn the right to be successful."

Insiders Step Up:

Ole Miss was deficient in one glaring area in their last game, a 78-71 overtime loss to Dayton – inside play.

Against Penn State, things were better. Sophomore center Reginald Buckner went out with injury in the first minute of the second half against the Flyers. Against the Nittany Lions, he played 21 minutes.

"He's kind of like an NFL veteran who has to play his way into shape in the games," Kennedy said. "He hasn't been able to practice a lot. His hand gives him some problems. Then his knee (the last game). He gives us such a presence – five blocks in 21 minutes and altered another couple of shots."

Ole Miss won the rebounding war 32-26.

"When you win the rebounding battle and your leader (Henry) has six, it shows you're doing it as a team," Kennedy said. "That's what this group has to do."

Hitting The Road:

Ole Miss heads to Miami to play the Hurricanes of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Kennedy said he looks forward to seeing how things go away from the friendly confines.

"I'm anxious to see how this team responds Tuesday, because we haven't been on the road yet," he said. "You go into an environment against an ACC opponent, a talented team, a team that has ACC-quality players. So I'm anxious to see how this group responds."

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