Chris Warren had 18 points in 25 minutes Monday against Mississippi Valley State, moving into ninth all-time for career points. If he had played his usual 34 minutes, he may have beaten the Delta Devils by himself.
Because, as expected, this game was over at halftime.
Ole Miss (6-2) ran away from Mississippi Valley State (1-7), with runs of 20-5 and 24-9 in the first half alone. By halftime, the Rebels had hung over half a hundred on their neighbors from the south, leading 52-26 at intermission.
"We got a lot of guys minutes, which was a good thing," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "And we got our sixth win, which was a better thing."
Warren had already tallied 15 points. Trevor Gaskins had added 10. Reserves Will Bogan and Donald Williams, used scarcely through the season's first seven games, were given significant time. There was little doubt of the outcome, only of the final, lopsided score – 101-69, in favor of Ole Miss.
"We did what we were supposed to do," Kennedy said. "We were really good in the first half. Came out in the second half a little bit disengaged, but we picked it up towards the end."
Warren, who entered the game ranked fourth in the SEC in scoring average, paced six Rebels in double figures. Gaskins finished with 15, followed by Terrance Henry's 14. Demarco Cox scored 10 points in a career-high 19 minutes, while adding six rebounds.
"This is the best (game) I've played," Cox said. "They need me."
Monday was the most productive game to date for the 6-foot-8, 295-pound Cox. He scored two points and had four rebounds against Penn State.
"He's got a pretty good presence offensively," Kennedy said of Cox. "I think you saw a little bit of his athleticism. He's a pretty athletic kid. He's going to be a tremendous player for us. He's a hard worker. He's a great kid. He continues to work every day, and his role will increase with productivity."
Warren was 4 of 7 from the floor and 1 of 3 from 3. He made nine of his 11 free throws. He needed only six points to pass Aaron Harper on the all-time career-points list. And he did with just under 13 minutes to go in the first half.
In a win at UALR Saturday, Warren became the 11th player in school history to reach the 1,500-point plateau.
Ole Miss shot 55 percent from the floor for the game, compared to 36 percent for MVSU. The Rebels held the edge in rebounds, 44-35. Ole Miss made good on seven of its 22 3-point attempts, good for 32 percent.
"Right now, we're still not where we need to be, as far as a lot of things," Gaskins said. "We can always get better. There's always room to get better."
Ole Miss returns to action Saturday, as it plays host to East Tennessee State at 3 p.m.
"East Tennessee State's a good basketball team," Kennedy said. "Obviously, they just went into Starkville (against Mississippi State) and won. It'll be another challenge for us."
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