Getting Defensive

After almost a month's worth of practices, Ole Miss finally tipped off its season Friday night. Without Chris Warren. Or Zach Graham.

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But the Rebels, led by Terrance Henry and Nick Williams, had more than enough.

Ole Miss (1-0) hosted a hapless Louisiana-Monroe team, and handled the Warhawks with relative ease, 60-38, in front of a rather strong showing of fans inside Tad Smith Coliseum. Ole Miss announced attendance of 5,729.

The win marked the lowest scoring output for an opponent in the Andy Kennedy era. The Rebels held Nicholls State to 41 points in January of 2009. ULM's point total of 38 is the lowest since Arkansas-Pine Bluff scored 38 against the Rebels on Dec. 28, 2002.

"I thought we guarded pretty well," Kennedy said. "We didn't give them easy looks. I didn't think they'd be able to score at the rim because we're bigger and a little more athletic inside."

Ole Miss struggled all night offensively. The Rebels shot 33 percent for the game, including 5 of 26 from 3-point range. ULM (0-1) made just 29 percent of its shots, and 20 percent of its 3-point tries.

Henry had 15 points to lead all scorers, as well as four rebounds. Williams had 13 and grabbed three rebounds. Dundrecous Nelson was the only other player in double-digit points for either team. He scored 12.

"We were trying to force it," Williams said. "They had a junk defense they was playing, just switching everything. There were some cracks in it; we were just trying to force it too much. It was the first game. I knew we were going to have some struggles like that. We've just got to move on. We just got to make some more shots. That'll come."

Ole Miss is now 77-25 all-time in season-opening games. The Rebels now have an 11-game win streak over ULM, and lead the all-time series 14-4.

"Certainly wasn't a thing of beauty," Kennedy said. "When you get open looks, you've got to have the ability to step up and knock ‘em down. We'll keep working at it. I thought we got passive, and I'm not very happy with it because I didn't think we played very well; only in segments."

Dundrecous Nelson
Bruce Newman

Holloway and Buckner rack up the rebounds:

Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner combined to grab 27 of Ole Miss' 48 rebounds. Holloway finished with 17 rebounds and six points in his first game since transferring back to Ole Miss from South Carolina.

"It's some Dennis Rodman stats tonight, man," Holloway said, referencing the Hall of Fame NBA player who was known for his rebounding abilities. "But I'll take it. It's kind of a sloppy win. I think their defense effected us a lot, getting points close to the basket."

"You know what? I think, personally, it was terrible, ‘cause I couldn't get not one rebound. I had four rebounds today. They got them all," Henry joked of Holloway and Buckner. "But that's great. We're going to need them to get rebounds like that the whole year."

The game was a return to form for Holloway, who averaged 10.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in 2009-10, his sophomore season at Ole Miss, and his final season prior to his transfer to South Carolina. His 259 total rebounds led the team by a wide margin that year.

"It is nice to have him back," Kennedy said of Holloway. "I think one of the strengths of this team is we should be able to rebound the ball."

Buckner, who had 10 rebounds and six points, was injured with 10 minutes to go in the game. A junior forward, Buckner fell to the floor hard, and exited the game with dizziness. Kennedy allowed a pleading Buckner back into the game, but he finally left for good due to light headedness.

"May have knocked some sense into him," Kennedy said, jokingly. "I think he'll be fine."

Youth is served:

Three freshmen saw significant minutes Friday, and one, point guard Jarvis Summers, was the first off the bench. Summers subbed in for Nick Williams with 14:37 remaining in the first half.

Summers scored five points and dished out three assists in 27 minutes of action. He turned the ball over twice.

"Naked eye, decision-making was a little tough," Kennedy said of Summers. "It's my fault most of the time, because I'll tell guys ‘Hey, you gotta make plays,' then they try to make plays that aren't there as opposed to allowing the game to come to them. I think he got into that some. He tried to force some actions. But he's going to be a heckuva player. Great kid. Works."

Maurice Aniefiok, a native Nigerian, was an early substitution, and forward Aaron Jones made his debut midway through the first half.

Aniefiok scored one point in 15 minutes. He was 0 for 6 from the floor and 0 for 5 in his 3-point attempts. Jones had one block and two rebounds in 11 minutes.

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