Buck Stops Here

Reginald Buckner has been suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team, Ole Miss announced Monday.

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Ole Miss hosted Grambling Monday night. Buckner was in street clothes. Demarco Cox started in his place. He had six points and six rebounds. The Rebels easily won the game, 69-39, to move to 2-0 on the young season.

Kennedy wouldn't elaborate on the suspension postgame.

"Conduct detrimental to the team, I think, explains it all," he said. "We'll work through that."

Buckner, an All-SEC selection by the SEC coaches, is 20 blocks shy of breaking the all-time school record. In 65 games, he's totaled 161 blocks. He had six points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots in the team's season-opening win against Louisiana-Lafayette Nov. 11.

Buckner, a junior forward, owns three of the top six single-game block efforts in school history. He's a former SEC All-Freshman selection, and became the first Ole Miss player in school history to named to the SEC All-Defensive team last season.

He averaged 6.8 points and a team-best 6.4 rebounds in 2010-11.

"It's a defensive presence. We need him to block shots and stuff," freshman Aaron Jones, who scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 22 minutes, said of Buckner. "We played harder (tonight), a little bit. We he comes back, we're going to play even harder."

"We need Reggie," junior forward Murphy Holloway said. "He might not block every shot, but he alters a lot (of shots). We need Reggie."

Ole Miss ran away from Grambling, shooting 41 percent from the floor. The Rebels were good on 53 percent of their shots in the first half, and shot just 29 percent in the second. Holloway led the team with 14 points. He also had 10 rebounds, his second double-digit rebounding total in as many games.

Demetri Wheeler had 12 points to pace Grambling.

Aaron Jones
Bruce Newman

"This team is trying to forge its identity," Kennedy said of Ole Miss. "I certainly don't like the statement that's been made from shooting shots the first two games. We faced two teams that, physically, we overmatched. When you have the opportunity to make open shots, you've got to knock them down."

Ole Miss returns to action Friday in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. The Rebels face Drake in the first round at 2:30 p.m. CT, and either Winthrop or Marquette in the second round.

"Everybody in the tournament is just like us. We kind of go into it blind," Kennedy said.

"I like it for our team. I think it's going to be good for this team to get everybody together. We can spend a lot of time together. We can learn some things about one another that we need to know so we can grow as a team."

Three-point woes:

For the second straight game, Ole Miss struggled mightily from 3-point range. The Rebels made just two of its 26 3-point opportunities, good for 7.7 percent.

Ole Miss was 5 of 26 from 3 against Louisiana-Monroe.

"If coach needs to, I'll get out there and make some 3s," Jones said, jokingly. "It's really frustrating. When we get open shots in practice, we knock ‘em down. But we need to knock ‘em down in the game."

"I feel like it's a concern, but I feel like they'll start falling," Holloway said. "You see a couple go in and you feel better about yourself. I think it may be a confidence thing, just a little bit. Coach said just step in and shoot with confidence."

Dundrecous Nelson attempted six 3s, making one. Jarvis Summers made the other in four attempts. Maurice Aniefiok, with five 3-point misses Monday, is now 0-11 from beyond the arc on the year.

"If the trend continues, obviously I'm going to be very concerned," Kennedy said. "I thought we did some good things. There were some good things, but it's just hard to feel good about it when you can't make an open shot. I dare to say those are the shots that we have to have the same guys take, and I hope in time they start going down."

Freshmen guards Jelan Kendrick and Ladarius White will be eligible to play in mid-December. Kennedy said he wouldn't categorize the two as 3-point shooters but both, he said, will compete for playing time immediately in the back court.

Maurice Aniefiok
Bruce Newman

"These minutes are precious, and we've got two pretty good players that are going to be eligible quickly that are going to fight for those minutes," Kennedy said.

"When you get your opportunity, you need to take advantage of it. I just think we've got a lot of young guys that are pressing. Hopefully that'll change."

Short Returns:

Senior forward Steadman Short returned to action against Grambling. Short had been out with a stress fracture in his foot.

"Going into the game, if the Reg situation had not occurred," Kennedy said, "I'm not sure how much he would have played. Obviously the goal was to get him into the game in St. Thomas. But he's progressed good. The last two days, pain free. He needs to get a little rhythm. I thought he was active, did some good things."

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