Bayou Blues

BATON ROUGE, La. (Staff and Wire) - Ole Miss never got its offense going in an 81-55 SEC-opening loss at LSU on Saturday.

Justin Hamilton had career highs with 23 points and 16 rebounds, and Storm Warren matched his season-high with 15 points and collected 11 rebounds to lead the Tigers.

Warren replaced Johnny O'Bryant, who broke his hand Wednesday, in the starting lineup.

Anthony Hickey added 12 points, all coming on 3-pointers, and seven assists. Andre Stringer finished with 10 points and five assists. The 26-point victory was the largest for the Tigers (11-4, 1-0) against an SEC opponent since they beat Georgia 81-52 six seasons ago.

The Rebels (10-5, 0-1), who have lost four of their last five games, had no player score in double figures. Terrance Henry, who was averaging 12 points per game, scored eight, as did Jelan Kendrick. Jarvis Summers, who had a 10-point scoring average, had seven points.

Ole Miss was playing without its leading scorer, Dundrecous Nelson, who was dismissed from the team earlier this week for a violation of team rules.

"We scored 50 with (Nelson) and 50 without him. It's easy for us to use excuses, that we lost our leading scorer and our leading rebounder. But that doesn't, in my mind, justify the inability to compete at an SEC level," Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said. "In my mind, this team does not compete 1-10. All 10 guys got in the game. All 10 guys have to compete at an SEC level for us to have a chance."

Kendrick played much of the second half, after sitting out the team's last game, a win against SMU, for a coach's decision.

"We are certainly looking for answers," Kennedy said of Kendrick. "With each opportunity to play, I hope he continues to develop as a player and someone that can help this team. I thought he did OK. Two-of-7 from the free throw line, it's as if — I've never seen this before from the foul line. It goes from our center to our point guard."

It took LSU less than six minutes to build a double-digit lead. Three baskets by Warren and a 3-pointer and three-point play by Ralston Turner sparked the Tigers in the opening four minutes. A field goal by Hamilton put LSU on top 14-3 with 15:38 remaining before halftime.

LSU had a pair of 23-point leads in the final three minutes of the half. Ole Miss scored the last three points before halftime to reduce its deficit to 20 points at 44-24. The Tigers committed just one first-half turnover. The Rebels were guilty of 10 turnovers which led to 10 LSU points.

Ole Miss trailed by 16 points after a Henry basket early in the second half. But, the Tigers answered with an 8-2 run. Warren made a field goal, Hamilton converted a three-point play and Stringer connected on a 3-pointer as LSU went ahead 54-32.

Two free throws by Hamilton with 11:11 remaining in the game gave the Tigers their largest advantage of 29 points at 63-34. The Rebels came no closer than 18 points the rest of the day.


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