Battle for Boards

Ole Miss scored no less than 90 points in each of its first two games, both lopsided wins.

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However, in both games, Ole Miss had its issues with rebounding, especially in its 90-72 win over Coastal Carolina on Tuesday. The Rebels were out-rebounded, 39-34, and only Murphy Holloway totaled double-digit rebounds with a team-high 12.

Aaron Jones was second on the team with four.

"I saw an intensity, a pursuit of the ball," from Coastal Carolina, Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said. "I saw our guys laissez-faire, other than Murph and A.J. at times."

Forward Reginald Buckner managed only two rebounds in the win, and had but five in the Rebels' season-opening win over Mississippi Valley State. Buckner entered the year as the second-leading rebounder in the Southeastern Conference.

"When a guy (Buckner) you need to get 10 gets two, that's the seven or eight that you need," Kennedy said. "Our guards, collectively, have to get a little more involved. But again, a lot of that is new guys and watching as opposed to being engaged in the action."

Ole Miss (2-0) had 54 rebounds compared to 43 for Mississippi Valley State. Still, the Delta Devils were effective on the offensive glass with 15 boards. A positive, guards Ladarius White, a sophomore, and Martavious Newby, a freshman, combined for 15 rebounds.

Marshall Henderson
Josh McCoy

Guard Marshall Henderson, who is averaging a team-high 24.5 points per game, said rebounding is the chief concern for Ole Miss in the early stages of the season.

"That's obviously the biggest concern we have on our team, and we're working on it in practice," he said

Holloway has notched a double-double in back-to-back games to open the year. He has 27 career double-doubles, and his 766 career rebounds is tied with Justin Reed for seventh all-time in school history.

Buckner has a history of productive rebounding, including a 2011 season that saw the senior average 8.1 rebounds per game, good for fourth in the conference.

The guards, according to Henderson, have to do more.

"As far as guards, sometimes we get caught standing, watching a shot," Henderson, with three total rebounds to his credit so far, said.

"It's easy for us to do that when we know our guys are getting back on defense. Guys like me tend to think ‘Let's get it and go.' We need to focus more on everyone, as a whole, going to rebound each and every time."

Guard Nick Williams played in all 34 games last season, with 32 starts, and averaged 10.1 points and 3.4 rebounds. He, too, believes the impetus is on the guards to be more productive.

"We shouldn't lose any rebounding games with those two guys (Holloway and Buckner) and with the size of me and (White)," Williams said. "We shouldn't ever be down on the boards. We've just got to get back in the lab and keep practicing.

"Reg and Murph are going to get theirs. Me and Marshall and Jarvis (Summers) just got to stick our nose in there and be tough. We'll do it and we'll get better at it."

Two games is probably too small a sample size to gauge rebounding success or failure, but Henderson can see the red flags. Team rebounding is an area in need of improvement.

Ole Miss hosts Arkansas-Little Rock (1-1) tonight at 7 p.m.

"If we, as a team, can come together and have great rebounding stats, we know the sky's the limit with this team," Henderson said. "We're working on it, though. Just got to keep working. Can't let up."

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