Off with a Thud

So much for starting the season off on the right foot.

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Ole Miss lost its season-opening game Friday night, falling in overtime, 66-65, to Charleston Southern. It was the Rebels' first loss to open a season in 10 years.

“The great thing is we’ve got another game on Monday,” head coach Andy Kennedy, who took his time before making his way to the media room in the bowels of Tad Smith Coliseum, said.

“We’ve got 31 more games, I know that. It’s disappointing. Goodness. Let’s be honest, I’ve been doing this 10 years. I’ve never had one like this. You’ve got to do your best to learn from it. Easier said than done. It’s going to hurt. You want it to hurt. They’re a little stunned in (the locker room). Should be. We’ve got to go and try to get to 1-1 on Monday. We’ll see how they respond.”

Ladarius White connected on a 3-point attempt with 1:05 remaining in overtime to give Ole Miss a 65-64 lead. The Rebels regained possession with 43 seconds to go, but Martavious Newby committed a turnover at eight seconds.

Charleston Southern guard Saah Nimley drove the length of the court and missed a layup. Cedrick Bowen, however, was there for the put-back dunk, and the celebration from the Buccaneer bench was on.

The some 5,841 Ole Miss fans in attendance, meanwhile, fell silent.

“What happened at the end was devastating,” said Newby, the team’s leading scorer with 14 points. “This isn’t going to be our only loss. We’ve been through this last year and the year before that. Get ready for Troy. We can’t have a game like this again. Troy is a little better than this team. We’ve just got to keep playing together.”

Ole Miss was abysmal from the floor, making 19 of 64 field goals, good for 30 percent. The Rebels were outrebounded as well, 54-50.

Jarvis Summers, a preseason first team All-SEC selection, fouled out around the two-minute mark in regulation – a forgettable day all around for the senior, kicking off his final season with a line of eight points on 3 of 13 shooting, including 1 of 9 from 3. He had two rebounds, three assists, two steals and a turnover.

“Obviously, we’re all very disappointed,” Kennedy said. “It’s the first game of a long season. For us to be as inefficient as we were throughout the game, I thought we were very fortunate to be in the game.”

Ole Miss returns to action Monday at Troy. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

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