It didn't take Dwayne Curtis long to get back in the swing of things. All the Rebel sophomore center, who sat out last year after transferring from Auburn, needed was to get back out on the court and play.
And play he did. The 6-foot-8 Curtis scored 29 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in 23 minutes to lead Ole Miss to a 91-70 exhibition win over Spring Hill College, an NAIA team from Mobile, Ala.
"I was very excited to get out on the floor and play," Curtis said. "Getting back out on the court was just great. After having played a year at this level, I knew I had to be prepared to play."
Ole Miss Coach Rod Barnes said he was pleased with his center's first time out.
"I thought he played well tonight, but he had some opportunities to finish and didn't," Barnes said. "He has to continue to finish plays offensively and continue to play better defense. But I was pleased with him tonight."
The Rebels debuted a lot of new faces into the lineup. Freshman Trey Hampton started the game and went 4-for-5 with eight points and four rebounds.
Also getting playing time were newcomers Clarence Sanders, Xavier Hansbro, Mike Smith, Marquis Young, and Patrick Spach.
Sanders had 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting in the first half but reinjured the thumb on his shooting hand (he had injured it in practice earlier this week) and did not play in the second half.
Hansbro was 1-for-9 with three points and three rebounds, Mike Smith was 3-for-6 with six points and five rebounds, Young was 2-for-2 with four points and three rebounds, and walkon guard Spach was 0-for-1.
The Rebels led 18-4 early but SHC closed the gap to 22-21 before Ole Miss pulled away again. The lead was 50-32 at halftime and as much as 27 points (69-42) before this one was over.
"I'm excited about what I believe we accomplished tonight," Barnes said. "We got to play a lot of different people and play a lot of different combinations. Obviously we've still got a long way to go and a lot of improving to do."
Not playing tonight was senior Londrick Nolen, out with a knee injury suffered earlier this week in practice. He warmed up with the team before the contest but did not play. His knee will be evaluated further early next week.
Brandon Patterson, who started the game along with Hampton, Curtis, Bam Doyne, and Todd Abernethy, had 15 points.
Barnes said it would have been nice to have seen the Rebels at full strength.
"We're pretty banged up right now as you all can tell," he said. "I thought we had pretty good execution for playing a lot of new guys. So for our first time out, I thought it was pretty good."
The Rebels open the regular season Friday night in the Jim Thorpe Classic in Albuquerque, N.M., against Southern Utah.
Rebels win exhibition 91-70 over Spring Hill
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