Kennedy not surprised with team vs. UNA

Andy Kennedy said he saw about what he expected in Ole Miss' 108-103 win over the University of North Alabama in the first of two exhibitions for his Rebels.

"Obviously we've got a lot of work to do, but I've said that for a long time," Kennedy said. "I'm not terribly surprised, really. I anticipated a lot of the things we saw, because I've been seeing them every day."

The Rebels, playing before an announced crowd of 1,603, were short-handed as junior center Dwayne Curtis didn't suit up and neither did junior juco C/F transfer Kenny Williams. Curtis awaits further word on the stress fracture in his left foot, while Kennedy said holding Williams out was a coach's decision.

"And in fairness I'm not putting us in our best position, because I'm trying to give our guys an opportunity to play and to see who can play," Kennedy said. "Obviously with a couple of our front-line guys out tonight, it limited us to what we could do.

"I was really disappointed in our decision making and some of the things we did," he continued. "But again it didn't catch me offguard at all. It's part of the maturation process. We'll continue figuring out what this team can and cannot do and adjust accordingly."

On the flip side, Kennedy said there were some things he saw that he liked. But they weren't necessarily what one might call positives either.

"I like the fact that we had an opportunity to expose some of the things that are hard to get their attention with in practice," he said. "You tell them this is going to happen or that is going to happen. So I like the fact that some of our glaring weaknesses were exposed so we can work on them and get better."

Ole Miss opened the game with a 14-1 run and led by as much as 20 points at 36-16 with just under nine minutes to go in the first half on a 3-point shot by sophomore guard Justin Cerasoli.

But the Lions used 3-point shooting themselves to trail only 54-49 at halftime.

Ole Miss was never behind in the game, but UNA kept it close throughout the second half. The Rebs led by 12 points on a Cerasoli 2-point jumper at 93-81 with 6:44 left in the contest. But when the Lions nailed a trey to cut the UM lead to 93-84 with 6:20 left, the Rebel lead was never again double digits.

North Alabama got it down to four points on six occasions before the final horn but could get no closer as the Rebels answered each time.

Ole Miss, led by senior guard Bam Doyne's 21 points, shot 56 percent from the floor as a team for the contest. From 3-point range the Rebels shot 38 percent (8-of-21), led by senior guard Clarence Sanders who was 4-for-4 from 3-point land.

The Rebs were only 20-of-35 from the free throw line for a dismal 57 percent.

Four other players besides Doyne scored in double figures for Ole Miss – sophomore Trey Hampton with 19, Sanders with 14, sophomore Xavier Hansbro with 12, and freshman guard Eniel Polynice with 11.

Ole Miss outrebounded UNA 44-39. The Rebs had 19 turnovers to the Lions' 21.

All 13 Ole Miss players who dressed got in the game. Junior center Jermey Parnell fouled out in only 12 minutes of action, scoring four points and pulling down two rebounds. With Curtis and Williams out and Parnell fouling out, the Rebs were lacking as far as the inside game.

"We fouled too much," Kennedy said. "But everybody was trying to get their rhythm. We just made some poor decisions along the way."

Ole Miss hosts Delta State Monday at 7 p.m. in another exhibition contest.

The Rebels should know more this weekend about Curtis' stress fracture.

"It appears progress is being made as far as the healing process," Kennedy said. "But we'll wait until the expert tells us that. From there we'll make a judgement in what is Dwayne's best interests."

As far as Williams not dressing and playing, Kennedy said, "Just a coach's decision. There are some guys that I need to make sure that they're paying attention."

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