The second half wasn't quite what Andy Kennedy wanted to see out of his Ole Miss team, but still he was pleased with much of what he saw in the exhibition contest played before 2,055 at Tad Smith Coliseum.
"We got sloppy in the second half and started turning the ball over," Kennedy said. "But we can play nine to ten guys if we are able to push the tempo. My mission going into the game was to try to give everybody an opportunity, and I must say I did a pretty good job, if I say so myself. It's impossible to get everybody in double figure minutes. We just tried to give everybody opportunities."
Twelve Rebels got double figure minutes. David Huertas led UM in scoring with 18 points followed by Chris Warren with 17, Eniel Polynice, Trevor Gaskins, and Zach Graham with 13 each, and Dwayne Curtis with 12.
Warren was the starter at the point. He was the front-runner coming into the game for the spot vacated by Todd Abernethy. Kennedy was pleased with Warren and looks forward to his improvement as the season begins.
"He's got a chance to be the real deal," said the second-year head coach of the Rebels. "He showed a little bit of that. He's young and he doesn't even know what he's doing half the time. He's just got that extra gear that we need to play the way we want to play."
There were other new players who caught Kennedy's eye.
"Trevor Gaskins is explosive. When he gets the ball something is going to happen. Zach Graham did some really good things for us. Terrence Watson had some good numbers. David Huertas has the ability to be our best defender if we keep our court spacing. David is beginning to understand what it takes to be a better player."
The Rebels, who shot 63 percent in the first half, jumped out to a double digit lead early but the visitors closed the gap to 24-20. Brian Smith soon thereafter hit back to back 3-pointers to push Ole Miss to a 34-22 lead with 9:49 to go before halftime.
A Warren 3-pointer made it 68-30 just before halftime, and it would have been tough for the Rebels to have maintained the same torrid pace throughout the second half. They didn't, and Kennedy said DSU had something to do with it.
"Delta State played the way they thought they were going to be the most successful in the second half, which was four perimeter players," he said. "So we had to go four perimeter players in order to match up."
The closest the Statesmen got in the second half was 80-51 with 11:34 left. After that, Ole Miss pulled away with the final margin of 45 points being the largest of the night.
Ole Miss shot just 33 percent in the second half. From the free throw line for the night the Rebs shot 88 percent (22-of-25). From 3-point range, they were 10-of-24 for 42 percent.
Ernesto Green had 20 points to lead DSU, while Brad Skipper had 12.
Ole Miss opens its regular season Sat., Nov. 10 hosting Mississippi Valley State at 2 p.m. in Oxford.
Rebels beat Statesmen 110-65
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