Triple Play

It may have been the regular season debut for a large group of Rebel newcomers, but it was Trevor Gaskins that stole the show.

The true freshman received a standing ovation leaving the floor and had the student section chanting his name as Ole Miss (1-0) coasted to a 97-63 win over Mississippi Valley State (0-1) in front of 5,833 Saturday inside Tad Smith Coliseum.

Gaskins connected on seven straight 3-pointers and led the Rebels on a second-half run to blow out the Delta Devils. Ole Miss' biggest lead was 36 with 1:16 remaining.

Gaskins missed his first two attempts before rattling off the streak that finished one made shot shy of the Ole Miss school record. The 7-for-10 long-range exhibition equaled three different shooting nights from a year ago by Clarence Sanders and trails only the eight makes by Keith Carter against Prairie View in 1998.

Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy was even impressed. At one point, Kennedy could be heard across the floor instructing point guard Chris Warren to "pass it to the guy who has hit seven 3's," following a turnover.

"He is going to make something happen," Kennedy added later. "Sometimes it is good, other times bad. He got in a rhythm and thank goodness he did."

Gaskins was low-key about the achievement.

"After I hit the first one, I was feeling it," said the Alpharetta, Ga., native. But it was just like a regular game. I'm just here to help the team. That's all."

Gaskins' 21 points were a game high, and Ole Miss put five players in double figures, while never relinquishing the double-digit lead it achieved on the newcomer's first triple at the 11:04 mark of the first half.

David Huertas and Kenny Williams registered 12 and 11 points respectively, and Dwayne Curtis and Chris Warren chipped in 10 apiece.

"We've got depth and 10 guys played more than 15 minutes," Kennedy said. "Our seniors gave good leadership, and the new guys are a work in progress."

Ole Miss blistered the nets with 60 percent shooting and posted a solid defensive effort by holding the smaller Delta Devils to a 41 percent clip from the floor. The Rebels connected on 13-of-26 3-point baskets but were a mediocre 8-14 at the charity stripe.

Valley's Larry Cox, who stands 6-foot-10, broke his foot on Thursday and forced head coach James Green to go with a guard-heavy lineup. The Ole Miss frontcourt took advantage with a 42-27 rebounding margin, including 15 boards on the offensive end.

"I thought we could dominate inside against their smaller lineup," Kennedy said.

While it was the Ole Miss guards that received the majority of the praise, the Rebels' big men were to thank for the early lead. Williams, Curtis and Jermey Parnell were a combined 9-10 from the field in the opening period, leading Ole Miss to a comfortable 41-24 edge at the half.

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