An Ole Miss guard took aim at the school's 3-point record for the second straight outing when Polynice caught fire in the first 20 minutes and hit five long-range shots on his way to 21 first half points. He finished with 28, but those early buckets were big considering South Alabama went on a run and fell just one possible possession shy of overtime.
Trevor Gaskins connected for seven makes behind the arc in the season opener against Valley, but this was Polynice's turn as he also hit seven treys to move into a second place tie behind Keith Carter's eight against Prairie View in 1998.
"The first game, I didn't have the ball that much, and coach told me I needed to shoot more," Polynice said. "I got the ball and tried to help the team out. Also, I played defense better too when guarding their best player. It was a good night on both ends."
Polynice says he more confident with his shot after working hard on it in the offseason. The sophomore made only 12 3's all of his freshman campaign, including four in his best offensive showing against the Privateers.
Senior forward Kenny Williams expected a stellar early game from Polynice after seeing him during the preseason.
"He looked totally different out there," Williams said. "He has been here working all summer. I knew it would be a breakout game. He worked on his jumpshot. If he gets open looks, he is going to make them."
The Sarasota, Fla., native took one last three late in the game for a chance to tie Carter, but like Gaskins, it rolled off the rim. Nevertheless, Ole Miss is proving that different players are capable of stepping up and carrying the team on different nights. And so far, the positives have outweighed the negatives when critiquing the young guards.
"If you look at the makeup of our backcourt, Eniel Polynice has more experience than anyone else," Andy Kennedy noted. "That is scary, but it is the reality we are forced to deal with. I have to put some burden on him, and he had a good game."
Kennedy also agrees that confidence is the biggest difference for Polynice.
"He was shooting it before it hit his fingers in the first half."
And more often than not, it went in.
Shooting Seven 2.0
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