Rebs have two strong halves in 108-70 win

A rip-roaring Rebel offense continued to turn up the heat and rolled to a 108-70 victory over the visiting Lamar Cardinals in Oxford Friday night.

With point guard Chris Warren continuing his sensational early-season play, the Rebs led 53-31 at halftime and never looked back, expanding the lead to as much as 44 points late in the contest.

Andy Kennedy said he saw improvement from the offense in this one played before an announced 6,864.

"We got the floor spread," he said. "I thought we got our spacing better. Offense is about spacing and ball movement and we were having some issues with that earlyon. In our first two games I thought our shots came too easy. By that I mean our guys were settling for the first look as opposed to getting the look that we feel is best for this team. We've addressed those issues through our spacing and trying to get the ball inside. Our big guys have been very, very efficient when we put them in a position to score. Tonight we tried to focus on doing that when they were open, and our guards did a good job of distributing the ball."

The Rebels, 3-0 on the season, collectively dished out 20 assists as Warren led the way with eight. Time and time again the guards got the basketball inside to let the big men do their work.

Dwayne Curtis led the way with 19 points (8-of-9 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the free throw line), while Warren was next with 16 points. Six players scored in double figures. In addition to Curtis and Warren, Kenny Williams had 14, David Huertas 13, and Zach Graham and Eniel Polynice 12 apiece.

Huertas, the sophomore transfer from Florida, had his best night yet as a Rebel, but Kennedy said there's still obviously room for improvement.

"He's still really rushing things," Kennedy said. "His shot preparation is still lacking simply because he's in such a hurry. Tonight he made a couple of shots, and I'm hopeful he settled in and got into a little bit of a rhythm. I think he'll continue to progress."

In addition to his eight assists and 16 points, Warren had only one turnover, was 6-of-11 from the field, and 3-of-3 from the free throw line.

"I thought it was his best game," Kennedy said of the freshman point guard. "Eight assists to one turnover is the one thing that jumps out to me. I thought for the first time he ran the team and got the ball to the right people."

Ole Miss broke open a tight game tied 6-6 with a 12-0 run in the first half. A Polynice turnaround jumper in the lane got the streak rolling, and a Trevor Gaskins drive and layup finished it off as the Rebs led 18-6 and were never threatened again.

The Rebels' largest first-half lead was 23 points on a couple of Kenny Williams free throws right before halftime. Lamar added a free throw to cut the lead to 53-31 at the break.

In the Rebels' last game, their halftime advantage was 51-32 over South Alabama. When the final horn sounded, the Rebels had a too-close-for-comfort 81-78 win.

Kennedy said he and his team talked about that at halftime of this one.

"Just try to play the game and put together two good halves," he said he told his team in the locker room at the break. "Let's grow as a team and try to improve. I thought tonight we did that."

A Curtis jumper in the lane pushed the Rebel lead over 30 points for the first time in the contest, making it 71-40 with 13:21 to go. The closest the Cardinals would get from then on was 28 points on a couple of occasions.

"Ole Miss has a talented team," said Lamar head coach Steve Roccaforte after his team fell to 1-1. "To see this level of play in the SEC, it makes a difference, and it will make us better."

Ole Miss shot 56 percent for the game (42-of-75). From 3-point range, the Rebs were 6-of-19 for 32 percent, and from the free throw line 18-of-23 for 78 percent.

Lamar shot 40 percent (27-of-67). From 3-point range the Cards were 4-of-18 (22 percent), and from the line 12-of-19 (63 percent).

Lamar Sanders led Lamar with 14 points, followed by Justin Nabors with 13.

Ole Miss outrebounded the Cardinals 53-30.

The Rebels don't play again for eight days, hosting Louisiana-Monroe on Sat., Nov. 24 at 2 p.m. at Tad Smith Coliseum.

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