Crescent City Victory

NEW ORLEANS – Ole Miss has been looking for more scorers besides Chris Warren and David Huertas. The Rebels have also been looking for some inside help. Today in a 78-65 win over UNO, that help came in the form of redshirt freshman big man Kevin Cantinol.

"Chief," as his teammates and coaches call him, gave the Rebels a big lift down the stretch in the first half, scoring eight points in eight minutes – 4-for-4 shooting with a couple of important putbacks and a defensive play that forced a turnover.

In the second half he scored no more points but had four rebounds and one block for the game in 23 total minutes. After the Rebels moved to 6-2 on the season, Andy Kennedy said we'll be seeing more of the 6-foot-10, 250-pounder.

"Honestly he's the one guy on the team that has not had an opportunity, but I can assure you that's going to change," he said.

Ole Miss led most of the way early before a run by UNO put the Privateers ahead 27-26 with four and a half minutes to go before halftime. A Cantinol near-hook shot in the lane gave the Rebels the lead back they didn't relinquish again. Ole Miss led 42-32 at intermission.

The Rebels answered every UNO run in the second half and were able to pull away late. When Huertas nailed a 3-pointer with 2:42 to go, Ole Miss had its largest lead of the game at 74-60.

The Rebels still got beat on the boards – 32-31 overall and 18-10 on the offensive glass. Kennedy said Malcolm White, with two points, four rebounds and two blocks, was more aggressive.

"I thought Mac did some good things, and even his fifth foul showed an aggressive nature and that's what we need out of him," he said.

But there are other concerns along with the usual ones.

"We're fouling too often – 23 team fouls today after having 27 against West Virginia," Kennedy said. "Gave up 22 offensive rebounds against West Virginia and then 18 today, and that's ridiculous. We've got to shore that area up if we're going to be the basketball team we're capable of being.

"We're turning it over too much (each team had 15 in the contest) and we're not securing our defensive board. When we have the ball we're pretty efficient. We shot 55 percent against West Virginia and 53 percent today in a foreign environment. So that's not an issue for us. Our issue again is on the defensive end."

Kennedy said Cantinol produced when called upon, and that was good to see.

"We're really searching inside for somebody to rebound the ball and be solid for us," he said. "Kevin really hasn't had much of an opportunity. We're just searching, so we put him in the game and he did some good things, got to the offensive glass, got some putbacks and was a key element in our spurt at the end of the first half to get a little bit of a cushion."

UNO head coach Joe Pasternack said, while disappointed with the loss, he was pleased with several areas for his team against the Rebels.

"We played well in stretches, but against a team like Ole Miss, that won't get it done," he said after his team fell to 2-5. "You have to play better over a longer period of time. I feel good that we out-rebounded them, and I'm encouraged heading into Sun Belt Conference play."

Warren's 29 points paced the Rebels, who also got 12 from Huertas and 11 from Terrico White. As a team Ole Miss was 10-20 from 3-point range but missed an uncharacteristic 10 free throws (18-28).

"We had the lead much of the game, and playing in front makes it harder for the other team," Warren said. "It's all about executing and making a play when we can. We hit some threes and got to the line and hit some free throws. That's what we need to do."

Kyndall Dykes, UNO's top player who was sidelined until the last two games with an ankle injury, led four Privateers in double figures with 20 points. New Orleans only shot 33 percent from the floor for the game, was 22-25 from the free throw line but only 5-21 from 3-point range.

Ole Miss is off until next Saturday afternoon when the Rebels play at New Mexico.

"We've got finals this week, and we'll regroup and go back to work," Kennedy said. "It's a huge week for us academically, and then it's a month of just basketball. Hopefully we'll continue to improve during that time and become a better basketball team."

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Former Rebel football star and current Saints running back Deuce McAllister was honored at halftime for his many contributions to life in the New Orleans area. He received a warm and lengthy ovation from both Ole Miss and New Orleans fans.

Former Ole Miss point guard Sean Touhy was in attendance. The New Orleans native is a part of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies broadcast team. The Grizzlies are in town to play the New Orleans Hornets.

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