Eager for the Big East

Coming to you a little late this morning after some technical difficulties, but we’re up and running again.

From the mother ship this morning, our account of Ole Miss basketball and what the Rebels have learned in their 5-0 start.

- PA

By Parrish Alford

Daily Journal

OXFORD – Off to a 5-0 start and producing some good numbers along the way, Ole Miss is test itself against a different level of team.

That chances comes Saturday at 1 p.m., against Rutgers at Tad Smith Coliseum as part of the Big East-SEC Challenge.

“We haven’t played the hardest of teams, and we know that,” senior forward Murphy Holloway said.

The Rebels are fifth nationally in scoring offense and 88.4 points a game and lead the nation in margin of victory at 33.2 points a game.

But that’s come against a schedule of lightweights, and times are changing.

After Rutgers the Rebels will face their first road game against Middle Tennessee State, a solid mid-major from the Sun Belt Conference that beat Ole Miss on a neutral floor last December in Southaven.

Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy calls the Rebels’ play “satisfactory” through the first five games, most recently a 91-45 win over Lipscomb last Friday.

“I think we’ve done what we’re supposed to do,” he said. “Now it’s time to take the next step and Saturday gives us that opportunity.”

Opportunity may be about to change for some players. The Rebels have 11 of their 14 players on the roster averaging double-figure minutes. That’s been made possible in part because reserve post player Demarco Cox missed the first three games, and freshman Derrick Millinghaus, a backup point guard, has missed two games.

Millinghaus, out with a knee injury, is expected back prior to the team’s west coast and Hawaii road trip over Christmas.

Kennedy announces no plan to drastically alter his playing rotation but hints that it could be whittled down soon.

“We’ve been able to spread the minutes, which was one of our goals early. I wouldn’t be surprised if the guys I’ve played to this point all get in the game. The extent they stay in the game will be determined by how they produce,” he said. “It hasn’t been just one guy or two guys.”

It has been a lot about Marshall Henderson, the junior college transfer shooting guard, who leads the team with 17 points a game in spite of recent shooting woes.

Holloway, the reigning SEC player of the week, is averaging 15.8 points and 9.4 rebounds, while Nick Williams is adding 10.2 points a game.

Sophomore point guard Jarvis Summers has 18 assists and only three turnovers.

“We’ve learned how to play together, learning to play with a good 3-point shooter like Marshall, and knowing what everybody can do,” Holloway said.

 

Parrish.alford@journalinc.com

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to Kory Keys and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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