After a loss that saw the Rebels squander every opportunity they had at a win,they were able to do everything it took to win a game a day later as they defeated San Francisco 85-78 on Sunday.
Ole Miss was face-to-face with starting off the Hawaiian Airlines Diamondhead Classic with back-to-back losses. Andy Kennedy’s club found themselves down 13 early, with his biggest offensive and defensive threats virtually out of the game. Marshall Henderson played just 26 minutes and had more turnovers (3) than he did field goals (2). The junior finished with 12 points after going 6-6 from the line. His 6 three-point field goals taken were by far his fewest of the season.
Reginald Buckner only saw 21 minutes of action and was a nonfactor as he struggled with personal fouls. Buckner finished with 7 points and 3 rebounds. His defensive presence was felt early on, registering 3 steals and 2 blocks, before he had to be careful not to foul out. Fellow starter Jarvis Summers continued his troubles with collecting fouls, with 4 personal fouls in this one. In Summers’ last 6 games, he has registered 22 fouls. He finished with 11 points and 0 turnovers in 17 minutes.
The two teams tied in turnovers with 14 each, Ole Miss pulled down just 30 rebounds (average is 43.2 rpg), and San Francisco had 14 assists to the Rebels’ 5.
Despite all of this, Kennedy’s club was still able to pick up the win. A big part of the win was the terrific free throw shooting, especially when it mattered the most. The Rebels were 24-30 from the line, including 10-12 in the final two minutes of play. Summers and Henderson combined to go 13-13 from the line, with no Rebel shooting below 50 percent. Two other big reasons for the Rebel win were the typical, gaudy double-double from Murphy Holloway and the personal game of the year from Nick Williams.
Holloway had 23 points and 13 rebounds in the win, playing 36 minutes. One of the emotional and veteran leaders of this team, Holloway has been a consistent rebounder and his 10.9 rpg put him 8th nationally. After being held to zero free throw attempts against Indiana State, he was 5-7 from the line in this one.
On a night when Henderson did not have his best stuff, Williams provided a spark from deep. He finished with 18 points and was 7-12 from the field, including 4-6 from three. He also did not turn the ball over once, which could be huge for this team going forward. Getting consistent shooting from Williams and Henderson to go along with the table-setting from Summers would make for a dynamic back court in Williams’ final season.
Cody Doolin led the Dons in points (20), assists (8), and rebounds (7) in 37 minutes. De’End Parker had 17 points and 5 rebounds, while Cole Dickerson added 14 points and 6 rebounds as well. In a change of fortunes from yesterday’s game, the Rebels shot more free throws than their opponent, 30-19.
San Francisco has now dropped five games in a row to fall to 5-6. The Dons will take on East Tennessee State on Christmas Day at 9 a.m. local time.
The Rebels move to 9-2 with the victory and with a win in their next game, it will be the fastest the Rebels have made it to 10 wins in three seasons. Ole Miss will take on Hawaii at approximately 3:30 p.m. CT, 11:30 a.m. Hawaiian.