After a sloppy first half, which included seven turnovers and missed assignments on both ends, the Rebels took over and pulled away from a hapless Cowboys team, 76-50, to move to 4-0 on the year.
Ole Miss was led in scoring by Murphy Holloway, who finished with 15 points and nine rebounds. He had 12 points and eight rebounds in the second half.
“Murph’s our energy,” Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said. “I thought we were really lethargic. Didn’t play well. Worst game of the year, I thought. Murph’s energy propelled us. We’ll take it. Hopefully, we can get a little better on Friday.”
Reginald Buckner and Nick Williams followed with 13 points and 11 points, respectively. Buckner had 13 rebounds. Marshall Henderson, who entered the game averaging 22 points per game, totaled just nine points on 3 of 12 shooting.
“We came out bad,” Williams said. “It starts with (the seniors) all the time. It’s our fault. We’ll take that. We’ll be all right Friday.”
Ole Miss is in a string of six home games in a row before it hits the road in December, starting with a trip to Middle Tennessee State December 8. The Rebels next face Lipscomb on Friday at 4 p.m.
“It’s real hard to get up,” Holloway said. “I ain’t got too many of these college games left, so I try to self-motivate myself. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Ole Miss opened the second half on a 17-4 run to push ahead, 56-37, with 11:57 to play. The Rebels coasted the rest of the way.
Ole Miss was without freshman point guard Derrick Millinghaus. Millinghaus scored a career-high 19 points in the Rebels’ win over UALR on Friday.
Millinghaus is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a lateral meniscus tear in his knee.
“I think it’s a big loss,” Holloway said. “He makes plays by himself. He was doing a good job for us. It’s a big blow for us right now, but I think (White) will do a good job.”
With Millinghaus out, Jarvis Summers and Ladarius White ran the point, with Summers drawing the start, as expected. Summers played in all 34 games a year ago, starting the final 30 at point guard.
“It’s different, not having that change of pace out there,” Williams said. “I think it’s very big. When Jarvis is in the game, we’re already kind of slow. Coach is fussing at Jarvis to push the ball. He’s trying, but it’s just not him. We understand that. We’ve just got to get out in front of him and make plays in the open court.”
Summers was 2 of 5 from the floor and 2 of 2 from the free throw line for seven points, and dished out four assists in 28 minutes. White had four points and three in 16 minutes.
“What a shame,” Kennedy said of the loss of Millinghaus. “We don’t know when he got hurt. He was just coming into his own. His speed changes the game for us. He can bring energy in a positive way with ball speed. We’ll go with Jarvis and (White) to run our team until we can get him back.”
Demarco Cox made his first appearance of the season, scoring four points and grabbing three rebounds in 14 minutes. Cox missed the first three games as he recovered from surgery for a stress fracture in his foot in the off-season.
“He looked like you were standing on his shoulders,” Kennedy said of Cox. “He didn’t have a lot of lift, did he? That’s to be expected. He’ll get better. He tries real hard. He’s got to get some game-speed reps.”
Ole Miss shot 46 percent from the floor in the game. McNeese State (1-3) was led by Desharick Guidry, who had 11 points. The Rebels dominated the paint, with 47 rebounds compared to 31 for the Cowboys.