November 27, 2007

Halftime talk sparks Rebs past Troy

Andy Kennedy's made it a point to talk about his team's ability to score in spurts. But when Ole Miss hosted Troy Tuesday night, the spurt lasted over 10 minutes, putting away a pesky Troy team.

Ole Miss picked up its fifth win in a row, dropping Troy 102-76 at Tad Smith Coliseum.

The Rebels (5-0) trailed for most of the first half, falling behind 8-0 to Troy (1-4) at the start the game, but the Rebels chipped away before running away - using a 25-2 run to start the second half.

Maybe it was better defense and maybe it was better shot selection, but senior forward Kenny Williams said it was something else.

"AK," he said.

After a tough first half where Ole Miss missed layups, free throws and defensive assignments, Williams knew the Rebels freshmen were in for a treat - a very flustered Kennedy.

"Them freshmen, it's hilarious because I already know what's going to happen when we hit this locker room," Williams said. "I put my seat back, and I take cover."

Malcolm White looked at the halftime speech in relative terms.

"Well, at least he didn't throw anything," he said.

Kennedy put it bluntly.

"I'm not sure they like me much right now," he said. "That's OK. That's why they pay me."

Whatever Kennedy did or said, it worked, as Ole Miss started playing with a sense of pride.

"We've got to get our young guys to understand what playing at our level is all about," Kennedy said. "We haven't yet scratched the surface yet of how good we can be. Whenever we get in a rhythm, we are pretty good."

Five Rebels finished in double figures, led by Chris Warren's 23 points. Three Rebels also had double-doubles - Warren (23 points, 10 assists), Dwayne Curtis (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Williams (10 points, 13 rebounds).

Last season, Ole Miss did not have three players finish with a double-double in a game; two players had double-doubles in the same game twice.

The Rebels were without Terrence Watson Tuesday, after he suffered an ankle injury in practice. Watson said he hoped to be ready for Saturday's 1 p.m. contest with New Mexico (6-0).

Kennedy said Saturday's game with Steve Alford's squad presents the Rebels with their biggest test yet.

"They will be by far the best team we've played," Kennedy said. "Our play will have to be more efficient. Things we've gotten away with against previous teams, we won't be able to do that against New Mexico. "

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