November 15, 2007

Rebels host Lamar at Tad Pad

The Ole Miss men's basketball team continues to move through its early season schedule tonight, when the Rebels host Lamar at 7 inside Tad Smith Coliseum.

The Rebels (2-0) survived a second-half scare from South Alabama Tuesday night for an 81-78 win.

Ole Miss led by 19 at halftime, but turnovers and poor shot selection helped the Jaguars battle back.

"They went to a zone, and we got passive and started settling. As a result, they made us play. It happened especially in the open floor; we started to settle, made some bad decisions and they began to carve into the lead," Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said. "We certainly made some mistakes, and I wish I could say they were mistakes I didn't anticipate. But, I did because of inexperience with our kids who haven't been in these situations before."

Freshman guard Trevor Gaskins said the second-half troubles should help the Rebels refocus.

"It's almost like a wake-up call for us because we almost blew a 20-point lead," he said.

When the Rebels face Lamar (1-0) Friday, Ole Miss will be looking for another big night from sophomore Eniel Polynice.

Polynice had a career game against South Alabama, hitting 7-of-11 three-point tries on the way to 28 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and one blocked shot.

"The seven three pointers were definitely a surprise," Kennedy said. "But if you look at his stat line, he's a guy that should post in each column. For him, it's about the versatility he brings."

While Kennedy's gotten a lot out of Polynice in two games (a team-high 18.5 ppg), the Rebels are still waiting for David Huertas to snap out of a slump.

Kennedy said his sophomore guard's pressing, and the result has been some tough games (5-of-18 shooting, 1-of-7 three-point attempts). But despite the struggles, Kennedy knows Huertas is on the verge of breaking out.

"It's not coachspeak; I'm not worried about David. I don't want him to worry so much," Kennedy said. "I was a guy as a player who was very self-critical. That's not productive. I've told him to relax.

"All it takes is making two in a row. If makes two in a row, he's out of it."

Heurtas will try to get back on track against Lamar, who defeated Division II LeTourneau 103-64. Senior Currye Todd came off the bench to lead the Cardinals with 17 points.

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