BLOG — Ole Miss stayed perfect on the young season with an 84-50 victory over North Carolina A&T Tuesday afternoon at C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum.
The Rebels (4-0 overall) were led by guard Derrick Millinghaus, who followed up his career-best 21-point performance against Mississippi Valley State last Friday with 16 points against A&T. Junior forward Aaron Jones recorded his first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Guard Jarvis Summers finished with 13 points.
Senior guard Marshall Henderson had eight points in his third game back from suspension in just 13 minutes. Henderson played very little in the second half, but Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said Henderson was purposely held out to loosen up the Aggies’ defense and to get some extended minutes for the Rebels’ bench.
“Just a coaching decision really,” Kennedy said. “With Marshall, they got in a box-in-1. It kind of threw us, and we got real passive against it. I knew when he was out of the game, then they weren’t going to be in that box-and-1, and we could attack. That was just a coach’s decision.”
Ole Miss built a double-digit lead less than four minutes into the contest with North Carolina A&T coming within one possession of the Rebels just once the rest of the way. The Rebels shot 51 percent from the floor and knocked down 10 of their 22 attempts from 3-point range.
The Rebels claimed a 47-33 halftime lead and tightened up their defense in the second half to take control. The Aggies hit just two of their first 16 shots in the final 20 minutes, and by the the time Demarco Cox knocked down a pair of free throws with 11:55 left, Ole Miss led 59-39 — its largest advantage of the game at the time — on its way to a comfortable victory.
The Rebels hit three of their first four shots and went up by as many as 13 midway through the first half before the Aggies went on a run of their own, outscoring the Rebels 15-5 over the next five minutes to close within 32-29.
Ole Miss didn’t get many second chances thanks to a 15-17 rebounding disadvantage in the first 20 minutes, but the Rebels started heating up again, connecting on five of their next seven shots along with two free throws apiece from Henderson and Millinghaus to grab their largest lead of the half at 47-30.
Lamont Middleton and Richaud Pack each scored 13 points for A&T.
The Rebels’ last two victories have been part of the Barclays Classic, which now shifts to Brooklyn, N.Y., starting Friday. Ole Miss will take a step up in competition when it faces Georgia Tech at 3:30 p.m. Kennedy said he likes where his team’s at through the first four games.
“We did what we were supposed to do,” Kennedy said. “We got through the first four unscathed, and now obviously the stakes get raised.”
See Wednesday’s edition of the EAGLE for complete coverage of Ole Miss’ win. (November 26, 2013)