On Friday night, Ole Miss needed overtime to knock off University of South Carolina-Aiken, a Division II program, 75-70 in the Rebels’ final exhibition game before beginning the regular season this Friday.
Obviously there was a notable absence on the Ole Miss roster. Senior guard Marshall Henderson did not play, part of a suspension that includes Friday night’s season opener and the first two games of the SEC schedule.
The Rebels shot 18 percent from behind the 3-point line, coughed the ball up 18 times and were outscored by five in the second half. The SEC leading scorer from a season ago will be back in the lineup on Nov. 16 against Coastal Carolina. But Murphy Holloway, Reginald Buckner and Nick Williams still leave big questions for Andy Kennedy to answer, according to Hugh Kellenberger of the Clarion-Ledger.
“At times we’re still looking around as to ‘OK, who are the leaders of the team?’” Kennedy said after the game. “It really comes down to Snoop (LaDarius White), Jarvis (Summers) and Derrick (Millinghaus) without Marshall there. They’re the guys that were in the hard games last year and had success.”
Millinghaus led all scorers with 15 points off the bench while White and Summers each had 13 starting in the Ole Miss back court. Demarco Cox made his return to the floor after missing all but seven games last season to add 11 points and grab eight rebounds. Aaron Jones, who tore his ACL in January, struggled from the field, shooting 3-of-10 in his first game back.
“I kept waiting for our upperclassmen to make plays and we made a few down the stretch, which allowed us to win,” Kennedy added.
Ole Miss will be without Henderson, who misses Friday’s game against Troy and later in the season against SEC opponents Auburn and Mississippi State.
The Rebels will have non-conference games in Brooklyn (potentially against St. John’s) and at home against No. 19 Oregon to get more comfortable in their new roles before conference play — in an improved SEC — begins. And with Henderson on the floor, it should be annother entertaining season in Oxford.