No. 23 Rebels Rout Rival Bulldogs
Feb. 6, 2013
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -Marshall Henderson was hitting from outside. Murphy Holloway was dominant down low.
When those two things are happening at the same time, Ole Miss is an awfully tough basketball team to beat.
Henderson poured in 31 points and Holloway added 24 as Ole Miss cruised to a 93-75 victory over Mississippi State on Wednesday night. The relatively easy victory stopped a two-game losing streak, but coach Andy Kennedy wasn't particularly pleased with the performance, especially considering a road game against Missouri looms on Saturday.
"I thought for 20 to 25 minutes we played reasonable basketball," Kennedy said. "We're going to have to do that for 40 minutes (against Missouri)."
But even with the uneven performance, Ole Miss (18-4, 7-2 Southeastern Conference) poured in the points against the overmatched Bulldogs.
Mississippi State scored the game's first basket, but then the Rebels reeled off 19 straight points and were never seriously challenged the rest of the evening.
Henderson scored just five points in the first half but hit five 3-pointers in the second half to help Ole Miss stay far out of Mississippi State's reach. Holloway shot 9 of 12 from the field and also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. The Rebels shot 30 of 59 (51 percent) from the field.
Mississippi State (7-14, 2-7) has lost seven straight. Craig Sword led the Bulldogs with 17 points.
Mississippi State's first basket was on a Gavin Ware putback. That's pretty much where the good news ended for the Bulldogs.
Ole Miss dominated for most of the first half, driving to the basket at will against the Bulldogs' half-court defense. Holloway was particularly good, hitting all six of his shots in the first half as the Rebels pushed out to a 42-23 lead by halftime.
"I think I was just taking my time," Holloway said. "They weren't very big in the post, so I got a lot of tip-ins and things like that."
Mississippi State tried to mount a rally in the second half, but every time the Bulldogs made some headway, Ole Miss answered. The Bulldogs cut the lead down to 75-65 on a Fred Thomas 3-pointer with 3:44 remaining, but Henderson responded with his sixth 3-pointer of the night.
Henderson had a quiet first half but got going after the break, hitting clutch 3-pointers to help stave off every Mississippi State rally. He easily topped his SEC-leading scoring average of 19.5 points per game, making 8 of 18 shots from the field, including 6 of 14 from 3-point range. He also made 9 of 10 free throws.
Ole Miss played its second straight game without guard Nick Williams, who is battling a foot injury. The fifth-year senior is averaging close to 10 points per game. Kennedy has said he expects Williams back soon — possibly in time for Saturday's game at Missouri.
Mississippi State's losing streak has now spanned more than three weeks, and the same problems — turnovers, spotty shooting, foul trouble and porous half-court defense — keep holding the Bulldogs back.
"I just thought we did a poor job of taking away things that Ole Miss is good at," Mississippi State coach Rick Ray said. "We didn't do a good job at all contending Marshall Henderson on his cuts. He got way too easy looks on free cuts. And Murphy Holloway has 24 points — we can't have any success when their best two players do that."
Mississippi State did shoot 18 of 32 (56.3 percent) from the field in the second half, but it wasn't enough to overcome the big hole the Bulldogs dug in the first half.
Jalen Steele scored 15 points and Fred Thomas added 13 points and six rebounds. The Bulldogs had 17 turnovers.
Kennedy now has 143 career wins, which is just one behind B.L. Graham for the school record.
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