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November 1, 2013

Rebels need overtime in exhibition win

OXFORD, Miss. -- It was a win. And a dress rehearsal for what to do without Marshall Henderson.

Ole Miss allowed a 15-3 second-half run and a three-pointer in the final 30 seconds, as USC-Aiken forced overtime before the Rebels squeaked out a 75-70 exhibition victory over the Division II opponent.

The Rebels played without Henderson, who is suspended for the season opener against Troy and also the first two Southeastern Conference games. Forward Terry Brutus is out for the season with a torn ACL. Ole Miss dressed 11 scholarship players.

"I'm anxious to see the tape, thought we did some good things," Andy Kennedy said. "I was trying to get guys minutes. That was accomplished. Thought we guarded pretty good. I wasn't pleased with the offensive execution, but some of that is paranoid of technology and not wanting to show a lot."

The Rebels took the overtime period, 11-6, on the strength of 9-of-13 free throws. There was only one Ole Miss field goal in the extra period.

Derrick Millinghuas led Ole Miss with 15 points. LaDarius White and Jarvis Summers each had 13, and Demarco Cox had 11. Martavious Newby paced Ole Miss with 12 rebounds, and Cox had eight boards. The Rebels out-rebounded the Pacers, 48-43.

Ole Miss led 50-40, but Aiken's run gave it a 55-53 lead. . The Rebels led 64-61 after a White three-pointer, but Aiken's DeVontae Wright matched it to tie it at 64. Sebastian Saiz had a shot blocked from behind with .8 left in regulation.

White hit both of Ole Miss' shots behind the arc. Without Henderson, the Rebels were 2-of-11 from range. They also shot 63.6 percent from the free throw line.

The last time the Rebels were on the floor they had Henderson, Murphy Holloway and Reggie Buckner to look to, but in this one, former secondary players had to take charge.

"I think at times we're still looking around saying, 'who are leaders of the team? Oh, it's me,'" Kennedy said. "It was good to get the new guys like (Sebastian) Saiz and (Dwight) Coleby some minutes and into a flow, so they could get some jitters out before it counts for real.

"I kept waiting for our upperclassmen to make plays, and we made a few down the stretch, which allowed us to win."

In his first game action back from knee surgery, Aaron Jones was 3-of-10 from the field for six points. He also had seven rebounds in 24 minutes. White played the most, logging 31 minutes.

The NCAA has instituted a no hand-check rule, but it wasn't overly impactful on Friday. There were 54 combined fouls, but that number isn't worrisome for a 45-minute game. Kennedy said the biggest difference is executing. At times defenders would simply stand with their hands in the lane as players drove to the basket.

"I didn't think the game was called a whole lot different. Our inability to make a free throw is bothersome. We talked about that after the game. Do you want me to talk about it a lot and get a mental block? Jarvis goes 7-for-12. That just can't happen. The game can get locked up in regular session if you make 70 percent, and that's where you need to be as a team.

"There were a lot of good teaching points… To be honest we needed those extra five minutes."

USC-Aiken went 25-8 last season and lost in the Elite Eight.

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