Ole Miss guard Nick Williams talks about Ole Miss' 90-72 win over Coastal Carolina Tuesday night.
OXFORD, Miss. -- Ole Miss was sluggish in the first half Tuesday, losing on the glass and the scoreboard.
Then Andy Kennedy delivered a halftime message, Marshall Henderson got hot and Murphy Holloway and Co. took the battle of the boards personally.
That combination allowed the Rebels to make quick work of Coastal Carolina in the second half, as Ole Miss pulled away for a convincing 90-72 win.
The Rebels (2-0) got 27 points from Henderson on 8-of-17 shooting. Holloway added 15 points and 12 rebounds. Nick Williams finished with 11 points and three assists and Aaron Jones came off the bench to contribute 10 points and four rebounds.
Ole Miss trailed 39-36 at halftime, in large part because the Rebels were out-rebounded, 22-14.
"I saw an intensity, a pursuit of the ball," Kennedy said of the Chanticleers. "I saw out of our guys a laissez faire (attitude), other than Murph and Reg (Buckner) at times. …Our guards, collectively, have to get a little more involved. A lot of that is new guys and watching as opposed to being engaged in the action."
"It was good for us to come out and get our butts kicked a little bit," Henderson said. "If we can come as a team come together and have great team rebounding stats, then we know the sky's the limit with this team. We're working on it though."
The Rebels opened the second half with a 21-8 run and never looked back.
"It was mainly just our energy and focus that we needed to have," Henderson said. "Coach Kennedy lit a fire in us at halftime. He'd been telling us the last two days we can't come out flat, that they're a pretty good team, that they'd beaten some good teams last year and that they had a couple of players now and they'll be competing for a tournament bid in their conference. ..It took us a butt-kicking in the first half to get things going."
Henderson hit six of 13 shots from behind the 3-point line, including three in both halves. His final trey gave the Rebels a 19-point lead and got the small crowd that walked through the doors of Tad Smith Coliseum Tuesday (3,059) on its feet.
"He's got passion, man," Kennedy said. "There's a difference between passion and emotion. Passion's good. Emotion's bad. He plays with very good passion. I think it's infectious and it gives us a boost."
Henderson added four assists, two rebounds and two steals in his 29 minutes, contribution Kennedy said he was "counting on" when he signed the national junior college player of the year.
"This is what I needed," Kennedy said. "It's what we needed. It doesn't surprise me. He's got a good basketball IQ. He understands the game. The game's important to him. He listens, works. He's got some toughness. We just have to keep him focused."
Coastal Carolina coach Cliff Ellis said the Chanticleers (1-1) simply couldn't find their shooting stroke after halftime. Coastal Carolina made just 11 of 31 shots in the final 20 minutes, while Ole Miss shot 56.3 percent from the floor over the same span.
"We knew in the second half the first five minutes were going to be a key," Ellis said. "We simply turned the ball too much and turned the ball over too much, whereas Henderson made a few shots and they didn't turn the ball over. I thought those turnovers turned into some easy baskets and the game kind of got away in the last 8-10 minutes."
Ole Miss plays host to Arkansas-Little Rock Friday at 7 p.m.
ADDED DIMENSION: Ellis, who has led both Clemson and Auburn to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, had high praise for Ole Miss Tuesday.
"Henderson has a quick release and it's off in a hurry and he believes it's going in," Ellis said. "And it is going in a lot. He adds a dimension to that Ole Miss team. They've got rebounding with Buckner and (Holloway) and those guys. I thought (Jarvis) Summers did a good job when he came in at the point. But (Henderson) is going to add a dimension to that team, I think."
ROLE FOR NEWBY: For the second straight game, freshman guard Martavious Newby was active in his time on the floor. Newby scored six points, added an assist and recorded two steals in 12 minutes. Kennedy said Newby has emerged as the Rebels' best on-ball defender.
"I love Newby," Kennedy said. "I think he's got a nose for the ball. He's just got to do what every freshman has to do, the attention-to-detail things - understanding how we're defending certain actions, understanding personnel, scouting, all that's new to him. …He'll get better in time because he cares."
TIP-INS: Summers came off the bench Tuesday since he couldn't practice Monday due to a knee issue. Summers scored nine points and dished out six assists in 24 minutes. Derrick Millinghaus started and scored four points in 16 minutes. …Forward Demarco Cox (foot) worked out with the team for the first time Tuesday. Kennedy said he hopes the junior from Yazoo City, Miss., can be in uniform Friday. …Forward Jason Carter did not dress Tuesday, as he's still serving a suspension for violation of team rules.