Needing the bigs to play big

Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy would like to see more production from his senior bigs, Murphy Holloway and Reggie Buckner, tonight against Texas A&M in College Station.

Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy would like to see Murphy Holloway increase his production.

Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy would like to see Murphy Holloway increase his production.

The Rebels have been going through arguably the most difficult part of their regular season schedule — Kentucky, at Florida, a struggling Mississippi State team at home, but then at Missouri — but Holloway and Buckner haven’t met the challenge. Buckner hasn’t been as involved offensively as Kennedy would like. Following the Florida game Kennedy said he’d hoped to get 15 field goal attempts from Buckner but got only four. In fact, in the Rebels’ three SEC losses, Buckner has a combined 15 field goal attempts. He got off nine shots against MSU, but that was a game when he and Holloway had a huge advantage inside, and Holloway also excelled then.

At Missouri, Holloway was held to one rebound. Aside from Missouri, Holloway’s rebound totals the previous three games — 23 during that span — were OK but not up to his standards. While Kennedy would like Buckner to be more involved, the same challenge is in place for Holloway. He was 9-for-30 from the floor in the losses to Kentucky and Florida. The percentage was better against Missouri, but he attempted only four shots.

Missouri was plus-18 on the glass against Ole Miss, and while Alex Oriakhi dominated the post, the Rebels’ leading rebounder came from an unlikely source.

“When Marshall Henderson is your leading defensive rebounder, you’re going to be in for a long night,” Kennedy said.

Senior guard Nick Williams echoed his coach on Monday calling for he and his teammates to do a better job of getting more touches for Holloway and Buckner.

More from Kennedy:

“We’ve been bad the last four games. Our losses have been bad. We haven’t rebounded the ball very well. Our first-shot defense hasn’t been as good as it needs to be. A couple of quick shots leads to transition opportunities. Going into the Kentucky game we were leading the SEC in transition efficiency, meaning we were giving up less points in transition than anybody in the league. Then they came in and really hurt us in transition. We’ve been pretty good off the defensive glass, not allowing people to have second-chance opportunities and then Alex Oriakhi gets 10 offensive rebounds. Those are areas, we cannot be successful if we don’t do a good job of handling.”

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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