By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Cold shooting for Ole Miss coincided with a hot streak from the visiting star over the last 10 minutes, but the Rebels had done enough damage in the first 30 minutes to carry the day.
Chris Warren and Terrico White each scored 19 points to lead Ole Miss to a 73-58 win over Texas A&M Corpus-Christi before a crowd of 5,291 at Tad Smith Coliseum Sunday.
In its first action since going 2-1 in Puerto Rico last week, Ole Miss (5-1) played without starting forward Murphy Holloway, the team’s leading rebounder. Holloway turned an ankle in practice Friday. He is expected to be available when the Rebels return to action Wednesday at Arkansas State.
When the going got tough the Rebels were also without starting guard Eniel Polynice, who took himself out of the game because of lingering back pain, Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said.
There appeared to be a lack of communication between the coaching staff and Polynice, who was followed to the locker room by assistant coach Michael White. They both returned quickly to the bench, but Polynice was out of the game for roughly the final 10 minutes.
“He’s got a back issue that’s been bothering him, and he felt like he had to leave the floor,” Kennedy said. “I didn’t understand why he was leaving the floor either.”
The Rebels shot 37.5 percent from 3-point range in the first half but hit just 2-of-14 behind the arc in the second half.
White was 5-for-9 inside the arc, just 1-for-6 behind it. Warren was 8-for-15 from the floor, 3-for-9 from 3-point range.
The Rebels took control early against the Islanders (4-3). They led 40-23 at the half and led by 26 with 13 minutes, 18 seconds to play.
In the early going they were able to limit the damage from 6-6 swing man Kevin Palmer, who was just 3-for-9 in the first half. Palmer led the Southland Conference in scoring and was the league’s newcomer of the year last year. He began the day averaging 18.8 points and was 4-for-6 from 3-point range in the second half. The Islanders got as close as 11 points back on his 3-pointer from the right wing with 2:07 remaining.
“In the first half they were playing me pretty tight. My teammates set some screens. I got some good looks, and I was able to nail some shots,” said Palmer, who finished with a game-high 23 points.
The Islanders outscored Ole Miss 35-33 in the second half.
The Rebels cut down on turnovers and finished with just six while forcing 14.
In the absence of Holloway, and later Polynice, sophomore Terrance Henry provided a nice frontcourt presence with 12 points and four rebounds. He was 5-for-5 from the floor, 2-for-2 from 3-point range and had three assists in 22 minutes.
“He was the bright spot,” Kennedy said. “Up by 26 with 13 minutes left we lost our edge, put it in cruise control and did some clock-watching. Then without EP and Murphy, two guys that play heavy minutes, that gets a little into your bench.”