By Parrish Alford/ NEMS Daily Journal
BATON ROUGE, La. – Murphy Holloway’s mother will be proud. He’s cleaned up pretty nice.
The Ole Miss center had been in a scoring funk in three previous SEC games but returned with passion, his coach said, in posting a double-double against South Carolina.
An Irmo, S.C., native who grew up just minutes from the Gamecocks’ campus, Holloway had 14 points and 12 rebounds in helping No. 22 Ole Miss to a 66-57 SEC win. The significant factor was the way he scored his points – with dunks and put-backs, not settling for distant jump shots as he had of late.
“He cleaned up a lot of misses, which is what we’ve got to have,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. “We were still missing some shots in the lane. We hadn’t had people cleaning that up, and Murph did his job tonight.”
Kennedy hopes that will jumpstart Holloway to greater consistency beginning today. No. 22 Ole Miss (14-4, 2-2 SEC) takes on league-winless LSU (9-9, 0-4 SEC) at 12:30 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The SEC Network telecast will be aired by WCBI.
Holloway, a 6-foot-7 sophomore, notched his fourth double-double of the season against South Carolina but his first in SEC play. He had averaged only four points over the first three conference games. He’d grabbed 17 rebounds but just five on the offensive end.
Holloway had 12 points in the second half, twice scoring with a rebound and once taking a pass from Chris Warren to slam it home.
He had been troubled by his lack of production.
“It was coach, we talked, and he said, ‘I know you’re down in numbers, but just keep getting offensive boards, and it will come to you,’” Holloway said. “I got dunks, layups … I cleaned up a lot of things.”
Holloway’s success came against a South Carolina lineup that had been depleted in the post by the loss of key players Dominique Archie to injury and Mike Holmes to dismissal.
While the Rebels were able to contain South Carolina star guard Devan Downey for most of Wednesday’s game, they will face more threats in Holloway’s domain today.
LSU forward Tasmin Mitchell is averaging 18.1 points a game and can post up on the block as well as score from outside. He had 38 points in the Tigers’ 84-80 home loss to Auburn Wednesday.
The Tigers are also getting 13.7 points and 8.7 rebounds from center Storm Warren, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds against Auburn. At 6-7, 220, Warren and Holloway are similar players.
The Rebels have struggled to guard in the post, sending SEC teams to the free throw line an average of 29 times a game. South Carolina was 15-for-20 from the free throw line against Ole Miss in the second half alone.
LSU led Auburn by seven points with 13 minutes, 58 seconds to play. Coach Trent Johnson cited Auburn’s skill on the perimeter as a difficult matchup for his team, the same strengths that have favored Ole Miss this season.
Both LSU and Auburn shot more than 50 percent as LSU held a 47-45 halftime lead, but the home Tigers shot only 35.3 percent in the second half.
“I can’t fault our effort or the way we fought, but this team is really down now,” Johnson said following the game. “It was tough because the thing got away because the kids felt pressure or whatever it was. It just got away from us.”
Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
No. 22 Ole Miss at LSU
– TV: WCBI
– Radio: Ole Miss Network, XM Channel 200, Sirius Channel 215.
– Series: LSU leads 116-80.
– Last year: LSU 83-51 in Oxford; LSU 73-66 in Baton Rouge
– Coaches: Ole Miss – Andy Kennedy (96-56, fifth year; 75-42, fourth year at Ole Miss); LSU – Trent Johnson (196-138, 12th year; 36-17, second year at LSU)
– Notes: The Rebels are two wins shy of equaling last year’s victory total. … Ole Miss hasn’t won back-to-back SEC games since beating Tennessee and Georgia in the third week of February last year. … The last 28 meetings between LSU and Ole Miss are 14 wins each. … Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy is 4-4 against LSU including one win while interim coach at Cincinnati.
No. 22 Ole Miss (14-4, 2-2 SEC)
F – Murphy Holloway 6-7 So. 10.3 ppg
G – Chris Warren 5-10 Jr. 16.6 ppg
G – Eniel Polynice 6-5 Jr. 4.2 apg
G – Terrico White 6-5 So. 15.9 ppg
F – Dwyane Cranston 6-9 Sr. 4.8 ppg
Top reserves: G Zach Graham, G Trevor Gaskins, F Terrence Henry
LSU (9-9, 0-4 SEC)
F – Tasmin Mitchell 6-7 Sr. 18.1 ppg
F – Dennis Harris 6-11 Fr. 4.4 ppg
F – Storm Warren 6-7 So. 13.7 ppg
G – Chris Bass 6-1 So. 2.9 ppg
G – Bo Spencer 6-2 Jr. 14.9
Top reserves: G Zach Kinsley
G Aaron Dotson
F Garrett Green