OXFORD – Ole Miss escaped its first Marshall Henderson test unscathed thanks to Jarvis Summers.
The Rebels’ junior guard didn’t start at the point but at shooting guard, as sophomore Derrick Millinghaus took the wheel.
Summers responded with career-high 28 points, including 22 in the first half when he was 9-for-11 from the floor and 4-for-4 from 3-point range, and Ole Miss defeated Troy 69-54 in its season opener before 6,809 at Tad Smith Coliseum.
The Trojans, coming off a 12-21 season, are led by first-year coach Phil Cunningham, a long-time Mississippi State assistant under Rick Stansbury.
Henderson, the SEC’s leading scorer last year, was suspended for last week’s exhibition and the season opener. He’ll also miss the first two SEC games.
“After my second shot I was feeling good with the ball,” Summers said. “I said, ‘I’m just going to keep shooting and see what will happen.”
Summers hit his first seven shots to help fuel a 13-0 run as Ole Miss (1-0) took a 24-11 lead with 9 minutes, 2 seconds left in the first half.
The Rebels led 39-26 at the half. Ole Miss led by 19 with 14 minutes, 10 seconds remaining.
“I feel like I’m capable of scoring,” Summers said. “Most of all I just want to get my teammates involved and do whatever coach wants me to do.”
(W) Ole Miss 83, Jacksonville State 62: More will be learned about new coach Matt Insell as the season rolls along.
For now, it looks like he gives a heck of a halftime speech.
The Insell Era didn’t get off to such a good start with the Rebels going 8-for-41 from the floor, 8-for-23 from the free throw line to trail 34-24 at the break.
However, Tia Faleru and Valencia McFarland turned up the hustle lever in the second half.
Ole Miss opened with a 31-11 run to lead 55-45 with 11:43 left and continued to stretch the lead.
Faleru finished with a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and McFarland had 15 points, five rebounds and five assists.