Sixth in a series

Day 6

It's unusually chilly down here.

To Ole Miss basketball coach Andy Kennedy, the gift of rebounding. We've mentioned Kennedy in this space before, writing about the gift of the NCAA tournament, but we usually receive more than one gift at Christmas time, and rebounding and other things will tie into that.

Yesterday's 71-50 victory over East Tennessee State was a good win against a quality opponent. The Rebels are pretty good when they hit shots, and Chris Warren was 6 for 12 from 3-point range to finish with 22 points.

But the Rebels were minus-8 on the boards, the Bucs having a 37-29 rebounding edge.

Backup forward Steadman Short did not play. He was contributing about four rebounds a game. Kennedy has called on his guards for more rebounds, and it looks like they're trying. Trevor Gaskins had seven yesterday.

Obviously rebounding guards are important if you're going to play four of them at one time.

But improvement will begin with the frontcourt, and it was good to see six boards each from Reggie Buckner and Terrance Henry against East Tennessee.

Demarco Cox, after a solid game against Mississippi Valley State, was much more pedestrian with just three points, two rebounds and four fouls in 18 minutes.

Clearly Cox has taken the role of top frontcourt reserve. He needs to keep coming and reach a point where he turns in more quality numbers against quality opposition.

Maybe Kennedy will find a rebounding gift card in his stocking that he can cash in for the beginning of SEC play.

Until that time the Rebels need to continue to compensate in other areas, like getting 6 for 12 3-point shooting from Warren, some help from his mates and by playing the kind of defense they showed against East Tennessee, holding the Bucs to 31.4 percent shooting, 25 percent from 3.

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