OXFORD, Miss. – Junior forward Aaron Jones recorded his first career double-double, while sophomore Derrick Millinghaus scored a game-high 16 points, as Ole Miss cruised to an 84-50 win over North Carolina A&T Tuesday.
The Rebels (4-0) will now head to Brooklyn, N.Y. for the final two games of the Barclays Classic — Georgia Tech on Friday and either Penn State or St. John’s on Saturday.
“We had the opportunity to get different guys minutes,” head coachAndy Kennedy said of the first four games. “It was great to get Dwight Coleby extended minutes tonight and see how he can be block-to-block, especially defensively. I feel good about the first four games. We did what we were supposed to do. We got through the first four unscathed and now the stakes get raised.”
Jones, coming off a season-ending ACL injury last season, has started all four games and had a career day in Tuesday’s win over the Aggies (1-4). He finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
“I’m really proud of him,” Kennedy said. “Demarco had one last game; AJ gets one today. He was really active, especially in the second half.”
“It feels great coming off the ACL injury,” Jones said. “It’s the first of many, hopefully. I’m improving as a player overall, and there are still some more things I need to improve.”
Ole Miss turned defense into offense with 39 points off 21 turnovers in the game. The Rebels also held North Carolina A&T to 25.5 percent (12-for-47) shooting, including 17.2 percent in the second half, during which they allowed just 17 points.
A starter in the first three games, Millinghaus came off the bench and responded with 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting with a season-high four assists and no turnovers.
“I’m trying to get him more assertive on both ends,” Kenendy said. “Defensively, tonight may have been his best game. He was putting pressure on the ball, and we turned them over 21 times. And he gave us great push. Any time you can have a point guard play 20-plus minutes and not turn it over, it shows that he has great control of the ball.”
Ole Miss scored the first nine points of the game and never trailed, leading by as many as 34. North Carolina A&T made it a one-possession game at 32-29 after a 15-5 run, but Ole Miss answered back with an 11-0 run to build a 43-29 lead.
The Aggies cut into the lead again with a 6-0 run early in the second half to get within 11 at 50-39, but then it was all Ole Miss. Coming out of a timeout called by Kennedy, the Rebels scored 15 unanswered points as part of 23-4 run to build a 71-43 lead and put the game out of reach.
Ole Miss will play Georgia Tech on Friday at 3:30 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The game will be nationally televised on the NBC Sports Network.
“It’s the next step for us,” Kennedy said of Georgia Tech and the Barclays Classic. “I’m excited to see how we respond against another BCS opponent on Friday, a team much like ourselves and everybody this early in the season trying to find themselves. Brian Gregory has done a good job everywhere he has been. It will be a big challenge for us and one I’m looking forward to seeing how we respond.”
— Ole Miss Sports Information