But Millinghaus diverted the attention from himself and said it’s all about the team.
“It could be my game today, and the next day it could be somebody else’s,” said Millinghaus, who paced Ole Miss with 19 points in 23 minutes. “We’ve got a full team of scorers. Everybody contributes.”
The 5-foot-10 Millinghaus had a rather complete stat line: 11 shots with five makes from the floor, 9 of 11 from the free throw line, three steals, four rebounds, five assists.
Andy Kennedy said he saw a chance to play Millinghaus early in this one.
“Jarvis (Summers) had a couple of turnovers early and a couple of fouls,” he said. “That gave Derrick an opportunity. I think you saw his ball speed. He made a couple of plays when we were making that first-half run. He got to the foul line 11 times because he’s so active with the ball. Five assists and four turnovers is not ideal, but he’s very, very active.”
Kennedy said Millinghaus, who actually started the game Tuesday against Coastal Carolina as Summers was sidelined by some knee soreness, is becoming more comfortable in his role on this team.
“I was pleased to see him have a good game,” he said. “Hopefully he’ll relax a little bit now. I think (tonight) will allow him to exhale a little bit.”
Millinghaus said he’s indeed becoming more comfortable with every game.
“That helped me get in the groove. Usually I come in and I’m nervous, playing in front of a crowd like this. I had to get the jitters out.”
Millinghaus said he just wants to keep improving his all-around game.
“It felt good. I know I’m capable of doing that, but I’m capable of playing better, scoring-wise, passing-wise, defensive-wise.”
The Rebels, now 3-0, have been impressive so far with their athleticism, their depth, and the number of points they are putting up. In three games they are averaging what they scored in this one – 92 points.
Defensively? Thirty points less than that. Reginald Buckner was a tone-setter for that department in this game.
“First double-double of the year,” said Kennedy of his senior center, who had 10 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks, which actually all came in a half a minute span early in the game. “For him it’s all about approach. He’s improved his free throws. He’s blocking shots. We were trying to run some stuff through him where he could score close. He was a bobble or two from having a real game.”
Buckner said the results are because of the work he’s put in to improve.
“Just have a better approach to the game, and practice hard every day,” he said. “Things worked out for me. I got a double-double, and I hope to do that the next game.”
Kennedy said as the game moved on, he thought his team got into the flow of things.
“I think initially I wasn’t very pleased with our ball control,” he said. “I think (UALR) had 33 (points) at the half, 11 of them off our turnovers, and 12 off second-chance points. A couple of times we threw it to them and they got plays in the open floor. We settled in a little bit.”
Indeed they did. The Rebels broke open the game really before halftime.
But the second half was where the separation really began to show, and it was on defense that the Rebels seemed to intensify. They went into halftime with a 14-point lead at 47-33 but extended that with a 34-6 run to start the second half.
“In the second half I thought we were really, really good,” said Kennedy of his defense. “I thought we were locked in. We weren’t giving them anything easy. We were keeping them in front of us. I’m trying to play those young guys at the end, and I thought we got a little sloppy.”
John Gillon was the only Trojan in double figures with 14 points as his team fell to 1-2 on the season.
Kennedy said he continues to search for the right combinations, and it’s still early in the season.
“This team’s got some options,” he said. “I’m still trying to manage minutes, get guys minutes. That’s hard to play through, but I give our guys credit. Everybody responded. We were sloppy at times, but overall it’s hard to be displeased when you beat a solid team by 40.”
Kennedy on Henderson as a defender: “He’s got a great basketball IQ. Physically he’s going to get overwhelmed at times. He plays angles well. He’s a good anticipator. He’s got a high IQ defensively if he just stays focused. He’s such a weapon for us.”
Kennedy on the return of Demarco Cox from a stress fracture in his foot. “My hope is he will be available Tuesday. He’s been practicing with us. No setbacks whatsoever. Obviously he was non-weight bearing for six weeks. So the ankle, the knee, we’re trying to make sure it’s stable enough. The foot’s fine. It’s just the other parts to make sure he’s ready for a game.”
Kennedy on where his team is through three games: “Obviously we’ve won the games we should win. It’s been advantageous to get these guys more minutes. The guys are starting to figure out their roles. We’ve just got to keep improving. We’ve got two games next week. We need to take care of our business.”
The Rebels host McNeese State at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Lipscomb at 4 p.m. Friday.