December 24, 2012 10:28:02 AM
HONOLULU -- Two days before Christmas, there were no presents to be found for Andy Kennedy's University of Mississippi men's basketball team.
Instead, Ole Miss (9-2) took to a consolation game of the Diamond Head Classic Sunday and came away with a hard-fought 85-78 victory against the University of San Francisco that was anything but gift-wrapped.
Murphy Holloway scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds Sunday to lead the Rebels back from a 13-point first-half deficit to win the consolation-round game.
"When you're in the consolation bracket at 10 a.m. (Hawaii time), 3,000 miles from home, it's about survival and that's what we did today," Kennedy said.
Holloway, a senior forward, was 9 of 15 from the field and made 5 of 7 free throws. He had 16 points and 13 rebounds on Saturday in the Rebels' 87-85 overtime loss to Indiana State University.
Nick Williams scored 18 points, making 4 of 7 from 3-point range. Marshall Henderson scored 12 and Jarvis Summers added 11 points for Ole Miss, which made 9 of 19 from 3-point range.
San Francisco (5-6) shot 60.7 percent from the field in the first half, but just 40.7 percent after halftime. Cody Doolin led the Dons with 20 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
De'End Parker had 17 points and Cole Dickerson scored 14 for San Francisco.
San Francisco led 32-19 with 6:17 left in the first half following Doolin's 3-pointer, but the Rebels used a 14-4 run to cut it to 36-33 with 2:20 left until halftime. It was 38-33 Dons at the half.
"We just went in halftime and Coach let us know that we came out, weathered the storm, took their best punch and (were) only down five and we didn't play our best basketball," Williams said. "We knew we could come out in the second half and improve on some things."
The Rebels took the lead for good at 64-62 with about seven minutes to play on Williams' 3-pointer. It was part of a quick 8-0 Ole Miss run in less than a minute that turned a 62-58 deficit into a 66-62 advantage.
"We were mixing defenses all game and we went to our 2-2-1 full court and we got some turnovers," Williams said. "It energized us and we took the lead."
The Rebels shot 52 percent from the field in the second half and made 24 of 30 free throws, including 20 of 24 after the intermission. Ole Miss overcame 14 turnovers against just five assists.
"In the second half we were much more aggressive on both ends of the floor," Kennedy said. "We held them to 40 percent (shooting) and outrebounded them by about 10 in the second half and as a result we had enough possessions to do what we needed to do."
San Francisco lost to No. 18 San Diego State 80-58 on Saturday.
Rebels junior center DeMarco Cox exited the game near the midpoint of the first half with an apparent left ankle injury. He was helped off the court and into the locker room and did not return. His status for Tuesday is uncertain.