There seems to be a bit of irony in the fact that one of college basketball’s biggest stories occurred in a 3,600-seat gym, but that’s what happened with Marshall Henderson’s return Saturday night at Coastal Carolina.
It’s a new building, just not a lot of seats, but not short on savvy basketball fans supporting coach Cliff Ellis, formerly of Auburn and a guy Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy has known for a long time.
Henderson played 28 minutes but did not start the game.
“It was amazing,” Kennedy said. “I thought there was energy in the building, but it wasn’t nearly as amplified as when I put old No. 22 in. The entire feel of the venue changed immediately when he checked in.”
The crowd didn’t have to wait long to see Henderson get involved.
“He steals the ball on his first play of the season then goes down and gets his dunk blocked which truly energized them. They were very enthusiastic and certainly wanted to welcome Marshall in their own unique way.”
There were no reported Henderson incidents, and Kennedy says that Henderson did a good job of engaging his teammates and trying to be a leader in the huddle.
Henderson hit a late 3 that was critical as the Rebels held off Coastal for a 72-70 win. He finished the game 6-for-16 from the floor, 4-for-8 from 3 and 3-for-4 from the free throw line with a game-high 19 points.
Ole Miss plays again this Friday night at home against Mississippi Valley State.