By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Marshall Henderson the basketball player, not Marshall Henderson the 3-point shooter, willed Ole Miss to a win when the Rebels seemed incapable of rising from a defense and rebounding funk that had cost them with losses in four of their last five games.
On Saturday night, the Rebels were out-shot by almost 15 percentage points in regulation, were out-rebounded by 15 for the game and still found a way to outscore Georgia by 10 in overtime to win 84-74 before 8,255 fans at Tad Smith Coliseum.
From a 64-56 deficit with 3 minutes, 36 seconds left, Henderson scored the last 14 Ole Miss points in regulation but not in his usual 3-point manner.
He was 1 for 7 from the 3-point arc but 4 for 6 inside it and 14 for 14 at the free throw line. He finished with 25 points then bailed on interviews, running to the media room door only to say. “All I’m sayin’ is it’s Saturday night. I’m out.”
Henderson’s missed layup with 27 seconds left could have finished the game in regulation. So could have Georgia’s lob to forward Donte’ Williams when the Bulldogs (12-13, 6-6 SEC) threw the ball inbounds with less than 1 second on the clock. There was contact with Reggie Buckner on the play but no foul call.
Ole Miss got off to a good start in overtime, made possible in part when Williams missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Ole Miss (19-6, 8-4 SEC) got a layup from Murphy Holloway on the other end.
Williams would later miss two free throws in a six-point game with under a minute left.
In between a three-point play by LaDarius White and White’s defense on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia’s best player, moved things along for the Rebels.
“As painful as that was, we would all love to roll it out there and win by 20, this was what we needed. It was as if we had flat-lined, and they brought out the paddles and boom, jolted us back to life,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said.
Kennedy is hopeful the way the Rebels won will have lasting benefits.
“It wasn’t like the last time when we beat (Mississippi) State. We were ho-hum and weren’t feeling good about the way we played. Those guys had energy, and I think this is the impetus we need to finish the season strong,” he said.
Georgia was just 1 for 6 from the floor in the overtime, seconds after shooting 57.1 percent in regulation. Caldwell-Pope led the way with 19 points but was 7 for 19 from the floor.
Ole Miss had a 6-5 rebounding edge in the overtime.
Caldwell-Pope hit a 3 to put Georgia up 8 before Henderson went on his free throw tear.
“Once we got the game back even, I felt like we had more swagger defensively,” Kennedy said. “We were able to manufacture enough points to find a way to win.”