By Parrish Alford | NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – South Carolina kept Terrance Henry from going stark-raving mad, but when the Gamecocks left him alone with the game on the line he made them pay.
Henry was wide open from the corner and knocked down a 3-pointer after a pass out from Jarvis Summers – the biggest shot in the Rebels’ 66-62 SEC win on Saturday night.
Murphy Holloway, who spent a redshirt season at South Carolina last year, had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, but it wasn’t until the Rebels got a stop after the Henry triple that a Tad Smith Coliseum crowd of 7,396 was able to exhale with relief.
Ole Miss (14-7, 4-3 SEC) danced with RPI death against a Gamecocks (9-11, 1-5) team rated No. 201 in that category when the day began.
Now the Rebels have won three of their last four in the league and have the week off before traveling to face Alabama on Saturday.
Holloway breathed easily a little quicker than the fans.
“Terrance hit that 3 in the corner we could kind of exhale. We got the win,” he said.
Henry had averaged 19 points over his previous three games and had gone for 20-plus twice.
South Carolina’s match-up zone, however, prevented open looks from the perimeter for most Ole Miss players, including Henry, before the final seconds.
Henry finished with a team-high 15 points and was efficient with 4 for 6 shooting, but his six field goal attempts were his fewest since getting off only three shots against Arkansas on Jan. 11.
“I didn’t think he was playing with great energy. He looked tired to me,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. “He didn’t have that bounce, couldn’t get separation.”
Henry was consistent at the free throw line, however, hitting all six of his attempts.
He was open on the winning shot because his man dropped down when Summers made a spin move in the lane. Henry set his feet and drilled the shot.
“He knocked down the shot you want your senior to make,” Kennedy said.
When shots from anyone were tough to come by for Ole Miss in the final 5 minutes, 55 seconds, Henry helped keep the Gamecocks at arm’s length for a time with four free throws.
South Carolina battled back, and it was a 63-62 game when Malik Cooke stripped Henry in the lane, and Henry fouled him on the exchange.
Cooke was shooting for a Carolina lead with 48.1 seconds left but missed the front end of a one-and-one.
Ole Miss led 11 in the first half but just three at the intermission.
The Gamecocks shot 43.3 percent from 3-point range (13 for 30) had a 45-44 lead after a Brenton Williams 3-pointer with 13:10 to play.
The Rebels’ Nick Williams hit two second-half 3-pointers in a span of 1:33, the second giving them a five-point lead with 10:25 left.
Holloway’s steal and layup with 8:40 left made the margin seven, but the door remained open.
Kennedy often refers to the SEC grind and said Saturday night with a quick turnaround following a close home loss to Florida he thought the “grind was winning” at times.
“We’re still in the game. There’s still a lot to play for, and our guys know that,” Kennedy said. “You can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and every game is more significant, not only for us but every team we’ll play.”