By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – There was no doubt Mississippi State knew about Marshall Henderson’s 3-point shot, but it must be much deeper on the scouting report before it warned about his ball-handling and defense.
Or his blocked shots.
Ole Miss denied the lanes to the hoop that MSU’s Craig Sword enjoyed in Starkville, and Henderson hurt the Bulldogs in a variety of ways as the Rebels defeated MSU 82-63 before 8,843 fans at Tad Smith Coliseum to split the regular season series.
Ole Miss (14-5) improved to 5-1 in the SEC and plays at Tennessee on Wednesday.
Road struggles continue for the Bulldogs, who dropped to 13-6 and 3-3.
Henderson – who was suspended when MSU won two weeks ago – was just 2-for-12 from 3-point range but was 3-for-5 inside the arc. He dunked in transition and also had four assists, four steals and a blocked shot in 34 minutes.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but there’s no real reason why Trivante Bloodman or Fred Thomas should get beat off the bounce by Marshall Henderson,” MSU coach Rick Ray said. “It’s inexcusable the way he was able to get into the lane. For our game plan, I was not the least bit concerned with Marshall Henderson’s penetration. I was more concerned with his 3s.”
Henderson and Jarvis Summers, with 19 points each, were the leaders in a well-rounded Rebels’ scoring effort.
Anthony Perez was efficient on 3-for-4 shooting with nine points and seven rebounds. Aaron Jones and Sebastian Saiz each had double-figure rebounds.
Ole Miss was far better at limiting the penetration of Sword and his teammates. Two weeks ago the Bulldogs attempted 42 free throws. In the rematch they were 6-for-14 at the line.
“I was glad to see that adjustment. Obviously in Game One they lived at the foul line,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. “We wanted to make a concerted effort to keep them in front of us.”
The Rebels were 17-for-20 at the free throw line and had a plus-11 rebounding edge.
Sword, 15-for-18 from the free throw line in Starkville, did not have an attempt. He had four points on 2-for-7 shooting.
MSU was led by I.J. Ready and Roquez Johnson, each with 13 points.
The Rebels started fast and led wire-to-wire, the lead peaking at 21 with 14:44 remaining.
Ole Miss was up 38-27 at halftime, a lead that would have been less had the Bulldogs been more efficient than 3-for-8 at the free throw line.
Ray made a wholesale lineup change inserting five subs – three walk-ons and two scholarship players — when the Bulldogs trailed 45-30 at the 15:49 timeout.
Henderson and Perez hit 3-pointers to push the lead out, but the reserves held their ground and were part of a run that helped MSU get as close as 67-55 with 6:59 left, but Ole Miss surged ahead again.
With just under 10 minutes left Henderson blocked a Bloodman shot in the paint then stared at the Ole Miss student section with his emotional, contorted face.
MSU shot 40.7 percent from the field.
The trust factor gave the Rebels the winning edge, Summers said.
“We just buying into what coach is saying. We know our personnel, and we know who their drivers and shooters are. We just have to follow the game plan.”