The first Ole Miss visit to the NCAA tournament since 2002 continues after the Rebels became the third 12 seed to win in the Round of 64, scoring its fewest points of the season yet winning by 11 points, 57-46, at Sprint Arena.
They advance to play La Salle on Sunday.
Five seed Wisconsin played its famed slow-down style and led 25-22 at halftime, but the second-half run that has becomes the Rebels’ M.O. was there again.
The Rebels – now on a six-game win streak – were down 36-30 after a layup by Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker with 11 minutes, 49 seconds left, and close the game on a 27-10 run.
Henderson was just 6-for-21 from the floor. He missed his first seven 3-point shots but was 3-for-5 the rest of the way.
None was bigger than when he tripled from deep and left of the key, answering the 3-pointer by the Badgers’ Traevon Jackson, who had just cut the lead to 47-44 with 3:09 to play.
“I’ve shot like 20-hundred-million shots in my days. Now when I make the NCAA tournament this happens,” said Henderson, who referenced the Thursday struggles of Pittsburgh’s Tray Woodall. “That was kind of through my head. Man, I’m a fluke.”
Henderson’s first 3-pointer answered the Dekker layup – birthed when Dekker stole a Derrick Millinghaus pass intended for Henderson – and sent the Rebels (27-8) on their run.
Henderson also hit a floater, a layup and two free throws in the winning run. He finished with 19 points in 35 minutes.
The 57 points is the lowest scored by Ole Miss this season. The 46 allowed is the second-lowest allowed by the Rebels.
It’s the fifth time this season Wisconsin (23-12) has scored in the 40s. Two of those games are wins.
“For us, I think our guys didn’t handle the physicality in the last five to seven minutes,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. “The game changed, and our guys didn’t react as well as they did.”
Ole Miss held the Badgers to 25.4 percent shooting, 22.2 in the second half.
Murphy Holloway had 10 points and nine rebounds, and Reggie Buckner added nine points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Because of Wisconsin’s slow-down style, Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy felt it was extremely important to get to the game’s final minutes with a lead.
“I didn’t want to be in the last three minutes down a possession or two because of their deliberate style,” Kennedy said. “I was afraid we would lose concentration, and they would slip us to the basket.”
Instead it was Wisconsin that was forced to play out of character at the end. The Badgers experienced to some degree the frustration that Henderson had much earlier in the game as they tried to get quick 3-point shots to fall.
“It just feels good to win, to survive and advance,” Henderson said. “I’m glad I have a chance to redeem myself Sunday.”