Ole Miss junior Marshall Henderson has become something of a folk hero in the SEC. He’s a volume shooter. He’s one of the most expressive players in the conference, and maybe even the country. He’s emotional. He has a little tinge of cockiness.
But he was the hero Ole Miss needed Tuesday night.
A three-pointer by Kevin Bright with 3.2 seconds remaining put Vanderbilt up three, 78-75. Ole Miss inbounded the ball immediately, which was passed to guard Marshall Henderson over half-court, who heaved it from 35 feet and nailed it as time expired to send the game to overtime.
Ole Miss would pull away in the extra session to get the win, 89-79, at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, Tenn. Henderson finished with 26 points on 7-of-17 shooting from the floor.
Ole Miss (14-2) came into Tuesday night’s game with the SEC’s best overall record and coming off a statement win over No. 10 Missouri on Saturday.
In that Missouri game, Ole Miss held the Tigers to 2-of-18 shooting from the three-point range. The Rebels struggled in the first half to rotate effectively and cover shooters on the perimeter. Vanderbilt shot 12-of-20 from three-point range in the first half.
Then a tweak by coach Andy Kennedy made all of the difference.
Ole Miss began pressing full-court in the second half and trapping at mid-court, which sped Vanderbilt up.
Combined with a slower shooting performance from distance in the second, 5-of-20, and the door was opened for a 9-0 Ole Miss run over a three-minute stretch late in the second half to put Ole Miss up three, 75-72.
A three-pointer from Vanderbilt’s Dai-Jon Parker, who had a career-high 16 points, tied the game at 75.
That led to Bright’s shot and Henderson’s heroics to force overtime.
With the win, Ole Miss moves to 3-0 in the SEC and 14-2 overall. Granted, the SEC is weak this season and could possibly only send four teams to the NCAA tournament, but few saw this strong a start coming from Kennedy’s team.