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.
[See video of Marshall Henderson’s shot here]
[See a .gif of an exuberant Ole Miss fan celebrating with Henderson here]
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.
(h/t @MattNorlander for the video link)
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_