Henderson's big 2nd half gets Ole Miss past Tennessee
Oxford, MS (Sports Network) - It took a while for him to heat up, but when he did, Marshall Henderson was scorching.
After failing to make a field goal in the first half, Henderson erupted for six 3-pointers after the break to help keep No. 23 Ole Miss unbeaten in SEC play with a 62-56 win over Tennessee.
Henderson finished with 28 points while Reginald Buckner added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Rebels (16-2, 5-0 SEC), who survived a dreadful 18- point first half to remain undefeated at home.
Tennessee (9-8, 1-4), which snapped a four-game losing streak with a win over Mississippi State on Saturday, was done in by 21 turnovers and four missed free throws over the final three minutes.
Jordan McRae logged 26 points in a losing effort.
Ole Miss, ranked for the first time since 2010, is riding an eight-game winning streak. One of those victories came against the Volunteers on Jan. 9, but Thursday's meeting was a far cry from that 92-74 outcome in Knoxville.
The Rebels, who came in with the nation's third-best scoring offense, were ice cold in the first half as they made just 17 percent (4-of-23) of their shots overall. The slow start saw the Vols take a 25-18 lead into the locker room, but it took less than six minutes for Ole Miss to find its rhythm.
After missing its first nine 3-point attempts, Ole Miss made four on consecutive possessions early in the second half. Henderson made three of them after going 0-for-4 from the floor in the first 24-plus minutes. His third gave the Rebels a 36-32 lead.
"Once he got one going, he got combustible and started knocking down shots," Rebels head coach Andy Kennedy said.
Tennessee withstood the barrage by scoring nine of the next 11 points to go back in front, and five consecutive free throws by McRae pushed the margin to 46-40 with under nine minutes to play.
It was still a six-point game, 50-44, before Henderson ignited a 14-3 flurry with two free throws and a pair of 3-pointers. He nailed another from long range a little later, and Buckner added a layup off a steal for a 58-53 lead with 4:11 remaining.
McRae stopped the run with a 3-pointer, but the Vols went the last three minutes without scoring.
Both McRae and Armani Moore missed two attempts from the foul line down the stretch, while Ole Miss made enough at the stripe to come away victorious.
"We needed to make those free throws and get key stops," Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin said. "We had an opportunity to win the game and (came) up short."
Ole Miss came in averaging 82.4 points per game ... This is the Rebels' best start since they were 16-2 and 5-0 in conference in the 1936-37 campaign ... Ole Miss shot 54 percent from the field (14-of-26) in the second half ... Tennessee has lost all five of its true road tests.
01/24 23:45:41 ET
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