OXFORD, Miss. — Marshall Henderson bounced into the postgame press conference after Mississippi’s 84-74 overtime victory over Georgia full of energy, but low on words.
He had scored a game-high 25 points in the come-from-behind win, so the 6-foot-2 guard was ready to celebrate.
“If it’s all the same, it’s Saturday night,” Henderson said grinning. “I’m out.”
Ole Miss (19-6, 8-4 Southeastern Conference) trailed for most of the night, but came back thanks to 10 straight points from Henderson late in the second half. Henderson made all 14 of his free-throw attempts and scored 20 points after halftime.
Murphy Holloway added 14 points as the Rebels won for just the second time in six games.
Ole Miss made 30 of 36 free-throw attempts, helping offset a poor shooting night from the field. LaDarius White and Jarvis Summers both added 12 for the Rebels. Reginald Buckner scored 10 and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Ole Miss desperately needed the victory to right its season. The Rebels rose to No. 16 in the national rankings during late January after winning their first six SEC contests, but had fallen into a funk over the past three weeks, losing four of five.
Rebels coach Andy Kennedy changed the starting lineup against Georgia, using Derrick Millinghaus and Nick Williams instead of Summers and White.
But the Rebels still started slowly. Georgia took a 41-35 halftime lead, shooting 16 of 30 from the field and outrebounding the Rebels 21-14.
“You’d be amazed at how quickly confidence wanes,” Kennedy said. “I didn’t think we were playing with much confidence. It was like we were trying to win the game, but playing not to lose.”
Ole Miss battled early foul trouble, with Buckner and Henderson missing large chunks of the first half. The Rebels struggled to get back into the game during second half, trailing 64-56 with 3:36 remaining. But that’s when Henderson reeled off 10 consecutive points — including eight on free throws.
Henderson — the SEC’s leading scorer at nearly 20 points per game — shot just 5 of 13 from the field and 1 of 7 from 3-point range, but more than made up for it at the free-throw line. He came into the game shooting 86 percent on free throws.
Ole Miss trailed 74-73 in overtime with 2:40 left after Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit his final bucket, but the Rebels scored the next 11 points to seal the victory.
It was an anticlimactic ending to a tight game. There were 17 lead changes and the score was tied 12 times.
Georgia (12-13, 6-6) lost its second straight game. The Bulldogs had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Donte’ Williams missed a contested tip-in attempt at the buzzer. Georgia coach Mark Fox had an issue with multiple officiating decisions down the stretch — including Williams’ missed tip-in — but there was no stopping the Rebels’ momentum.
“I thought we had a chance to win in regulation and we didn’t do it,” Fox said. “They certainly beat us in overtime.”
Caldwell-Pope led Georgia with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Kenny Gaines scored a career-high 13 and Williams added 10. Georgia made 28 of 58 shots from the field (48 percent) and outrebounded Ole Miss 45-30.
But it wasn’t enough. Georgia had 18 turnovers while Ole Miss had just six, and the Bulldog scored just four points in overtime, making 1 of 6 shots from the field.
“We finally got some stops,” Kennedy said. “We finally secured some rebounds and we made foul shots.”