Ole Miss and the Marshall Henderson Show will roll on for another game. Even after Henderson made just one shot in the first half, he, as always, continued to swagger, demand the ball, and have confidence in his jump shot.
Shooters like the flamboyant Henderson always think their next shot is going in, and when Henderson made his first three-point jumper midway through the second half, he energized Ole Miss and led the No. 12 Rebels to a 57-46 victory over No. 5 Wisconsin 57-46 in a West Regional battle. Ole Miss will face the winner of La Salle and Kansas State for a trip to the Sweet 16 in Los Angeles.
"We've seen this show before," said Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy, who won his first tournament game as a coach, noting it has been played multiple times throughout the country.
Ole Miss only got into the tournament after winning the SEC tournament, and they stuck with their energetic guard who came into the game averaging 20.7 points and having hoisted 507 shots.
"We're gonna ride with who brought us," Kennedy said of Henderson, who scored 19 points on 6 of 21 shooting.
"I knew if he continued to shoot, he'll eventually knock them down."
Wisconsin, a team from the Big Ten that many thought was one of the best in the country, seemed to be perplexed by Ole Miss' zone defense that the Rebels threw at Wisconsin from the beginning of the game. When Wisconsin adjusted to the zone, Kennedy mixed in various defensive looks to keep the Badgers off balance for much of the second half.
The game was indeed a clash of styles between the methodical and disciplined Wisconsin team--and coach--and an Ole Miss team--and coach--with a flair for the dramatic that often improvises their style of play from game to game, often at the whim of Henderson.
Ole Miss forward Reginald Buckner had 9 points, 12 rebounds, and five blocks and was a dominating presence inside. He kept Ole Miss in the game when Henderson struggled.
But when Henderson started to make his shots and went into his patented trance, his Ole Miss teammates--and the Ole Miss faithful in the crowd--fed off of his energy and closed the game out on a 25-10 run to send Wisconsin packing.