OXFORD, Miss. – He did it again.
Just a couple of weeks after terrorizing Tennessee with 32 point in Knoxville on Jan. 9, the play of Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson was again too much for the Vols to overcome.
Tennessee led for much of the game, but No. 23 Ole Miss scored nine of the final 12 points to pull out a 62-56 victory on Thursday night. The win kept the Rebels (16-2, 5-0 SEC) perfect at home.
The Vols (9-8, 1-4) remain winless on the road (0-5).
The SEC’s top two scorers dueled it out with Henderson scoring 24 of of his game-high 28 points in the second half. Tennessee’s Jordan McRae tied his career-high with 26 points for the third time in six games.
Henderson knocked down six 3-pointers in the second half to lift the Rebels to a season sweep of the Vols. He scored 32 in the first meeting on Jan. 9, a 92-74 Ole Miss win in Knoxville.
“I don’t think they defended him any differently in this game than they did the last game,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said of Marshall. “We have to do a better job of executing and getting him looks. He had some pretty good looks in the first half and missed them. Once he got one going, he got combustible and started knocking down shots.”
With the game tied at 53 with just over four minutes left, Henderson knocked down on a 3-pointer to put the Rebels up 56-53. Ole Miss then converted a UT turnover in a fastbreak layup by Reginald Buckner with 3:40 left giving Ole Miss a 58-53 lead.
McRae tied his previous career-high on a 3-pointer with 3:15 left, making it 58-56 Ole Miss. He had a chance to tie the game with 2:32 left, but missed a pair of free throws. Tennessee could have tied the game again with 1:01 left after McRae drew an offensive foul, but freshman Armani Moore, who played through a hip injury, missed two more free throws.
Ole Miss’ Aaron Jones was fouled on the rebound of Moore’s second miss and he missed the first of two to extend Ole Miss’ lead to 59-56.
McRae and Golden (11 points) each attempted 3-pointers with less than 45 seconds left, but were unable to convert.
“The good part is putting yourself in position to make a game-winning shot,” Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin said. “We needed to make those free throws and get key stops. It’s a tough lesson, and we have to be able to move on.”
Henderson made a pair of free throws with 21 seconds left putting Ole Miss up 61-56. Jones added one more foul shot for the final.
A putback-and-1 by Jarnell Stokes with 7:02 left in regulation put the Vols ahead 50-44. Ole Miss got back to within one on a Henderson 3-pointer, but Golden answered with a trey seconds later to keep UT ahead by four at 53-49. But Henderson came right back with his fifth 3-pointer of the night, cutting the margin back to one, 53-52 with five minutes left.
The Vols went on an 11-2 run thanks to nine consecutive made free throws to take a 46-40 lead with 8:51 left in the game. McRae scored 10 of the 11 points in the spurt – including 8-of-8 from the line.
After missing his first five field goals, Henderson knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the Vols’ lead to 31-30 with 15 minutes left. Ole Miss regained its first lead since 5-4, at 33-32 on a 3-pointer by Nick Williams with 14:40 left. Henderson canned another trey to extend the Rebels’ run to 16-3 over five minutes. Josh Richardson ended the run with a driving 3-point play – his only points on the night – bringing the Vols back within one at 36-35.
The Vols led 25-18 at halftime, limiting the Rebels to their fewest points in any half this season (the previous low was 29). Tennessee’s defense held Ole Miss to just 4-of-23 from the floor for 17.4 percent. Henderson was limited to four points, all on free throws. He was 0-of-4 from the floor.
The Vols outrebounded the Rebels 26-15 in the first half and outscored Ole Miss, 16-4 in the paint.
Tennessee held Ole Miss without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes before a Williams’ jumper with 6:10 left in the half, cutting the Rebels’ deficit to 21-14. The Vois took a 21-12 lead on a pair of free throws by McRae just seconds prior. Ole Miss began the game just 2-of-16 from the floor and missed all seven of its 3-point attempts in the first half.
Similar to the first meeting 15 days prior, Ole Miss paraded to the free throw line early and often. The Rebels attempted 15 free throws in the first half, but made just eight. Ole Miss was 38-of-44 from the foul line back on Jan.9 for 86.4 percent.
“You come in here trying to win a ball game, have an opportunity to win the game and come up short,” Matin said. “It makes you think about key plays, missed free-throws and turnovers. We didn’t get a key stop. It’s been the same the last few games, and we just need to keep our heads up.”
The Vols have a very quick turnaround as Tennessee will take on Alabama, Saturday at 2 p.m. That game will take place roughly 36 hours after UT returns to Knoxville from its trip to Ole Miss. The Vols and Tide tip-off at 2 p.m., in a game that airs on ESPN2 and can be heard on the Vol Network.