OXFORD — Just as Marshall Henderson’s fifth 3-pointer of the night left his fingertips, he was hit by a Coastal Carolina University defender and crashed to the floor.
It still swished through the net and Henderson leapt to his feet, turning toward the crowd with his arms raised high. The University Mississippi men’s basketball team finally has the shooter it craved last season, and he has a little bit of attitude to go with it.
Henderson scored 27 points, Murphy Holloway added 15 and Mississippi pulled away in the second half to beat Coastal Carolina 90-72 on Tuesday night.
“He’s got passion, man,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. “There’s a big difference between passion and emotion. Passion is good, emotion is bad. He plays with passion and it’s infectious and it gives us a boost.”
The 6-foot-2 Henderson was hot from the start. He knocked down three early 3-pointers to keep the Rebels close in the first half.
Coastal Carolina took a 39-36 halftime lead and Henderson said Kennedy blistered the Rebels with his halftime speech.
“You know coach Kennedy,” Henderson said with a grin. “He’s a fiery dude.”
Ole Miss responded early in the second half with a 21-8 run that turned the Rebels’ halftime deficit into a 57-47 lead. Henderson was right in the middle of it, and his two straight 3-pointers — including one that turned into a four-point play after a foul — pushed the Rebels’ (2-0) lead to 71-53 minutes later.
“It was mainly just our energy and focus we needed to have,” Henderson said. “Coach Kennedy lit a fire under us at halftime. He told us the last two days that we can’t come out flat — they’re a pretty good team.”
Henderson was a junior college All-American last season at South Plains Junior College (Texas) and has made 11 3-pointers in two games this season.
Henderson made 8 of 17 shots from the field, including 6 of 13 from 3-point range. He also added four assists and two steals.
“He believes it’s going in, and it is going in a lot,” Coastal Carolina coach Cliff Ellis said of Henderson. “He adds an extra dimension to that Ole Miss team.”
Holloway notched his 27th career double-double, leading the Rebels with 12 rebounds. Nick Williams added 11 points.
Anthony Raffa led Coastal Carolina (1-1) with 20 points. Michael Enanga added 10 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.
Ole Miss had a considerable size advantage, but couldn’t capitalize in the first half. Coastal Carolina outrebounded the Rebels 22-14, including a 9-6 edge on the offensive glass.
If it hadn’t been for Henderson, the Rebels’ halftime deficit would have been worse. He scored 13 first-half points, flashing the outside shooting ability that the Rebels didn’t have for most of last season.
“The way he approaches the game is pretty constant,” Kennedy said. “Every day when I come to practice, if I go out there 20 minutes early, I see him. Today, when I get to the gym, I go out there and see him. There’s no secret. He’s earned the right to be a good shooter.”
But it’s the inside game that is usually Ole Miss’ strength, and it was much better in the second half. The Rebels were more aggressive, and the 21-8 game-changing run was punctuated by an alley-oop pass from Henderson to Aaron Jones for a dunk.
Jones scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds. The 6-foot-9 sophomore gave the Rebels a boost since starter Reggie Buckner spent most of the game in foul trouble and finished with just six points and two rebounds.
Jarvis Summers was also good off the bench. He scored nine points and led the Rebels with six assists.
The Rebels shot 33 of 65 (50.8 percent) from the field and forced Coastal Carolina into 19 turnovers.