It was emotional. It was physical. It was the Rebel’s fifth SEC win of the year.
After scoring 18 points in the first half, the lowest total by an Ole Miss team in three years, the Rebels turned it on the later period and scored 44 points. Marshall Henderson, who was as intense as ever, provided 24 of his 28 points after halftime.
Henderson was the target of the Vols all week as they promised to shut him down after he scored 32 points in Knoxville two weeks ago. Before the game, it was reported that he walked up to the Volunteers and asked them if they knew that he was going to drop 30 again.
Tennessee did exactly what they said they were going to do in the first half, allowing him very little space to move and holding him to 0-5 from the field. The second half was a different story as Henderson went off for six 3′s and sparked the whole team.
Josh Richardson and Kenny Hall provided the trash talking for Tennessee only to be matched by Henderson and Nick Williams. With benches barking at the players on the court and vice versa, the referees had a lot on their plate to keep the game in check. Particularly on Richardson’s lone field goal of the night, he found Henderson (who fouled him on the play) and made it a point to tell him that he scored over him.
There was absolutely no love lost between the two teams and the physical play was kicked up a notch. Tennessee had five players with at least 4 fouls and committed 30 fouls as a team. Reginald Buckner, Murphy Holloway, and Williams all had at least four fouls for the Rebels who finished the game at 23.
Ole Miss was destroyed on the glass, an anomaly for one of the best rebounding teams in America. Tennessee won the rebounding battle 36-25, holding Holloway to 6 rebounds and Buckner to 8.
What played a crucial role in the victory was the turnover margin, in favor of the Rebels. Tennessee turned the ball over 21 times compared to just 11 by Ole Miss.
Jarvis Summers accounted for 7 assists in the game, a game-high. Aaron Jones also added 3 big blocks, including one that send a three-pointer far into the stands.
Jordan McRae had another big game for Tennessee, scoring 26 of his team’s 56 points. Despite his help scoring the basketball, he had a game-high 9 turnovers. Trae Golden was the only other Vol in double-figures, finishing with 11 points. For a team that typically racks up a lot of assists, UT ended up with just 9 assists. Richardson, who led the team in trash-talking, finished with just 3 points.
Tennessee fell to 9-8 and 1-4 with the loss. They will look to get back on track against a hot Alabama team on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. local time in Knoxville, Tenn.
Ole Miss (16-2, 5-0) has never started a season 6-0 in the conference. They will have a chance to do that at 7 p.m. CT when they travel to Auburn to play the Tigers.