Summers, Henderson Lift Ole Miss Past MTSU

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Junior guard Jarvis Summers scored a game-high 25 points and senior guard Marshall Henderson added 15 points in his first start of the season, as Ole Miss outlasted Middle Tennessee State 72-63 on Saturday. 

"This was the most quality of the wins that we have had because of the way they play and what they have accomplished," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "A lot of those guys have been a part of a banner run for Middle, and so I knew it was going to be a fistfight, and that's exactly what is was. Those are the type of games that prepare you for SEC play. That was an SEC-type feel for me."

It was Summers' second-highest point total of the season and his eighth game in double figures in nine games this season. He had 13 of his 25 points in the second half on 4-for-4 shooting, including 2-for-2 from 3-point range, and 3-for-5 from the free throw line.

"Jarvis Summers continues to be our MVP and make big plays for us throughout the course of the game," Kennedy said.

"Coach (Kennedy) came to me after the exhibition game and told me I had to be more aggressive, and we were going to need more scoring," Summers said. "When he told me that, I got in the gym and tried to get more aggressive."

Middle Tennessee used a 10-0 run to take a 54-48 lead with 9:05 left in the game. Ole Miss answered with a 10-6 run, and minutes later, senior guard Marshall Henderson hit his third 3-pointer to give Ole Miss a 61-60 lead with 5:33 left, and the Rebels did not trail the rest of the game.

The Blue Raiders got to within three at 66-63, and after an Ole Miss turnover, they had possession for a chance to tie, but junior forward Aaron Jones grabbed the defensive rebound after their first missed shot, and Henderson hit his fourth 3-pointer on the other end to extend the lead to 69-63. 

"Those are hard to live with when they don't go in," Kennedy said of Henderson's fourth 3-pointer. "I understand there's give and take, and you have to allow him to have the freedom in those moments. He did a good job of playing within the team concept. He usually can score on loose ball and open-floor opportunities, and it was something late in the shot clock. They don't think he's going to shoot it, and he stepped up and knocked it down."

"Any shot Marshall takes, I feel like it's going in because he puts the work in, and we're comfortable with him taking shots," Summers said. "He did a lot for us, and he's still doing it, and everybody is comfortable with what he does."

After scoring a career-high 39 points in last Sunday's 115-105 overtime loss to Oregon, Henderson finished with 15 points on 4-for-11 shooting, including 4-for-9 from behind the arc. He also helped spark a 9-0 run in the first half to build a 37-30 halftime lead for the Rebels.

Along with Henderson, junior guard LaDarius White was entered into the starting lineup, his second start of the season, and he responded with 11 points, his second straight game in double figures and third overall this season.

"We're trying to get different guys going," Kennedy said. "I haven't been really pleased with a couple of guys and their production in the minutes that they're given. They have to produce, and we haven't been getting the production, so we wanted to change the flow. It was successful for us early, and we got a number of contributions from a number of different guys."

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