OXFORD, Miss. - Four Rebels scored in double figures - led by junior Marshall Henderson's 28 points - as Ole Miss routed Auburn 88-55 on Saturday to give Andy Kennedy his school record 145th win as Rebel head coach.
Henderson tied a school record with eight 3-pointers and it was the first game all season that Henderson came off the bench, and he responded with an 8-for-13 shooting night, including 8 for 12 from 3-point range.
"It worked," Henderson said of Kennedy's decision to bring him off the bench. "I was all for it. I came off the bench and was able to be relaxed, not have a lot of pressure and just come in and knock down some shots."
And the performance might have saved the Rebels' season as they try to recover from a midseason swoon and make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002.
Derrick Millinghaus scored 14 points and LaDarius White added 13. Murphy Holloway scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Rebels (20-7, 9-5 Southeastern Conference) dominated in nearly every facet.
Henderson scored 19 of his points in the first half -- hitting five 3-pointers along the way -- as the Rebels built a 44-27 halftime lead. The second half was just as lopsided.
The Rebels shot 27 of 50 (54 percent) from the field, 13 of 25 (52 percent) from 3-point range and 21 of 26 (80.8 percent) from the free-throw line. Ole Miss also had a 38-22 advantage on rebounds.
"I hate to be this blunt, but they just punked us," Auburn forward Allen Payne said. "They were pushing us out of the way ... We've got to be tougher."
Auburn (9-18, 3-11) lost for the 11th time in 12 games. Shaquille Johnson led the Tigers with 18 points.
Ole Miss won for just the third time in eight games and never trailed. Coach Andy Kennedy set a school record with his 145th career victory, which passes B.L. Graham's old mark of 144. Kennedy has a 145-85 record over seven seasons.
Whatever message Kennedy was trying to send to Henderson on Saturday apparently was received. Henderson -- whose questionable shot selection has brought Kennedy's ire on numerous occasions -- came off the bench and hit his first two 3-point attempts and was 5-for-6 from long range in the first half as the Rebels took a 17-point halftime advantage.
It was a nearly flawless performance, and a bit unexpected considering he had just suffered through a 4-for-17 game against South Carolina three days ago.
"He's put a lot of pressure on himself," Kennedy said. "He's been trying too hard, so I thought (coming off the bench) might slow him down a little."
Kennedy's 145th win comes at a crossroads in his seven-year tenure. Though it's his sixth 20-win season, the Rebels have never made an NCAA tournament under his watch and haven't been to the Big Dance in more than a decade, which is the longest drought in the SEC.
Ole Miss seemed destined to break that dubious streak just a few weeks ago. The Rebels won their first six SEC games and pushed all the way up to No. 16 in the national rankings before a recent free fall. But Saturday's convincing win over Auburn put Ole Miss back on track.
Now the Rebels might have to win all of their remaining regular-season games to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
The rest of the schedule -- with games against Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Alabama and LSU -- is fairly manageable. But the Rebels will need more performances like Saturday, when they simply overpowered a listless Auburn squad.
Kennedy said the Rebels aren't trying to ignore the NCAA tournament talk because it's impossible. But he said his team must focus on Wednesday's game against Texas A&M.
"You can't avoid (the NCAA talk) because it's everywhere," Kennedy said. "We don't walk around with our heads in the sand, but we try to focus on what we can control."
In Thursday night's 61-58 loss at Kansas State, senior guard Marshall Henderson was 4-for-18, including 2-for-13 from 3-point range, and finished with 13 points. Three days later, Henderson responded with a career-high 39 points and school-record 10 3-pointers in a... read more
Ole Miss fell 17-10 in overtime to intrastate rival Mississippi State, but the Rebels' one score provided a special moment for two of the team's unsung players. Down 7-0 with 31 seconds left in the first half, Ole Miss called... read more
Ole Miss sent seniors Kellie Goss and Kara Morgan out with a win as the Rebels topped LSU 3-2 on Senior Night. "It was a great win," head coach Joe Getzin said. "We tweaked the lineup, and one of our... read more
One of the core values for the Ole Miss football program is mental toughness. With a rivalry game in a hostile environment, it will carry a greater importance. "You're going into a hostile environment, and that's the biggest thing," offensive... read more
The Egg Bowl returns to Thanksgiving night for the first time since 2003, which is also the last time Ole Miss won in Starkville. Thursday's game is the 110th meeting of one of the nation's most-played rivalries and the 86th... read more
Ole Miss had its four-game winning streak snapped with a 24-10 loss to No. 8 Missouri on Saturday night. The 24th-ranked Rebels now face a quick turnaround as they travel to face intrastate rival Mississippi State on Thursday night in... read more
Head coach Hugh Freeze meets with members of the media following Wednesday's practice.Ole Miss is the only school in the upper half of the SEC statistical rankings in every major offensive and defensive category. This week, the Rebels face one... read more
Photo Gallery Courtney Cunningham is a builder. While playing volleyball for Ole Miss from 2009-11, Cunningham helped build the Rebels into an NCAA Tournament team while also earning her civil engineering degree. From that degree, Cunningham is helping build... read more
There's a different air surrounding this week's primetime showdown with No. 8 Missouri, the Rebels' first top-10 test since a 27-24 win over then-No. 6 LSU back on Oct. 19. "It's a huge week for us," junior quarterback Bo Wallace... read more
Freshman wide receiver Laquon Treadwell caught a short pass from junior quarterback Bo Wallace, made six Troy defenders miss and dove into the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown. It was the start of a historic day for the Ole... read more
Ole Miss won its second ever NCAA Tournament game and set a school record for wins in a season with 16, as seven different Rebels scored in a 9-0 win over Jackson State Friday night. No. 22-ranked Ole Miss (16-5-2)... read more
Tony Dungy, who won a Super Bowl as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, visited campus Wednesday. He spent time with head coach Hugh Freeze, spoke to the team and signed the equipment room Wall of Fame. "He's one of... read more
Ole Miss is bowl eligible for the second straight year under head coach Hugh Freeze after a 34-24 win over Arkansas this past Saturday. The Rebels are also 6-3 for the first time since 2009, when the started 8-3 before... read more
After Ole Miss took a 20-10 lead into halftime, the momentum swung in favor of Arkansas after an interception, a touchdown-scoring drive and a defensive three-and-out to start the third quarter. Now leading 20-17, senior quarterback Barry Brunetti converted a... read more