KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -Marshall Henderson got hot and the Rebels' front line dominated in the second half to propel 12th-seeded Ole Miss to a 57-46 win over fifth-seeded Wisconsin in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday.
The Rebels, in their first NCAA Tournament since 2002, claimed their first tourney win since the 2001 Sweet Sixteen run. Ole Miss improves to 27-8 overall, tying the school record for wins in a season.
After struggling in the first half, Henderson's futility reached its zenith with about 12 minutes to go when he fumbled the ball in the Wisconsin back court right into the hands of Sam Dekkar, who raced down the court with Henderson on his shoulder and laid the ball in for a 36-30 Badger lead.
But on Ole Miss' next possession, Henderson hit a big 3-pointer, and the game quickly changed character.
"There's no question Marshall Mania affects the psyche of the other team," said Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy. "How can you avoid it? Marshall this, Marshall that. We live with Marshall Mania. So for us, it's normal, another day at the office."
The Rebels' win snapped a string of six straight first-game wins for the cold-shooting Badgers (23-12), who held a three-point halftime lead after Henderson had scored only two points on one-for-11 shooting.
It's not the first time Henderson's been known to go ice-cold in the first half and erupted in the second.
"He made that first shot and I celebrated," said Kennedy. "We've seen his show before. A lot of guys, you go 0 for 5 and it's going to be a long night. If you go 5 for 5 it's going to be a great night. He's been on both ends of the spectrum. As long as he's taking shots within our offense, our guys understand that. We were getting him looks. Then once he makes one or two, we keep feeding him."
Wisconsin, known for its stout defense, did hold the Rebels to their lowest point total of the year. But the Badgers were a miserable 15 for 59 against the Ole Miss zone defense, including 7 for 30 from beyond the arc. Dakkar had 14 points for Wisconsin.
"We won a lot of close games, beat a lot of good teams," said Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan. "But again, it's not a team that really shot the ball well all year. It happened again."
Murphy Holloway had 10 points and nine rebounds and Reginald Buckner had nine points and 12 rebounds for the Rebels, who will meet the winner of No. 4 seed Kansas State and No. 13 La Salle in the third round of the West Regional on Saturday.
After Buckner missed two free throws and the Rebels rebounded an errant Wisconsin shot, Henderson hit his second 3-pointer before Jared Berggren answered for the Badgers with a 3 of his own.
Holloway put the Rebels ahead to stay with a tip-in and another bucket. Then, after one of Wisconsin's 11 turnovers, Jarvis Summers connected for Ole Miss.
Holloway said the Rebels never lose faith in Henderson.
"I just know whenever I get an offensive rebound or a steal, Marshall is coming to the ball," said Holloway. "So I just look for him every time. He's the player I want to go to."
In Ole Miss' previous game, Henderson starred in a come-from-behind 66-63 upset of Florida in the finals of the SEC tournament.
"For me, I'm so proud of the fact this group continues to grind and fight and persevere, which to me is the name of the game," said Kennedy, who won the first NCAA game he coached.
Henderson, whose 88 percent foul shooting led the SEC, hit two free throws at the 5:13 mark for a 45-41 lead, then the two teams swapped turnovers before Buckner pulled down a defensive rebound and Henderson connected on a jumper for a 47-41 lead.
An unsightly first half ended with a Wisconsin turnover and a 25-22 lead for the Badgers.
Wisconsin hit only 4 of its first 17 shots and ended the half 7 for 23 but nevertheless held a 3-point lead because the Rebels were even worse. Ole Miss was only 10 for 32 the first 20 minutes.
Dekkar agreed the Badgers were often their own worst enemy on offense.
"I mean, we had looks," he said. "We had the chances to pull away from this team. We were up four and six there a couple of times. We had chances."
Berggren, Wisconsin's career blocks leader, rejected three shots in the first half.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewMarch 24-30, 2015Women's Basketball-The Ole Miss women's basketball team saw its record setting season some to a close with a loss to Middle Tennessee in the third round of the WNIT. The Rebels closed the... read more
Ole Miss celebrated one of the most successful years in school history. The women's basketball team saw its season come to an end in the Sweet 16 of the Postseason WNIT. The football team continued spring practice, and we're now... read more
The SEC Network will air every SEC spring football game with multiple viewing opportunities on both television and the network's digital platforms. All 12 spring football games will be carried live and in full on SEC Network + with additional... read more
Through the first seven spring practices, or three weeks since the start of spring practice on March 3, there does not appear to be any separation between sophomores Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade and junior college transfer Chad Kelly. Whether... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review March 17-23, 2015 Men's Basketball - Ole Miss scored 62 second-half points to overcome a 17-point halftime deficit, rallying past 11th-seeded BYU 94-90 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday. -... read more
The men's basketball team saw its run in the NCAA Tournament come to an end in the Round of 64 after a thrilling win in the First Four. The women's basketball team won two postseason WNIT games to continue its... read more
Junior left-hander Christian Trent and sophomore right-hander Brady Bramlett picked up quality starts on the mound, and the offensive provided some timely hits, which proved to be a winning formula as Ole Miss claimed the weekend series over No. 1... read more
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A four-year starter at point guard, one of the most accomplished players in program history, senior Jarvis Summers saw his Ole Miss career come to an end, as did four of his fellow seniors in LaDarius White,... read more
From his five years at Cincinnati, three as an assistant coach and one each as associate head coach and interim head coach, head coach Andy Kennedy knows and has experienced the Xavier program first hand, having coached against the Musketeers... read more
Ole Miss has gone through a two-day turn twice, as well as a one-day turn when the Rebels played No. 23 Creighton and Cincinnati in back-to-back days at the Emerald Coast Classic, but they haven't gone through a turn quite... read more
Giant Killers come in many different shapes and forms in the NCAA Tournament. They are not just your teams from smaller and mid-major conferences, but also your lower-seeded power-conference teams. As defined by ESPN's Peter Keating and Jordan Brenner, Giants Killers... read more
March Madness reigned in Dayton, as 11th-seeded Ole Miss scored 62 second-half points to overcome a 17-point halftime deficit, rallying past 11th-seeded BYU 94-90 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday. The nation watched, and they reacted to... read more