Mississippi guard Marshall Henderson does not have the green light to take a 3-point shot. He has no light.
"I heard some guy behind me in the front row telling me to shoot it," said Henderson, who scored 29 points on eight 3-point shots in Saturday's 91-88 win over Missouri. "That's all I need to hear."
The Rebels (16-7, 7-3 Southeastern Conference) needed everything Henderson provided — 10 of 18 from the field, 8 of 15 from 3-point range and five assists — to record what Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy admitted, "a game we absolutely had to have. Marshall hits big shots."
Ole Miss enhanced their hopes for an NCAA Tournament bid with the win, with home dates remaining against Kentucky and Florida. The Rebels are 27-10 with a .729 winning percentage in SEC play since 2012, trailing only Florida for the league's best mark.
The Rebels remained alone in third place in the league standings and won for the third time in four meetings with Missouri (16-7, 4-6) over the past two seasons. The past two wins for the Rebels were turned on the game's final possession.
"Huge. Just huge. It's the only time we play them (Missouri) during the regular season," Henderson said. "They're a quality club with a high RPI and we needed it. I was able to get some good looks, but we had big games from everybody today."
Jarvis Summers and LaDarius White had 16 points apiece, while Anthony Perez added 11. The Rebels won the rebounding battle, 44-43, including game-high performances of 11 and 10 rebounds from Aaron Jones and Sebastian Saiz, respectively.
Despite trailing by as many as 17 points in the first half and 50-35 at halftime, Missouri put on a furious second half rally. Earnest Ross led the Tigers with 24 points, six rebounds and four assists and missed a 28-foot shot at the buzzer that could have forced overtime.
Ross was complemented by Jordan Clarkson with 23 points, Jabari Brown with 20 and Ryan Rossburg with 11, all in the second half.
"I thought the difference was our post players didn't compete well in the first half and their press bothered us," Missouri coach Frank Haith said.
"In the second half, we took better care of the basketball and our effort was there."
The Tigers pulled within two points on four occasions, but Henderson responded three times with a 3-point shot or an assist. Missouri's made another late surge to get within 79-78 on a 3-point shot by Brown with 3:18 left.
Ole Miss outscored Missouri 6-0 in the following minute, all by Summers, and built a seemingly insurmountable 91-83 lead with 19 seconds remaining. Missouri scrambled within 91-88 and forced a turnover with 0.9 remaining, setting up a final opportunity for Ross.
"There were times I felt like we were just blowing them out by the way we were shooting," Henderson said. "Then you'd look up and they were right there. Every game comes down to the wire for us. We embrace hard. We know it's going to be that way."
The loss was the third straight for the Tigers, who have lost consecutively to the top three SEC teams — Kentucky, Florida and Ole Miss. Despite the loss, Missouri remains a factor in the title chase with five of the next seven games at home.
Ole Miss shot 50 percent (29 of 58) from the field and 48.3 percent (14 of 29) from 3-point range. Missouri shot 47.5 percent (28 of 59) from the field and hit 11 3-point shots, led by Ross with five.
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