BLOG — Four Rebels finished in double figures, and Ole Miss won its second game with senior guard Marshall Henderson relegated to the bench with a 65-62 victory over Auburn Thursday night at C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum in both teams’ Southeastern Conference opener.
Henderson sat again as part of a three-game suspension announced in the preseason for conduct both on and off the court at times last season. The Rebels didn’t have much trouble the first time Henderson sat, notching a 69-54 win over Troy in the season opener, but they had to fend off a monster night from Auburn’s Chris Denson to survive against the Tigers.
Derrick Millinghaus got the start in place of Henderson and led the Rebels with 16 points on 5 of 11 shooting. Jarvis Summers put in 14 points while forward Aaron Jones finished with 12 points. LaDarius White had 10.
Denson, who entered as the SEC’s second-leading scorer behind teammate K.T. Harrell, carved up Ole Miss’ defense for a game-high 28 points, keeping the Tigers close with 15 of those points in the second half. Harrell added 11 points for the Tigers while Asauhn Dixon-Tatum chipped in eight.
Auburn had a chance to tie the back-and-forth contest with a final possession with 13 seconds left, but Harrell’s 3-pointer went long off the back iron. The Tigers couldn’t get off another shot as both teams scrambled for the rebound as time ran out.
The Rebels (10-4 overall, 1-0 SEC) won despite being outrebounded 40-30, the sixth straight game Ole Miss has found itself on the short end of the rebounding margin, but they made up for it with a late shooting surge and some opportunistic defense, scoring 17 points off 18 Tiger turnovers.
Ole Miss led 31-28 at the break but went cold at the start of the second half, hitting just one of its first eight shots. Auburn (8-4, 0-1) went on a 10-2 run to take a 38-33 lead with 14:08 left. The Rebels scored eight of the next 11 points — six of them coming on a pair of 3s from White — to tie the game at 41 apiece before answering each of the Tigers’ baskets the rest of the way in a game that had 10 ties and 11 lead changes.
The Rebels connected on 10 of their final 14 shots to shoot 50 percent in the second half and 43 percent for the game.
In the video below, Jones, who also grabbed seven rebounds and tallied five blocks, talks about starting conference play with a win and looks ahead to Ole Miss’ next game against Mississippi State Saturday in Starkville. It will be the final game of Henderson’s suspension.
For complete coverage from tonight’s game, see Friday’s edition of the EAGLE. (January 10, 2014)