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November 9, 2012
Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy meets with the media following Friday's win over Mississippi Valley.
OXFORD, Miss. -- A larger than expected crowd filed into Tad Smith Coliseum Friday night for Ole Miss' season opener, intrigued by the preseason buzz around the Rebels' new shooting guard, Marshall Henderson.
All 4,992 fans got their money's worth.
Henderson scored a game-high 22 points, helping Ole Miss crush Mississippi Valley, 93-57. Henderson knocked down five 3-pointers, including a long 24-footer just before halftime and a flurry of treys early in the second half.
In the process, the former National Junior College Player of the Year became quite the fan favorite in Oxford.
"He's an energetic cat, now," Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. "He brings it every day in practice. You don't have to worry about his motor. You have to worry about his focus sometimes, but you don't have to worry about his motor. You don't have to worry about him being in it. He's chirpy too. He likes to talk, and with that, he motivates himself. Guys know the weapon that he brings. They know that you have to know where he is. He's a valuable weapon for us."
Henderson hit six of his 12 shots from the floor, including five of 11 from behind the 3-point line, Friday. He made five of six free throws and added an assist, a rebound and two steals in his Ole Miss debut.
"I'm 100 percent comfortable," Henderson said. "I love being here at Ole Miss. It's a great support system here in the community of Oxford. It's great knowing that especially nationwide that anyone who has anything to do with Ole Miss is going to start getting behind this basketball team."
Ole Miss played nine players 15 minutes or more Friday. Murphy Holloway had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Reginald Buckner added 10 points and five boards. Freshman Martavious Newby finished with 11 points and eight rebounds, and fellow freshman Anthony Perez scored nine points off the bench.
"One of the things we pride ourselves on is no one is selfish or anything," Henderson said. "We're all taking it and going with it. We're all in for this one common goal because we know one person can really screw it up."
Ole Miss blew the game open with a 12-0 run midway through the first half, and Henderson's 3-pointer with six seconds left in the first half gave the Rebels a 44-21 lead at intermission. Ole Miss quickly built on that lead in the second half, getting a trio of 3-pointers from Henderson to build a 30-point lead five minutes into the final 20 minutes.
"When he runs a couple off, you have to stick to him, and then you can go to the inside and it just blows the game open," Holloway said. "He stretches that floor. As first, they were doubling the post. After a while, he hit a few and you can't double anymore. That makes it easier to score. He can hit two or three big ones in a row and that can turn the game."
Ole Miss plays Coastal Carolina in Oxford Tuesday at 7 p.m.
TIP-INS: Aaron Jones played just five minutes Friday before leaving the game after taking an elbow to the head and suffering from a headache. Forwards Jason Carter (suspended) and Demarco Cox (foot) did not play Friday. Kennedy said he hoped Cox might be available on Tuesday. Freshman Martavious Newby played 15 minutes Friday and finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot. "That's pretty active play," Kennedy said. "I always said he's like Murphy but at 6-3. It's true. He's always around the ball. His energy is infectious. Defensively, he wreaks havoc." Walk-on Will Norman scored the first two points of his career in the final minute Friday.
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