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November 9, 2012

Rebels open season against Mississippi Valley

OXFORD, Miss. -- Murphy Holloway's final chance at an NCAA tournament appearance begins tonight when Ole Miss plays host to Mississippi Valley.

The Rebels' senior forward believes this team has added the piece that was missing during several close-but-no-cigar runs at March Madness earlier in his career. That piece, by the way, has a name - Marshall Henderson.

"You've had Chris Warren here, but it's different," Holloway said. "Chris Warren had the ball when he was shooting. You have to know where Marshall is. It's kind of like playing four-on-four. You can't leave him. It gives you more space to throw it in the post and not get cut off. It's more one-on-one."

Henderson scored 19 points in Ole Miss' exhibition win over Montevallo Monday night. Henderson, who began his career at Utah before transferring to South Plains (Texas) Community College and leading that team to an undefeated season and the junior college national title, hit four 3-pointers _ including three in a row _ during the second half.

"With time and games, we'll learn to play with him," Holloway said. "I think Marshall gets us (to the NCAA tournament). I don't think we've ever had just a straight shooter who can shoot like that. I don't think we've ever had one, and I think it gets us there, man. We've got a lot of depth, a bunch of good guys. I think that gets us there."

Today's 8 p.m. tip-off marks the beginning of Andy Kennedy's seventh season at Ole Miss. The Rebels are still searching to snap an NCAA tournament drought that dates back to 2002. Mississippi Valley, meanwhile, earned a trip to the NCAA tournament last season, losing to Western Kentucky in the first round. The Delta Devils' coach last season, Sean Woods, left Itta Bena for Morehead State after the season. Former assistant Chico Potts replaced Woods and will make his head coaching debut tonight.

"I really don't know what to expect," Kennedy said. "I know they'll be athletic on the perimeter. We'll go into it a little blind, which is not bad. It makes me a little uncomfortable, obviously, but I think it's good for our guys to figure some things out."


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