Rebels rise for OT rally

OXFORD, Miss. — Marshall Henderson bided his time for roughly 30 minutes Wednesday night.

Returning to the fold after missing Ole Miss’ first two Southeastern Conference games, the streaky senior guard didn’t press the action against LSU in front of a raucous 7,884 fans clamoring during his welcome back.

And the bigger-than-life persona made the kinds of plays down the stretch the Tigers’ couldn’t conjure in letting a four-point lead fritter away in the waning minutes as the Rebels rallied for an 88-74 victory in overtime at Tad Smith Coliseum.

“He wound up getting in a rhythm,” Jones said. “He’s one of those guys that’s very capable of doing that.”

Yet LSU had a chance to halt the Henderson-spurred rally.

Isolated on a clear out, Hickey got Henderson rocked back on his heels and drove to free-throw line to rise up for a midrange jumper and the score knotted at 69-69 with five seconds.

It hit off the back rim.

And the question looms whether Hickey could have pushed harder toward the rim.

“Coach put the ball in my hands to make a play,” Hickey said. “I just wasn’t able to capitalize. It was a good shot, a good look.”

LSU coach Johnny Jones defended the shot selection afterward.

The Tigers (10-5, 1-2 SEC) had Ole Miss in man-to-man and didn’t want to leave time for the Rebels (11-5, 2-1) to get a look of their own.

“We wanted to make sure we got the last shot,”Jones said.

“The worst thing that could happen to us is go to overtime.”

Now LSU is left with the lingering question of when does the silver-lining of maturing and evolving run up against the reality of needing to notch wins.

“We gave ourselves a chance,” Jones said. “If we continue to do that, some great things are going to happen for us.

“That shows we’ve got to continue to fight and battle,” he said.

After guard Andre Stringer hit back-to-back 3-pointers out of the locker room, the Tigers led 42-39 with 17:45 left to go — a lead they nursed over the next 14 minutes but never extended beyond six points.

Meanwhile, Henderson, who scored 19 after halftime, started rumbling midway through the second half.

With 9:10 left, he rose up over Shane Hammink to bury one of his six 3-pointers and draw Ole Miss within 55-53.

“They were hitting some tough shots when they were down,” Hickey said.

“They didn’t give up, and they was able to knock down open 3s.”

Two minutes later, a pair of free throws from Jarvis Summers, who added 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting, cut the lead to a lone point.

Then Henderson splashed down a 3-pointer with 5:51 remaining to put the Rebels ahead 58-56.

LSU responded with a dunk from Shavon Coleman and a free throw from Johnny O’Bryant III, who was held to five points and six rebounds, to extend the led back to three points.

Only Henderson summoned another salvo.

With Jordan Mickey flying out on a close-out, Henderson knocked down another 3-pointer as the freshman tumbled into him.

The resulting four-point play putting Ole Miss up 62-61 with 4:46 to go.

“That was a big shot for them, but still felt that was one shot that he hit,” Coleman said. “We needed to move on to the next play, and try to get the momentum back on our side.”

All night, LSU managed to pull off that task.

It didn’t matter that they turned the ball over 11 times in the first half.

Or watched fouls mount up. Going just 18-of-30 from the free-throw line and shooting just 36.7 percent was overcome by tallying 22 points off turnovers.

Sure enough, Stringer reversed the ball to Coleman for an open 3-pointer and a 64-62 lead and 3:36 to go. And with roughly 90 seconds left, Stringer hit two free throws for a 69-65 lead.

“Then he came in made some explosive plays for us there in the second half, and really jump-started us.”

Yet it was Summers who rose to the occasion in the final minute for the Rebels.

The junior drove to the elbow, elevated and buried a 15-footer to tie it with 32.7 seconds left.

“We didn’t get enough defensive stops when we needed to,” Hickey said.

The Rebels rode the momentum into overtime, too, opening up on a 11-0 run that abated only when Coleman hit a 3-pointer with 1:22 remaining and LSU trailing 80-72.

It left LSU questions with about whether it let a vital and elusive road victory slip from its grasp.

“It’s basketball,” Jones said. “There are going to be some moments where you look back and say, ‘If we made a play here, made a play there, we could have gotten a win.’”