Courtesy: CCU Media Relations
CONWAY – Senior guard Marshall Henderson came off the bench and scored 14 of his game-high 19 points in the second half and reserve forward Anthony Perez made two late free throws as the University of Mississippi survived a late scare to hang on for a 72-70 win over Coastal Carolina Saturday night before a sold-out crowd of 3,241 at The HTC Center. Henderson was the Rebels' leading scorer at 21 points per game a year ago but was suspended for his team's season-opener. Ole Miss improved to 2-0 on the year while Coastal slipped to 1-2.
Mississippi, the defending Southeastern Conference champion from a year ago, led 70-67 before junior guard Josh Cameron's 3-pointer from the top of the key just missed the mark with four seconds left. Perez grabbed the rebound off the missed shot and was fouled. His made free throws put Mississippi ahead by 72-67 before Cameron made a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Ole Miss led by only 60-58 with 4:20 remaining before Henderson scored the next six points to lift the Rebels to a 66-58 lead as Coastal suffered through a 3-minute scoring draught that hurt its chances. However, freshman Elijah Wilson found a hot hand and scored six points in Coastal' s comeback 8-1 run that closed the score to 67-66 with less than a minute to play. From there, the two teams traded free throws in the final minute before Cameron's made the game's final basket.
Wilson finished with 14 points, while junior guard Warren Gillis and Cameron led the way with 16 points apiece. Cameron's 16 points was well above his previous career high of nine points. Wilson was also the team's leader with seven rebounds.
Coastal enjoyed its biggest lead of four points, at 34-30, early in the second half, and the Chanticleers still lead, 37-35 before Ole Miss went on a 13-4 run to take its largest lead of nine points at 55-46 with 10:20 remaining.
Ole Miss led for most of the first half, but Coastal managed a brief one-point lead at 13-12 before the Rebels went back in front. They led by as many as seven, before Coastal rallied in the final minutes of the half to take a 30-27 advantage at the break. Sophomore forward Tristan Curtis scored on a follow-up basket to knot the score at 26-26 with 2:30 left and then the Chanticleers went to work at the free throw line. Gillis made three free throws and Wilson added another in the final seconds.
Neither team shot well from the field, but Coastal showed muscle on the boards, out-rebounding Ole Miss 48-41 and kept the Rebels to just three individual offensive rebounds. Coastal shot just 37 percent from the field for the game and converted just 13-24 free throws.