Notebook: Tale of two halves for Henderson


Mississippi guard Marshall Henderson dunks in the first half against Florida in Oxford, Miss., on Saturday. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Published: Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 5:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 8:50 p.m.

OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss senior Marshall Henderson was on his way to a historic scoring afternoon against No. 2 Florida.

But while Henderson put on a show for the 8,140 at Tad Smith Coliseum in the first half Saturday, Florida shut down the 6-foot-2 crafty guard in the second half. Henderson was held scoreless in the final 20 minutes during UF’s 75-71 win over the Rebels.

“We didn’t want him to get 40 on us,” Florida senior guard Scottie Wilbekin said.

To do that, Florida chased Henderson all over the court in an effort to deny him the basketball. The Gators threw some double-teams at him on occasion, but mostly relied on rotations and sound, disciplined defense to shut him down.

“I thought he had similar looks,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “Maybe we stretched him a bit in terms of pushing him a little bit further out than he was in the first half.”

Added Wilbekin: “We were just focusing on him more and Coach D was telling us, don’t let him catch it.”

Henderson made 7 of his 14 shot attempts in the first half, including 5 of 11 from 3-point range. He converted a four-point play by sinking a 3-pointer with senior center Patric Young barrelling into him, cutting UF’s early lead to 24-22. Another circus Henderson shot on a fall-away baseline jumper tied the score at 40 late in the first half.

“That’s just the kind of player he is,” Wilbekin said. “He takes those crazy shots and he makes some of them. You just have to try to not let him shoot them.”

Florida sophomore guard Michael Frazier II said he wasn’t surprised by some of the shots Henderson made in the first half.

“Coach showed us on film him stumbling out to like, the hashmark, which is almost halfcourt, against Kentucky and putting up a shot attempt,” Frazier said. “Coach told us don’t be surprised at the kind of shots that he takes, but he makes them.”

With the focus on Henderson in the final 20 minutes, Ole Miss junior point guard Jarvis Summers stepped up, scoring 14 of his 20 points.

“We didn’t want that to happen at all, but you’ve got to live with something,” Frazier said. “(Summers) made a lot of tough 2(-point shots), other guys made tough 2s. But we did a good job on Henderson.”

Henderson missed all six of his shot attempts in the second half.

Hill progressing

Point guard Kasey Hill missed his second straight game with a groin pull. But Hill appears to be making progress. The 6-foot-1 freshman went through pregame warmups to test the injury and experienced no pain.

Hill could return in time for UF’s next game Tuesday night at Vanderbilt. If the Gators plan to play it safe, they could hold him out until their next home game March 1 against LSU.

Early game

Florida had a wakeup call of 7 a.m. for the 11 a.m. CT tip.

“Actually, I got up at 6:30 (a.m.),” Frazier said. “But I came over and shot before (the team did).”

The Gators didn’t seem too thrown off by the early local start time.

“We had to come ready today,” Frazier said. “Maybe we were sleepwalking in the beginning of the game, but we came out and did a better job in the second half.”

Etc.

Florida won its seventh straight SEC road game, a school record. The Gators surpassed the previous mark of six straight SEC road wins from March 5, 2006 to Feb. 10, 2007. … Florida only outrebounded Ole Miss 34-32, but outscored the Rebels 21-8 in second-chance points. ... Florida improved to 5-1 in games decided by five points or less and 12-2 in games decided by single digits. The Gators were 0-6 in games decided by single digits last season. … Henderson tied Pat Bradley’s SEC record by hitting a 3-pointer in a 60th consecutive game. … The Gators, who extended their school-record winning streak to 19 games, haven’t lost since a 65-64 setback to UConn on Dec. 2.

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