Henderson is the Southeastern Conference’s leading scorer with 18.9 points per game and he put on a show after the break, nearly single-handedly carrying the Rebels (16-2, 5-0 SEC) to their eighth consecutive victory. He scored 32 against the Volunteers just two weeks ago in a win in Knoxville.
It’s only the second time Ole Miss has started 5-0 in SEC play.
Reginald Buckner added 10 points in a foul-filled game that made both teams go deep into the bench.
Tennessee (9-8, 1-4) led for much of the game, but couldn’t withstand Henderson’s hot shooting. Jordan McRae led the Volunteers with 26 points while Trae Golden added 11.
The shots weren’t falling for either team early, and a constant stream of fouls didn’t help the rhythm.
By midway through the first half, the starting big men for both teams were relegated to the bench because of foul trouble.
Tennessee made a few more shots than the Rebels to take a 25-18 lead into halftime. It was the fewest points by an Ole Miss team in the first half since 2009.
Golden led all scorers with seven points.
One reason Ole Miss couldn’t find the basket was the Volunteers’ lockdown defense on Henderson in the first half. He was matched step for step by a host of Tennessee defenders early and scored just four points in the first half — all on free throws.
The 6-foot-2 junior got going early in the second half, hitting two 3-pointers to finally spark the Rebels’ offense. Nick Williams made another 3-pointer to give Ole Miss a 33-32 lead with 14:15 remaining.
But the Rebels couldn’t stop fouling McRae and the 6-5 junior just kept sinking free throws. He hit eight free throws in a row midway through the second half to help the Vols pull ahead 46-40 with 8:51 left.
That’s when Henderson picked up the Rebels and carried them by himself, hitting shot after shot. He finished 7 of 16 from the field, including 6 of 15 from 3-point range (40 percent).
After shooting just 4 of 23 in the first half (17.4 percent), the Rebels bounced back with a 14 of 26 (53.8 percent) performance in the second half.
Tennessee had 21 turnovers and missed four crucial free throws in the final few minutes. The Volunteers outrebounded the Rebels 41-30.
Virginia 74, Virginia Tech 58
BLACKSBURG, Va. — Evan Nolte scored a career-high 18 points to lead Virginia past in-state rival Virginia Tech 74-58 on Thursday night.
Nolte, a freshman, came into the game averaging 6.4 points per game but hit five 3-pointers for the Cavaliers (13-5, 3-2 in the ACC) and 6 of 12 from the floor. He and Joe Harris combined to hit nine of Virginia’s season-high 11 3-pointers.
Harris scored 12 of his 17 points in the first half, including nine — on three 3-pointers — during a 24-2 Virginia run that gave the Cavaliers the lead for good. Virginia hit 9 of 10 shots during that run, including five 3-pointers.
Virginia Tech (11-7, 2-3), which trailed by double digits the entire second half, was led by Erick Green, who scored a career-high 35 points. Green came into the game as the nation’s leading scorer at 24.6 points per game.
Florida State 60, Clemson 57
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Michael Snaer’s 3-point shot as time expired lifted Florida State to a come-from-behind 60-57 win over Clemson Thursday night.
It was Snaer’s third game-winning 3-pointer in the past two seasons. He had game-winners last season at Duke and Virginia Tech.
Florida State’s Devon Bookert drained a 3-point basket from near the top of the key to tie the game at 57 with 44 seconds left.
Clemson (10-8, 2-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) failed to get a shot off after Bookert’s free throws and Florida State got the ball with eight seconds remaining.
Florida State (11-7, 3-2) was led by Kiel Turpin’s career-high 16 points, all in the second half.
KJ McDaniels and Devin Booker led Clemson with 15 points each.
McDaniels scored eight straight points to ignite a 16-0 run late in the first half that gave the Tigers a 29-16 lead on their way to a 29-21 halftime advantage.