Vanderbilt vs Ole Miss

Ole Miss ousts Vandy, to meet Florida in SEC final wire reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Marshall Henderson scored 23 points as Mississippi beat Vanderbilt 64-52 Saturday in the Southeastern Conference tournament semifinals, putting the Rebels just one more win away from making sure their NCAA tournament berth is automatic.

The third-seeded Rebels (25-8) came here needing wins to sharpen their postseason resume. Now they will play No. 13 Florida, a 61-51 winner over Alabama, in Sunday's championship game where the winner advances to the NCAA tournament.

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Reginald Buckner also had 15 points, and Murphy Holloway added 12 for Ole Miss. The Rebels now have won six of seven to reach the championship game for the first time since 2001. Another win would give coach Andy Kennedy his first NCAA berth and the Rebels' first since 2002.

No. 10 seeded Vanderbilt (16-17), the defending tournament champion, lost for only the second time in eight games. Kedren Johnson had a team-high 12 points.

Kennedy, the Rebels' winningest coach, has at least 20 victories in four straight seasons and became the fifth SEC coach to win 20 in six of his first seven seasons, but missing out yet again on an NCAA berth could threaten his job security.

The Rebels played without point guard Jarvis Summers, who hit his head hard in Friday night's win against Missouri. They didn't need him as they wore down Vanderbilt, with the Commodores playing their third game in as many days along with going to class the past two days.

Ole Miss outshot Vandy 44 percent (22 of 50) to 33.9 percent (19 of 56) as the Commodores went a chilly 6 of 30 behind the arc. The Rebels also finished with a 41-36 edge on the boards.

Ole Miss didn't grab its first lead until the opening minute of the second half, but the Rebels took control with a 15-2 run a few minutes later.

Vanderbilt was up 34-30 off a fast-break layup by Dai-Jon Parker with 15:13 remaining. Then Henderson got the Rebels going with a 3. He added another jumper for the fourth and final tie at 36. Buckner then scored on a three-point play. By the time Buckner hit two free throws with 9:10 left, Ole Miss had its biggest lead yet at 45-36.

Ole Miss led by as much as 58-40 on a dunk by Buckner with 3:20 to go. Vandy, which averaged 10 made 3-pointers in winning its first two tournament games, missed its first 10 to start the second half. Johnson hit the 11th with 2:07 left to cap a quick seven points for the Commodores, except it was too late.

This was a big change from Jan. 15 in the only previous game between these teams this season.

Vandy hit a Memorial Gym record 17 3-pointers in a game Ole Miss pulled out 89-79 after Henderson beat the buzzer with a 35-footer to force overtime. The Commodores blew the win by not even defending Henderson in the final seconds of regulation in that game, their third loss to open league play.

Vandy led 23-14 with 7:09 left on a free throw by Johnson.

Henderson, the SEC's leading scorer, missed his first five shots before finally scoring on a layup with 4:29 to go. He also added a jumper and then his first 3-pointer as the Rebels finished the half on a 12-3 run to tie it up for the first time at 26.

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Marshall Henderson leads the way for Ole Miss with a 23-point effort against the Commodores. (Getty Images)
Marshall Henderson leads the way for Ole Miss with a 23-point effort against the Commodores. (Getty Images)
Vanderbilt (16-17)262652
Ole Miss (25-8) «263864
VANDY:K. Johnson 12 Pts
VANDY:K. Bright 8 Reb
VANDY:K. Johnson 3 Ast
MISS:M. Henderson 23 Pts
MISS:R. Buckner 9 Reb
MISS:M. Henderson 2 Ast

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VanderbiltOle Miss
Kedren Johnson
Marshall Henderson
Vanderbilt Commodores
K. Bright, G393-100-08248
K. Johnson, G334-73-423112
D. Parker, G314-70-17249
J. Henderson, C222-53-55217
R. Odom, F233-140-05047
S. Jeter, F232-50-03035
K. Fuller, G191-52-23244
S. Moats, F90-30-01010
J. Siakam, F10-00-01000
E. McClellan, GDid Not Play
A. Astroth, GDid Not Play
C. Josephs, GDid Not Play
N. Watkins, GDid Not Play
A. Gendelman, GDid Not Play
A. Kehris, FDid Not Play
Totals 19-568-1235112252
Ole Miss Rebels
N. Williams, G383-82-48008
M. Holloway, F385-92-480212
M. Henderson, G377-176-732223
R. Buckner, F316-73-1191315
D. Millinghaus, G190-50-05210
L. White, G251-43-63226
T. Brutus, F70-00-01120
A. Perez, F50-00-00000
D. Cox, CDid Not Play
W. Norman, GDid Not Play
A. Jones, FDid Not Play
J. Summers, GDid Not Play
M. Newby, GDid Not Play
C. Peeper, GDid Not Play
Totals 22-5016-323781264
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
S. Carolina12-626-1143
Ole Miss10-822-1477
Texas A&M8-1016-1593
Miss. State6-1216-16149
Other games
USM 79 Final
NCST 71 Final
BAMA 51 Final
FLA 61
BUTL 56 Final
STL 67
WISC 68 Final
IND 56
MASS 62 Final
VCU 71
MIST 58 Final
KSU 54 Final
KAN 70
NMEX 63 Final
SYR 61 Final
LOU 78
ORE 78 Final