Today in sports history (2013), Ole Miss basketball took down Florida in the SEC Championship to automatically qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Mississippi entered the tournament as the three-seed, while Florida came in as the one-seed.
Ole Miss was led by Marshall Henderson, who was scoring 20.1 points per game. Not only was Henderson scoring a ton of points, but he was also pissing off every fan base in America with his cocky and carefree attitude. On Florida’s side, Mike Rosario, Kenny Boynton and Erik Murphy were leading the charge, all scoring 12 or more points per game. Many expected a Florida-Kentucky championship, but that quickly faded away as 10th-seeded Vanderbilt knocked off Kentucky in the quarterfinals.
Henderson, Holloway Lead Mississippi to SEC Championship Win
Marshall Henderson scored 21 points, while Murphy Holloway scored 23, giving coach Andy Kennedy his first NCAA Tournament appearance. The Rebels upset the Gators, winning 66-63.
Coming into the game, Ole Miss had won seven out of their last eight games, including two wins over Missouri and Vanderbilt in the conference tournament. They had also recently lost their starting point guard Jarvis Summers to a concussion. Ladarius White stepped in to fill that point guard position.
Florida had a late attempt to send the game to overtime. Scottie Wilbekin missed two free throws with four seconds left. Boynton found the ball in his hands where he took a step-back three-point shot, which hit the rim and bounced out.
Ole Miss found themselves down 38-26 at halftime. Henderson looked off in the first half, as he only converted on one of his six three-point attempts.
Ole Miss Basketball Hangs On in Second Half to Win Championship
Mississippi opened the second half on a 10-3 run, to cut the lead to five. While Ole Miss came out of the halftime gates on fire, that was not the case for Florida. The Gators missed eight of their first 10 shots out of the break. Eventually, Mississippi tied the game with 13:39 remaining, when Henderson found Reginald Buckner for an alley-oop.
After ping-ponging the lead, Florida eventually took a one-point lead on the back of a 7-0 run. Mississippi immediately went on their own 7-0 run to build the lead back up to six. This is when Henderson famously did the Florida Gators chomp directed at Florida fans and players. The Gators never recovered the lead, but got close, cutting the lead to two twice under a minute. Free throws and suffocating defense then clinched the victory for the Rebels.