By Tyler Bischoff
KANSAS CITY — Ole Miss used another second-half comeback to knock off fifth-seeded Wisconsin and advance to the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament.
The Rebels trailed by three at halftime, but outscored the Badgers by 14 in the second half to take the 57-46 victory.
“We’re a second half team,” junior guard Marshall Henderson said. “Everything was positive in the locker room at halftime, we knew shots were going to fall. When they did, we knew we were going to win.”
Henderson had a game-high 19 points, but they didn’t come easy. He scored just two points in the first half on 1-of-11 shooting. He finished 6-of-21 from the field and 3-of-12 from 3-point range. He has now attempted 379 three pointers this year, one shy of the NCAA Division I record of 380.
“Their defense wasn’t what everyone said their defense was,” Henderson said. “I just missed shots.”
Henderson wasn’t the only one firing up 3-pointers, as Wisconsin was 7-of-30 from beyond the arc in the game. In the last 2:33 of the game, Wisconsin went 0-of-7 on 3-pointers.
Senior forward Reginald Buckner’s presence in the paint made it difficult for the Badgers to get anything to fall in the paint. Buckner, the all-time leading shot blocker in Ole Miss history, swatted five shots. Ole Miss outscored Wisconsin 30-16 in the paint.
“Whenever you have Reggie lurking back there in the middle, it’s a deterrent for them to drive at the basket,” head coach Andy Kennedy said. “I think it had something to do with them missing shots I’m sure they normally make.”
Along with his five blocks, Buckner added nine points, 12 rebounds and two steals. His front court teammate, senior forwardMurphy Holloway, had 10 points, nine rebounds and two steals to give Ole Miss the advantage inside.
The Ole Miss defense was able to hold Wisconsin to 25.4 percent shooting from the field. Ole Miss is now 14-0 when they hold their opponent to under 40 percent shooting.
Sam Dekker led the Badgers off the bench with 14 points and was the only Wisconsin player to reach double figures. The Wisconsin starters shot 9-of-41 in the game.
The Badgers have scored less than 46 points three times this season, and were 1-2 in those games.
Ole Miss will now play the winner of La Salle and Kansas State on Sunday. The game time will be announced later today. Another win would put Ole Miss in the Sweet 16 for the second time in program history. The Rebels were eliminated by Arizona in 2001 in the Sweet Sixteen.
Player of the Game: Reginald Buckner – 9 points, 12 rebounds, 5 blocks, 2 steals
Stat of the game: Wisconsin Field Goal Percentage: 25.4. The lowest of the season for Wisconsin.
Quote of the game: “I believe in this team no matter what. I’m just speechless right now.” – Ladarius White
For continuing coverage of Ole Miss men’s basketball, follow @Tyler_RSR and @thedm_sports on Twitter.