Ole Miss thought long and hard about dropping a terrible, RPI-killing game at home against the dreadful South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday.
Fortunately, Jarvis Summers interrupted the train of thought. Summers dropped seven points in a 2½-minute span late in the game to cap off a double-digit rally and help the Rebels pull a potentially season-saving 75-71 win out of their asses.
Summers nailed a 3-pointer with four minutes remaining to give Ole Miss its first lead since the four-minute mark in the first half. After a quick Gamecocks bucket, the junior point guard answered with a jumper to push the Rebs back in front, 69-68. A tough, contested layup with 1:30 remaining pushed the lead to four and capped a 14-2 run over the previous four minutes.
With the win, Ole Miss improves to 15-6 (6-2 SEC).
After jumping out to a quick eight-point lead, Ole Miss effectively shut it down for the next 30 minutes of basketball. They were bullied on the boards and went long stretches without making baskets.
The importance of winning this game can't be overstated. Well, let me rephrase: the importance of not losing this game can't be overstated. The Gamecocks came in with an RPI of 127, and losing to them on the Rebels' home court could have doomed any shot for the tournament.
Before we continue, we need to acknowledge this:
Yes, that's Marshall Henderson rocking a behind-the-back slam jam. We've seen him dunk before, but nothing like this.
Believe it or not, this was one of several TWO-point baskets by Marshall. He was surprisingly efficient in the first half, going 6-of-9 from the floor for 13 points. He finished with a team-high 21 points.
Summers was second on the team with 15 points and added eight assists.
Meanwhile, the big men continued to struggle. Aaron Jones was the only front-court guy with double-digit points and Ole Miss was out rebounded 38-28 as a team.