NCAA

Henderson imperfect poster boy for upstart Rebels

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Henderson imperfect poster boy for upstart Rebels

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) The talkative and brash Marshall Henderson is the face of Mississippi's basketball program.

Sometimes that's good, sometimes it's not so good.

His play and antics have led to plenty of attention for the No. 16 Rebels (17-3, 6-1 Southeastern Conference), who face No. 8 Florida (17-2, 7-0) in Gainesville on Saturday in a matchup of the SEC's two top-ranked teams.

Henderson has been so good during his first two months in the SEC that the 6-foot-2 junior has brought a rare spotlight to a program that hasn't been to the NCAA tournament since 2002. He leads the conference in scoring at 19.3 points per game; he's averaging more than 21 in SEC contests.

Being the SEC scoring leader also brings individual attention.

The scrutiny into Henderson has revealed a player with a dynamic personality and a flair for the dramatic that opposing fans love to hate. In the first 20 games of his Ole Miss career, the fast-talking, emotional Henderson has hit a 35-foot buzzer beater against Vanderbilt to tie a game, celebrated in front of an angry Auburn student section after making two game-clinching free throws and scored a combined 60 points against Tennessee over a two-game period.

Coach Andy Kennedy has had several conversations with Henderson about channeling his emotions, but has stressed he views the exuberance as a good thing.

Opposing coaches - including Tennessee's Cuonzo Martin and Kentucky's John Calipari - have said they enjoy watching Henderson play.

``I think it's passion,'' Kennedy said of Henderson's reactions. ``We don't want it to be misconstrued. Everything that he does is sincere. It is team first. We just want to make sure he funnels it in the proper way. He's a guy that's certainly going to garner attention.''

But all the attention has also revealed details about Henderson's checkered past, which includes a stint in jail last year because of a probation violation.

- According to court documents, Henderson was arrested for a 2009 incident in Tarrant County, Texas, and charged with misdemeanor forgery after buying marijuana with counterfeit money. He was eventually sentenced to two years of probation.

- Henderson was arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana in 2011 in Texas and sentenced to four months in jail during early 2012 for violating his probation - though not all of that time was actually served behind bars because he was on a work release program. Court documents also show that Henderson failed tests for alcohol, marijuana and cocaine while on probation.

Ole Miss officials have said the athletic department was aware of Henderson's past legal issues when he signed, and that there have been no problems since he arrived on campus.

Kennedy said Henderson's past might be news for opposing fans, but he doesn't expect the publicity to rattle his star guard.

``We've talked about it,'' Kennedy said Thursday. ``Marshall's a free spirit and a different thinker. I don't know exactly what would upset him one way or the other. These are things that he's dealt with. This is his reality. All of these things were two, three, some of them four years ago. I don't think people talking about them will offend him or get him off focus. I'm going to certainly try to make sure that's the case.''

Henderson was not made available for interviews on Thursday.

It remains to be seen if all the attention will change Henderson's torrid scoring pace as Ole Miss enters its most crucial stretch of the season. He scored 21 points on Tuesday in the Rebels' first SEC loss to Kentucky, but shot just 5 of 19 from the field, including only 2 of 11 from 3-point range.

The loss was costly for the Rebels. One of their most important reserves Aaron Jones - a 6-foot-9 sophomore who is the primary backup for both Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner - tore the ACL in his left knee in the second half and is out for the season. Backup guard Nick Williams, who is averaging more than nine points per game, is also out indefinitely after re-aggravating a foot injury against the Wildcats.

So the onus is on Henderson to keep producing for the shorthanded Rebels.

That won't be easy against Florida, which is on a nine-game winning streak. The Gators have crushed everyone in the SEC so far - the closest game was a 64-47 victory over Georgia.

Florida coach Billy Donovan is wary of Henderson, who is attempting nearly 11 3-pointers per game.

``He's got really, really good speed to come off screens,'' Donovan said. ``He's got the ability to kind of get himself squared up pretty quickly. He can make tough shots. He can make challenged shots.''

As for Henderson's on-court antics, Florida forward Will Yeguete wasn't particularly concerned.

``I think players are just different,'' Yeguete said. ``We play with a lot of energy and a lot of emotion in the game and sometimes you do things that you don't realize you do until after. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.''

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AP Sports Writer Mark Long in Gainesville, Fla., and Associated Press writer Danny Robbins in Dallas contributed to this story.

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Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

Miami outlasts Virginia Tech in triple-overtime thriller

Miami outlasts Virginia Tech in triple-overtime thriller

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Kameron McGusty scored five of his 21 points in the third overtime to lead Miami to a 102-95 triple-overtime victory over Virginia Tech on Wednesday in the longest Atlantic Coast Conference game in 17 years.

Isaiah Wong added a career-high 27 points, and Chris Lykes finished with 23 for the ’Canes (14-12, 6-10 ACC), who won their third straight game and swept the Hokies this season.

The game marked the longest ACC game since Dec. 20, 2003 when a Chris Paul-led Wake Forest team won 119-114 in triple overtime over North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Tyrece Radford paced the Hokies (15-11 6-9) with a career-high 26 points.

Virginia Tech had a great chance to win the game in regulation, grabbing a 77-74 lead after Jalen Cone made the second of two free throws with 13 seconds remaining. But McGusty tied the game when he scored on a layup, and the Hokies’ Radford fouled him with five seconds to go. McGusty made the free throw to tie the game at 77, and Radford’s shot at the buzzer was blocked by Keith Stone, sending the game into overtime.

In the third overtime, McGusty hit one of two free-throw attempts with 3:29 left to give Miami a 93-90 lead. Moments later, he scored back-to-back baskets, pushing the Miami lead to 98-92 with 56 seconds to go. Lykes' layup with 20 seconds remaining, and Wong’s two free throws with 10 seconds left enabled the ’Canes to hold off the Hokies.

Wong’s two free throws capped an outstanding night at the free-throw line for Miami, which connected on 29 of 32 attempts.

BIG PICTURE

Miami: The ’Canes lost five of six games in a recent stretch, but are finally healthy, and with all the parts in all the proper places, they’re playing much better. The ’Canes opened the first of three consecutive games on the road in perfect fashion with a triple-overtime victory over the Hokies, and with four regular-season games remaining, they could convert a late-season run into a postseason bid.

Virginia Tech: After a 5-3 start to ACC play, the Hokies are struggling with a young roster that features six freshmen who see significant minutes. They have lost five of their past six games and now face the beef of their schedule with games at No. 6 Duke, vs. Virginia and at No. 11 Louisville.

UP NEXT

Miami: The ’Canes play at Notre Dame on Sunday.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies play at Duke on Saturday.

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Luwane Pipkins, Aplha Diallo lead Providence past Georgetown

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Luwane Pipkins, Aplha Diallo lead Providence past Georgetown

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Alpha Diallo had 18 points and eight rebounds and Luwane Pipkins added 16 points as Providence defeated Georgetown 73-63 on Wednesday night.

Kalif Young added 11 points and nine rebounds and Maliek White had 11 points and seven assists for Providence (15-12, 8-6 Big East Conference).

Georgetown led 34-30 at halftime and protected a slim lead through the first eight minutes of the second half. The Friars tied it at 49 on a putback by Diallo with 11:50 remaining and pushed their lead to eight points when Pipkins hit a 3-pointer near the seven-minute mark. In the final minute, Pipkins made three free throws and Diallo two to preserve the win.

Providence scored 43 points in the second half, shooting 60% after halftime, 44% for the game.

Jahvon Blair had 20 points for the Hoyas (15-11, 5-8). Terrell Allen added 16 points and Jamorko Pickett had 12 points and 12 rebounds.

The Friars improve to 2-0 against the Hoyas on the season. Providence defeated Georgetown 76-60 on Dec. 31.

Providence plays Marquette at home on Saturday. Georgetown plays at DePaul on Saturday.

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