Rebel with a cause

He is basketball's version of Johnny Manziel.

If you saw either the Texas A&M quarterback or Mississippi guard Marshall Henderson walking down the street, you would not be impressed. They look like most any other guy.

Unless you are impressed by average, somewhat goofy-looking guys who are barely over 6-feet tall.

But they both play with a swagger. Confidence, a crazed look in their eyes. And they both know how to win --- and they both do it in an unconventional manner.

There are some differences.

Manziel will play at the next level and make a lot of money.

Henderson will not play at the next level, but he will make his YMCA team really, really good.

With Manziel, you either like him or don't like him.

With Henderson, you either love him or hate him.

Henderson plays the game the same way Richard Sherman does post-game interviews. He creates a lot of "Really?" moments.

But he's a Rebel with a cause.

You would love to have Manziel or Henderson on your team, wouldn't you? Not to mention Sherman.

There's something to be said for knowing how to win.

Henderson, a 6-2 senior, hit six 3-pointers, scored 18 points and dished out five assists --- in the FIRST HALF --- as the Rebels beat the Missouri Tigers 91-88 on Saturday in Oxford, Miss.

"Huge, huge win," Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. "It's a home game against a top-50 team that everyone had slotted ahead of us."

This is where Missouri is, considered a top-50 team. They continue to meander down an undistinguished path of basketball mediocrity.

They have two guys who will likely play in the NBA --- well, they'll sit on an NBA bench, anyway --- 6-5 juniors Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson.

They have a solid college player in 6-5 senior Earnest Ross, whose competitive career will be over in about six weeks.

After that, the rest of the team is, well ... they have a lot of really tall guys and a lot of tattoos, that should count for something!

The Rebels (16-7, 7-3 SEC) entered the game with an RPI of 57 and Strength of Schedule of 58; the Tigers (16-7, 4-6) were 52 and 57, respectively.

In other words, after this loss, Missouri's NCAA bubble --- if not burst --- is getting very, very thin.

Mississippi's loose cannon was on target once again. Henderson entered the game averaging 19 points and two assists; he left the game with 29 points and eight 3-pointers.

"You know Marshall is going to make those shots," Missouri coach Frank Haith said.

Really? Here's your sign.

Henderson hit a 3-ball 50 seconds into the game to make it 3-0, and the Rebels (16-7, 7-3) were basically in control the rest of the way.

The lead was as many as 18 in the first half and 50-35 at the break, as the Tigers gave up more first-half points than they have all season.

"I thought we came out and they just whipped us a little bit," Haith said. "They got every loose ball, they got second-chance points, they got the rebounds ... they were really aggressive.

"I thought where the game was lost was on the defensive end, their physicality."

The Tigers did make a valiant charge in the second half, cutting the lead to one point on three occasions, thanks to their big three --- Ross finished with 24 points, Clarkson had 23 and Brown had 20, to account for 67 of the team's 88 points.

"I thought we had some great energy in the second half," Haith said. "And obviously, our three guys did what they need to do."

The Tigers were still in the conversation until the final buzzer, when Brown's 30-foot 3-point attempt gently kissed off the front of the rim.

Game over and perhaps, Missouri's NCAA Tournament hopes. The Tigers' final eight games are against mostly SEC dregs, and few tournament-enhancing-resume' wins are still out there.

By all appearances, the Tigers, losers of three straight, need a Rebel with a cause.

Because there's certainly something to be said for knowing how to win.