West Region Wrap, Day 4: They Had The Game-Winners On Smash

The fourth day of play in the South region was set-off in the most legit way possible, with Aaron Craft knocking down a game-winner to help OSU avoid the upset. We chronicled that here.

It was up to Marshall Mathers, er, Henderson to make sure the next tilt measured up…or was it?

When a team hitches its NCAA tournament hopes to a career 38 percent shooter and volume scorer, there are two possible outcomes: the team could strike gold or strikeout. In terms of Henderson and Ole Miss, the run that started in the SEC tournament finally came to a halt against La Salle.

Henderson, by all accounts a fascinating story and character, is not exactly a model of on-court efficiency. Sure, he gets his points and shows up in the big moments. But while he led the 12th-seeded Rebels in scoring once more (21 points), he missed 11 3-pointers and shot just—go figure—38 percent from the field.

It’s tough to hold the performance against the quick-triggered guard, though. After all, he hoisted more than 500 shots this season; this is normal. But against an undersized La Salle team, Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy had to recognize he had an advantage on their interior with his big men Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner—perhaps enough of an advantage to rein in Henderson more than usual.

To his credit: Henderson made some game-changing shots and rose to the occasion at times. He even had an argument that he drew a shooting foul that wasn’t called with the game tied and time running out.

In the end, though, he was not the game’s star.

La Salle’s Ramon Galloway poured in 24 points (on eight fewer shots than Henderson) and is one of the premier shooters remaining in the tournament. But it was guard Tyrone Garland who stole the final act with his “Southwest Philly Floater”—the game-winning shot the sent the Explorers to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in half a century.

Judging by the headlines, it seemed the national media wanted to see a few more landshark celebrations in the NCAA tournament.

But it was Garland screaming, “Shoutout to my cousin Vern,” that unofficially commemorated the moment—and the unpredictable West region.

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