In the world of college basketball, March is meant for heroes.
And sometimes those heroes are the most unlikely of candidates.
True freshman Derrick Millinghaus hit a tear-drop floater with 1.1 seconds remaining in the game to power Ole Miss past Missouri in an SEC Tournament quarter-final game Friday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
Millinghaus seemingly came from nowhere in the second half to help the Rebels erase a 14-point deficit. Millinghaus finished the night with 11 points five of which came in the last 31 seconds of the game and all of which came in the second half.
With the game tied 59-59, Missouri’s Phil Pressey dropped in a 3-pointer to put the Tigers ahead 62-59 with 47 seconds remaining in the game.
Millinghause immediately answered with a 3-pointer of his own, tying the game 62-62 with 31 seconds left on the clock.
Following a timeout by Ole Miss, Missouri attempted to put the basketball in play but an errant inbounds pass from Laurence Bowers was picked off by the Rebels’ Marshall Henderson. The Rebels then called another timeout with 16 seconds remaining in the game.
Appearing to want to hold for the final shot, Ole Miss let the clock trickle down, finally placing the ball into the red-hot hands of Millinghaus who promptly dropped in the one-handed floater to give the Rebels a 64-62 lead with 1.1 seconds remaining. It was the first lead for Ole Miss since the 12:42 mark of the first half.
Missouri then called a timeout but the Tigers desperation heave was intercepted by Millinghaus who tossed the ball high into the air as the final buzzer sounded.
While Millinghaus wore the Superman cape during the stretch run of the game, it was Marshall Henderson who did much work in the second half to help Ole Miss close the gap. Henderson finished the night with a game-high 27 points, most of which came after halftime. Reginald Buckner’s dunk with 2:44 remaining culminated a 10-1 Ole Miss run and tied the game at 57-57.
Murphy Holloway finished with nine points and 14 rebounds for the Rebels.
Alex Oriakhi led Missouri with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Pressey finished with 13 for the Tigers.
Ole Miss (24-8) advances to face Vanderbilt at 2:30 p.m. CST Saturday with a trip to the SEC Tournament championship game on the line. Missouri (23-10) awaits its NCAA Tournament seeding.
The Rebels appear to be headed to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in head coach Andy Kennedy’s seven seasons at the helm of the program.
Complete game coverage coming