COLUMBIA — The Missouri men's basketball team knows what the Marshall Henderson show entails.
The Tigers are familiar with the antics — the taunting of opposing coaches, players and fans. They’re familiar with his flamboyant act and the hotheadedness that made Henderson the most controversial Marshall since Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem.
Who: Ole Miss Rebels (15-7, 6-3)
Where: Tad Smith Coliseum, Oxford, Miss.
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Watch: Fox Sports Network
Listen: Tiger Radio Network
When Missouri (16-6, 4-5) faces Ole Miss (15-7, 6-3) Saturday afternoon in Oxford, Miss., the Tigers say they’ll be ready to tune it all out.
“He’s the same guy,” Missouri coach Frank Haith said of Henderson on Friday morning. “He’s a really good scorer, really great shooter. He plays with a lot of moxie, a lot of confidence. I think his hair’s longer maybe, but other than that, I think he’s the same guy.”
Haith and his players are well-versed in all things Henderson, having competed against the boisterous guard three times last season.
“Who knows what he’s going to do or say,” junior guard Jabari Brown said. “You’ve just got to play your game and not play his game because that’s what makes him good.”
Keeping their composure is something Haith believes his players have done well this season. There have been few tussles after the whistle. That mettle will likely be tested Saturday inside the hostile Tad Smith Coliseum, especially considering each of the teams’ three meetings last season included squabbles.
“This group has been one that plays with a quiet level of emotions, and I like that about them,” Haith said. “Our guys know that we want to play the game on the court. We’ll emphasize that with our team. I think Marshall (Henderson) is an emotional player. He plays with great intensity, and we want to match that intensity with our play too. We don’t want to get into those types of games.”
After helplessly watching the chippy play as a transfer sitting out last season, Jordan Clarkson said he’s looking forward to facing the unique challenge Henderson presents.
“If we just stay composed and relax how we have been, I think we should have no problem with it,” Clarkson said. “He’s a good player. He wears his heart on his sleeves, and he brings a lot of emotion to the game. It’s going to be a fun game to play.”
After being limited to 27 points in the team’s first two meetings, Henderson annihilated Missouri last March in the team’s Southeastern Conference Tournament matchup with 27 points. The senior is averaging 19.1 points per game this season, on a lowly 36.4 percent shooting, taking an average of 15.6 shots per game.
“He’s going to hit shots. He takes a lot of them and he’s a good shooter, so it’s not whether or not he makes any shots,” Brown said. “He’s going to make shots. It’s just making sure all of them are contested because, more often that not, he’s not going to hit over 50 percent if they’re all tough shots.”
When Henderson’s shots aren’t falling, the Rebels look to his backcourt mate Jarvis Summers for offense. The junior guard averages 17.5 points per game and is a more efficient shooter, making 50.8 percent of his shots.
Much like Missouri, Ole Miss is a backcourt-oriented team with a young frontcourt. Henderson ranks third in the SEC in points. Summers is 10th. At 22.7 points per game, Brown leads the conference. Clarkson is seventh with 17.8.
Brown has taken pride in guarding the opposing team’s top scorer this season, but he said he’s not looking at Saturday’s game as an individual matchup between the high-scoring guards.
“Just another game to me,” Brown said. “I think (Henderson) makes it bigger because he does all his antics, but I feel like it’s just another game against a conference team.”
It’s not just another game, though. As the losers of two consecutive games, Missouri finds itself at the bottom of the Last Four In list in ESPN analyst Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology update. Few chances at resume-building wins remain for the Tigers. A potential road win against Ole Miss is one of those opportunities.
That’s all the motivation Brown said he needs.
“We’re fighting for our lives trying to make the tourney now, so if you can’t get up for that, then ... you’ve got to look at yourself in the mirror.”