Marshall Henderson ‘a manipulator of sorts’ irks Missouri while sending the Tigers home early

Kyle Ringo
The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Marshall Henderson was at it again Friday night.

In the process of leading Ole Miss to a 64-62 comeback win over Missouri in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament, Henderson's fiery antics and questionable sportsmanship got under the skin of Missouri players and fans. That seemed to be exactly what he was hoping to achieve.

''I think we've just created a really big rivalry in the SEC between Ole Miss and Missouri,'' Henderson said afterward. ''That's good.''

Henderson scored 20 of his 27 points in the second half, leading the Rebels back from a 14-point deficit. He pounded his chest and taunted Missouri fans and players in the process and he made one of the biggest plays in crunch time when he stole an inbound pass to set up the game winning basket in the final 30 seconds.

When the victory was secure, Henderson jumped on the scorer's table to celebrate further. Oh, and he noted later that some Missouri players didn't shake hands afterward.

"I'm a manipulator of sorts and I like messing with people's minds, and it's pretty funny to mess with people like that," Henderson told The Birmingham News. "It's a freaking game. It's a basketball game. People take it so seriously that it's funny for a little white guy like me to just come around, talk trash to people and the fans. Like, what are you going to do in the stands? What am I going to do on the court to you in the stands? It's funny just to mess with people."

This is nothing new for Henderson who has to be the most polarizing player in the college game because of his antics in numerous games this season.

The fact that it came against Missouri only made it worse. Tigers fans don't need much to get their blood boiling in regard to their basketball team these days. This is a program that lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament last season to Norfolk State when plenty of people believed the Tigers had enough talent and experience to make a deep run, maybe even to the third weekend.

Throw in the fact that Friday's collapse was just the latest of numerous leads surrendered this season away from Mizzou Arena. Watching the Tigers do it again at tournament time must have been frustrating for Missouri fans. Watching how much fun Henderson was having at their expense must have made almost as bad as losing to longtime hated rival Kansas.

Want to join the conversation? Follow @YahooDagger on Twitter and @KyleRingo and be sureto "Like" The Dagger on Facebook for basketball conversations and stuff you won't see on the blog.

What to Read Next