Thinking Big

Terrance Henry isn't one for emotional goodbyes. In all likelihood, he won't shed any tears Saturday, when he plays his final regular season game inside Tad Smith Coliseum.

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However, he admitted Thursday the game will be an emotional one. Ole Miss (17-12, 7-8 Southeastern Conference) hosts Alabama (20-8, 9-6) at 3 p.m. CT on the SEC Network, in a critical game for both teams.

"This will be our last game here, just to let y'all know," Henry said, implying the team will cap a three-game winning streak heading into the SEC tournament in New Orleans, La., next week, leading to a possible NCAA tournament berth.

"I knew this day was coming. It came pretty quick. These four years flew by. I'm happy it's coming but not really, ‘cause it's my last game here."

Pregame ceremonies will honor Henry and fellow senior Steadman Short. But the real drama will come minutes later, as an Ole Miss team left for dead just a week ago attempts to steal a final regular-season win over a quality opponent to pad its postseason resume.

Ole Miss is fresh off a come-from-behind, 77-75 win at Arkansas. The Rebels are No. 59 in the latest RPI rankings released by RealTimeRPI, the fifth-best amongst SEC schools. Alabama has an RPI rank of 27.

"I feel like if we handle business like we're supposed to and some of the things work out in our favor, I feel like we can," make the NCAA tournament, Henry said.

"We're just coming together, and we're trying to make a run," junior guard Nick Williams said. "We're trying to embrace it, man. We can't run from it. It's here. We're trying to get to our ultimate goal. (Alabama) has been projected to be a tournament team. Whatever we can get, we're going to try and get it."

Terrance Henry
Associated Press

Ole Miss is tied for sixth place in the league standings with Mississippi State and LSU. With a win, the Rebels would get the No. 6 or No. 7 seed in the conference tournament, depending on the results of Mississippi State-Arkansas and LSU-Auburn.

The Rebels can finish no lower than eighth in the conference.

"We know we've got work to do," Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said. "I really believe that we control our own destiny. For us, we know this is a huge game. There's so much still in play. We know we have to win games but thankfully, we know we have games in front of us that have meaning."

Henry is winding down his Ole Miss career on a hot streak. He recently became the second Rebel ever with 1,000 points and 100 blocks in a career. He's the 33rd player in school history to reach 1,000 points, and ranks sixth all-time in blocked shots.

Henry scored 21 points in a blowout win over LSU. He followed a game later with 19 against Arkansas, including the deciding 3-pointer with 8.3 seconds left. Ole Miss fought back from 15 points down in Fayetteville.

"My last days are winding down," Henry said. "I just wanted to go out hot, you know?"

"In Arkansas, even when we were down 15, in the huddle he was saying ‘We're going to win this game. We're going to win this game.' He was very confident," Kennedy said. "It's not the script that I would have written, in the mode in which we had to win. Those guys, they continue to believe."

As has been proven in league play, as Henry goes, so goes Ole Miss.

It was Henry who led Ole Miss to back-to-back wins over then No. 15 ranked Mississippi State and Georgia en route to being named SEC Player of the Week in January, and it was Henry again who has given Ole Miss new life.

"It goes fast, doesn't it? Four years go by in the blink of an eye," Kennedy said. "We've got one game left in the regular season; it really does go quickly when you're in the trenches. You're just trying to the next game and the next opportunity.

"It's hard for me to believe he's a senior. He and Stead are our lone seniors. We certainly hope that they can leave on a positive note."

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