His Knoxville debut was a riveting one; nearly an entire 40 minutes worth of jaw-dropping threes doused with brash trash-talking and unforgettable antics.

So naturally, he wanted to make sure everyone was aware of his return.

"He texted me about Sunday and told me he was gonna be down here," UT guard Jordan McRae said, "as if I forgot."

But while Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson's first trip to Tennessee served as a gateway to college basketball's biggest stage, it was McRae who took the upper hand in the 2014 rematch.

McRae, a roommate of Henderson's at the Kevin Durant Skills Academy this past summer, poured in a team-high 26 points – including six 3-pointers – as the Vols routed Ole Miss 86-70 Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.

"I thought Jordan settled down in the second half," UT head coach Cuonzo Martin said. "Early, I thought he was shooting leaners and floaters, and didn't like the flow of the game.

"I just had to go tell him go straight up and down, shoot the ball, catch and shoot the three."

Henderson, who torched the Vols (13-7, 4-3 SEC) for 32 points in an 18-point Rebel victory last season in Knoxville, posted 26 points while shooting 41 percent (9-of-22) from the field and 42 percent (8-of-19) from downtown.

Despite all the attention, Henderson's return to Knoxville was nearly derailed in the opening minutes as the Rebel senior exited the game with an apparent hip injury just 32 seconds in.

As Henderson writhed in pain on the Ole Miss bench, the Vols took command early, knocking down a slew of 3-pointers en route to quick nine-point lead.

As a team, UT finished 11-of-20 from deep.

"Coming into this game, they didn't expect us to shoot the way we did," said UT junior forward Jarnell Stokes, who finished with his 29th career double-double (13 points, 14 rebounds). "I have to give our guards a lot of respect because after the Florida game they didn't get discouraged.

"They got somewhat angry because of how bad they shot from the field."

McRae and Josh Richardson — who failed to score in UT's loss at Florida — led the charge in the opening period as the duo combined for 20 of UT's 41 first half points.

Richardson finished with 16 points, his highest scoring total in almost a month.

"It is just waiting for them to fall," Richardson said. "Florida was a bad game for everyone, I think we can agree on that. Shots were falling today."

The Vols led by as much as 19 in the first half, but a late 11-4 Ole Miss run — fueled by a revamped Henderson — cut the Rebel deficit to 41-29 at the break.

"(Henderson's) a threat," Martin said. "That's what he does. He makes them big and he keeps guys in games and you have to identify him on the floor."

Jerrone Maymon, who finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, extended the UT lead to 48-32, after two quick second-half layups. Henderson soon responded, however, with a trio of 3-pointers, all of which were at least a couple steps behind the arc.

With just under 14 minutes remaining and momentum building, the Rebels (14-6, 5-2) trailed by only five.

Then, the Vols firmly shut the door.

McRae drilled two crucial threes as part of an 18-4 second half run, and the Vols held Henderson to just two baskets down the stretch.

McRae, who went a dismal 1-of-15 from the field in Tennessee's 26-point loss to Florida on Saturday, knew a bounce-back performance was all but a necessity given the consistent toughness of the SEC.

"Trying to get wins especially in the SEC (is tough)," McRae said. "Every night is going to be a good game no matter who we play, so we're just trying to take this win and move on to the next one."