Utah freshman guard Marshall Henderson is quickly developing a reputation as a long-range bomber.
He certainly came out gunning in the Utes' 68-52 win over Michigan on Tuesday night, making two 3-pointers in the game's first 80 seconds.
But in what was a sure sign of maturity and that he's not a one-dimensional player, Henderson's biggest contribution came on a shot that was nowhere near the 3-point line.
Michigan made a 12-3 run, nearly erasing a double-digit deficit and closed within 42-41 when guard Manny Harris made a layup with 12:10 remaining. Henderson, however, responded on the other end of the floor, scoring on a drive to the basket and drawing a foul.
The shot stymied Michigan's momentum and helped Utah regain control of the contest. Center David Foster then made back-to-back shots to put Utah comfortably up by seven.
"We did need it at the time," Henderson said of his layup. "It definitely helped to get a bucket and slow down their run."
All of Henderson's contributions helped the Utes' cause on Tuesday. The freshman from Hurst, Texas, scored a career-high 22 points and added four rebounds and three steals. His early 3-pointers gave Utah a lift, and he finished the first half with 16 points. He shot 4-for-8 from 3-point range in the first half.
"It was awesome," Henderson said of how he felt about helping his team, especially with it coming against a national name like Michigan. "I've been waiting for a game like this since I got here. I know I'm capable of doing it. To do it against Michigan was great."
The Wolverines quickly adjusted to Henderson's sharpshooting, and he didn't get many quality looks from long range after the game's early minutes. Michigan opened the game in a 1-3-1 zone, and Henderson ate it up.
"He's something, isn't he," said Utes coach Jim Boylen. "At the 8-minute timeout, I told him you're going to have to start driving the ball now, and he drove the ball twice and got two assists. So he's very intelligent. He's got talent and intelligence."
He also apparently has a green light to shoot. Henderson attempted a team-high 18 shots, with 11 of them coming from 3-point range. He made six of his first eight shots and then cooled down from the field when the Wolverines realized they needed to pay extra attention to him.
Boylen admires Henderson's courage to take big shots but also needs him to play within the team's schemes.
"He drives me nuts sometimes because he's so willing to be the guy," Boylen said. "As a freshman, you got to play with the other guys, too. He's got guts."
Boylen said he is pleased with the progress Henderson has made in playing the way he wants him to play. He sat him in the second half against Illinois to send him a message — Henderson was 0-for-3 shooting in just 9 minutes in that game. Boylen said the kid grew from the experience.
Henderson has scored in double figures in four of the Utes' nine games this season.
"I'm happy right now," Henderson said. "I'm definitely still trying to get better and not just be a one-dimensional player."