Rebels Knock Off Memphis Behind Saiz's Double-Double

Dec. 3, 2016

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By Dylan Edwards, OleMissSports.com

OXFORD, Miss. - 
What a difference a couple of days can make. Led by senior Sebastian Saiz posting a huge double-double with 20 points and 16 rebounds, the Rebels knocked off Memphis, 85-77, to rebound from Wednesday's loss. 

"We're growing as a team," Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said. "You've got a lot of guys in a lot of spots that have never been there. It's nice to grow with a win, especially in a rivalry game that's very important to a lot of Ole Miss people."

Just under the eight-minute mark of the second half, Memphis had grabbed a five-point lead. The lead was Memphis' largest of the contest, and the game seemed to be slipping away from the Rebels despite leading for nearly the entire contest up to that point. Ole Miss responded in a big way.

The Rebels scored 20 of the next 23 points, capped by a Cullen Neal 3-pointer to get the lead to 81-69. During the five-minute run, Ole Miss limited Memphis to just one field goal. Ole Miss' lead never shrunk smaller than six points over the final three minutes to close the win out.

"It comes down to making plays," Kennedy said. "Our guys responded by making plays, whether it be penetrate and pitch with Cullen making that big 3 or Hymon blocking those two or three shots down the stretch which kept balls alive and allowed us to get out in the open floor and make some place."

Kennedy decided to changed things up from the Middle Tennesseeg game by changing up the starting lineup. Breein Tyree, Marcanvis Hymon, and Terrence Davis made their first starts of the season along with the familiar faces of Saiz and Deandre Burnett. He was rewarded for it with great energy from the very beginning.

On the first possession of the game, Tyree opened up the scoring in his first collegiate start by hitting a shot from beyond the arc. Ole Miss never trailed in the first half.

"We came out of the gate with great energy," Kennedy said. "Our focus was locked in. We were moving the ball. Thirteen assists in the first half, which is a typical game for us. It shows we were moving the ball."

Memphis had no intention of going quietly. The Tigers rallied from the 10-point halftime deficit to take the lead for the first time in the game with 10:45 left in the game. In the end however, it was the Rebels that made the most plays to close out the game and grab the big win. "

"Coaches aren't supposed to say this, but this was a must win," Kennedy said. "We knew in order for our season to have hope, you have to protect your home floor. You certainly can't drop two-in-a-row at home prior to going to an ACC team next." 

The Rebels are back in action in Blacksburg, Virginia, when they take on Virginia Tech on Sunday, December 11.


 

 

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