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Rebels Defeat UMass at the Buzzer

Photo courtesy of Ole Miss Sports
It wasn’t pretty. The two teams combined for a total of 57 fouls. Ole Miss trailed by nine points with less than four minutes to play. However, the Rebels (2-0) came alive when it was needed to escape with a 90-88 win against UMass (1-1) on Monday night.

“It was really hard to get a flow with the way that the whistle is,” Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said. “We never really established a rhythm. It’s amazing we scored 90 points.”

An 11-0 run, capped off by a Sebastian Saiz put-back with 3.3 seconds left pushed Ole Miss just past the Minutemen. It was fitting that Saiz was the one to be there for the game-winner since he was a force all game for the Rebels. The Spaniard posted a huge double-double, his first of the young season.

“Sebas had a tremendous game,” Kennedy said. “In game one, he had foul trouble and never got any rhythm. He stepped up big for us when we were struggling across the board. He had 22 (points) and 19 (rebounds) and a huge tip to put us in control to get out 2-0.”

Ole Miss controlled much of the early portion of the game, building up a double-digit lead over the first 14 minutes of the contest. The Minutemen dominated the final six though, heading to halftime with an out point lead.

Out of the half, it was Terence Davis that helped the Rebels quickly make the deficit disappear. The sophomore scored Ole Miss’ first 10 points of the half, however foul troubled slowed him down.

UMass controlled most of the second half after Davis’ hot start to the half, slowly building its lead. The Minutemen’s largest lead of the game also happened to be the lead where Ole Miss turned it around.

While Deandre Burnett had a difficult night from the floor, he scored six of the Rebels final 11 points down the stretch. He nailed two free throws to tie the game up at 88, but then the game got a little crazy.

A defense stop gave the Rebels the ball back, but Ole Miss promptly turned it over. UMass couldn’t capitalize, promptly turning it back over to Ole Miss. The back-to-back turnovers set the Rebels up for the last shot of the game.

“We were fortunate. It’s certainly not the way you draw it up,” Kennedy said. “We had the ball on the side. Let’s throw it to them. Let him kick it off his foot, and then go to the monitor and get it back. But, it allowed us to set up and get the last shot.”

On the last possession, Burnett drove hard to the basket but his layup was off the rim. Fortunately, Ole Miss’ leader in the post was there for the deciding tip-in.

The Rebels head to the Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam next, where they will take on Oral Roberts on Friday.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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