Rebs, Dogs trying to end streaks

Published 11:42 pm Friday, January 22, 2016

Ole Miss is limping into its rivalry game Saturday at Mississippi State in more ways than one.

The Rebels’ top rebounder, Sebastian Saiz, is out for at least another week after having surgery for a partially detached retina. Their top scorer, Stefan Moody, is day to day with a strained hamstring suffered in an overtime loss to South Carolina on Tuesday. A third starter, Martavious Newby, is day to day with an eye injury.

The Rebels (12-6, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) are also riding a three-game losing streak heading into their showdown with the Bulldogs (7-10, 0-5) and about to begin a stretch where six of the next eight games are on the road.

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“They’re still a group that’s been through a lot of battles,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy told The Oxford Eagle when speaking about his team. “We know they’ll be ready.”

Kennedy said Moody’s status will be a gametime decision. Kennedy said his star guard has responded well to treatment, but he was wary of risking long-term injury.

The senior Moody is averaging 24.3 points per game, which leads the SEC and ranks sixth nationally. He has scored at least 20 points in 13 consecutive games.

“We all realize that he’s a pretty important piece with what we’re doing, but if he’s not 100 percent, he will not play Saturday — or as close to 100 percent as he can be,” Kennedy said.

Ole Miss has won five in a row against Mississippi State, but the Bulldogs are trying to break another, more frustrating five-game losing streak.

Mississippi State is 0-5 in SEC play for the first time since 1986. That losing streak followed a run in which it won three in a row and six of eight, and has been discouraging for a team that seemed to have turned a corner under first-year coach Ben Howland.

Four of the five losses have been by six points or less.

“It’s getting old that, ‘Hey, we were right there and we’re not getting it done,’” Howland said. “We’ve got to get over the hump here.”

Mississippi State will go on the road for three of its next four games, including two in a row at No. 24 South Carolina and Missouri next week.

Howland called this an important game because of the rivalry, but it’s obvious he could have meant it for a number of reasons.

“It’s the biggest game of the year for Mississippi State, as it is for Ole Miss every year in terms of the rivalry,” Howland said. “I’ve been in rivalries before, and this one is very special. People here at Mississippi State care more about beating Ole Miss than they do about any other game of the year.”


Saturday, 1 p.m.

TV: SEC Network

Radio: 1490 AM (Ole Miss) and 105.5 FM (Mississippi State)

The skinny: Ole Miss has won five in a row in the series, but could be without three injured starters. Mississippi State is 0-5 in the SEC for the first time since 1986.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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