Ole Miss advances in the NIT

Published 9:08 am Wednesday, March 15, 2017

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. (AP) — Nothing seemed to come easy for Ole Miss this season. It’s a trend that has continued into the postseason.

Sebastian Saiz had his school-record 21st double-double of the season, Deandre Burnett scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half, and Ole Miss beat Monmouth 91-83 on Tuesday night in the first round of the NIT.

The Rebels surged ahead in the last few minutes after trailing by three at halftime and being in a close game all night. Ole Miss had an 11-point lead with 19 seconds left that was the biggest for either team at any point in the game.

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Saiz finished with 23 points, on 6-of-9 shooting, and 11 rebounds while Burnett hit four 3-pointers. Ole Miss was 9-for-20 as a team from 3-point range.

Cullen Neal, Breein Tyree and Terence Davis scored 11 points apiece for Ole Miss (21-13), the fifth seed in its bracket. The Rebels will face top-seeded Syracuse or No. 8 seed UNC Greensboro in the second round.
Syracuse and UNC Greensboro play Wednesday night. That game was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but was pushed back a day because of a snowstorm that pummeled the Northeast.

Diago Quinn scored six points and Je’lon Hornbeak hit a 3-pointer during an 11-0 run that gave Monmouth (27-7) a 67-64 lead on Quinn’s dunk with 9:06 to play. The Rebels answered with a 12-3 spurt to take the lead for good as the Hawks went the next 4:29 without a basket.

Justin Robinson hit a 3 to end Monmouth’s drought and trim its deficit to 76-73, but Davis made a layup and then hit a 3 and it was at least a two-possession game the rest of the way.

Robinson had 23 points, including seven of the Hawks’ season-high 16 3-pointers, and seven assists. He is Monmouth’s Division I leader with 2,003 career points, which is second in school history.
Hornbeak hit six 3-pointers and finished with 18 points. Austin Tilghman scored 10 points.

The Hawks lost their last two games in a row after winning 17 straight. They won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular-season championship, then lost in the league tournament and to Ole Miss to finish the season.

Monmouth lost at home for just the fourth time in the past two seasons. Overall, it has won 55 games and two regular-season conference championsips in that same span.

“It’s hard to be down when you realize what we’ve done in our careers. It hurts but it’s hard to be down about it,” Robinson said.

First Round
March 14
Illinois 82, Valparaiso 57
Ole Miss 91, Monmouth 83
Oakland 74, Clemson 69
Georgia Tech 75, Indiana 63
Colorado St. 81, College of Charleston 74
Richmond 71, Alabama 64
Boise St. 73, Utah 68
Cal State Bakersfield 73, California 66
March 15
UNC-Greensboro at Syracuse, 6 p.m.
Belmont at Georgia, 6 p.m.
Colorado at Central Florida, 6 p.m.
Akron at Houston, 6:30 p.m.
Fresno St. at TCU, 7 p.m.
South Dakota at Iowa, 8 p.m.
UC Irvine at Illinois St., 8:30 p.m.
Texas-Arlington at BYU, 10 p.m.
Second Round
Dates and times TBA
UNC-Greensboro-Syracuse winner vs. Ole Miss
Georgia Tech vs. Belmont-Georgia winner
CS Bakersfield vs. Colorado St.
Texas-Arlington-BYU winner vs. Akron-Houston winner
UC Irvine-Illinois State winner vs. Colorado-UCF winner
Boise St. vs. Illinois
South Dakota-Iowa winner vs. Fresno St.-TCU winner
Richmond vs. Oakland