Breein Tyree wasn’t going to be denied Tuesday night. He scored the first eight points of the overtime period that saw Ole Miss salt away an 87-82 win over Mississippi State on the road to sweep the season series.
The freshman point guard scored 24 points on an efficient 9-15 shooting and played above the rim when Ole Miss needed it the most. Sebastian Saiz got back on track after a rocky stretch of games. He poured in 23 points to complement Tyree and also grabbed 10 rebounds. The Rebels were patient and got the ball to the Spaniard in the post and allowed the offense to run through him. Andy Kennedy said Saiz needed to return to his double-double production in order for Ole Miss to be successful, and he did just that in Starkville.
Ole Miss struggled in the first half shooting the basketball, which has been the story for this team for a lot of the year. It missed 17 consecutive shots at one point and shot just 24 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes. Luckily for Ole Miss, Mississippi State had similar struggles, and the Rebels were able to weather the storm. The team went 34-44 from the free throw line and needed every one of them down the stretch.
Ole Miss led by four with 10 seconds left. Mississippi State scored on a pair of I.J. Ready free throws and forced a jump ball on the inbounds pass. Ready then got a mismatch when Saiz switched to him on a screen. He took the ball to the rim and laid it up to force overtime.
But that’s when Tyree took over. He opened the overtime period with a contested three-point shot, then followed that up with a bucket in transition and a pair of free throws. He single-handedly gave the Rebels an eight-point lead, which was enough this time, as Ole Miss held on to improve to 17-11 (8-7) despite shooting just 37 percent from the field for the game and going 5-23 from the three-point line.
Ole Miss takes on Missouri in Oxford Saturday. Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m.