By Parrish Alford and Logan Lowery
OXFORD – Beating the rival is always sweet, but victory came with a cost for Ole Miss.
Sophomore guard Martavious Newby suffered a broken hand. He’ll have surgery Monday, and he’s out indefinitely.
Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy called it a “major blow” for the Rebels moving forward to a road game at Tennessee on Wednesday.
“We have nobody on our team now that can fulfill (Newby’s) role,” he said.
Newby’s defense was instrumental in the Rebels’ rapid rally from 10 points back at South Carolina.
“Martavious Newby came in and changed the entire flow of the game in the second half by having three steals and keeping two balls alive that led to baskets that got us back in it. That’s the energy that he brings, the toughness on the ball that he brings,” Kennedy said.
Saturday’s game saw the return of Mississippi State freshman point guard I.J. Ready. He had missed the previous two games after suffering a concussion against Alabama on Jan. 15.
Ready tied for the team lead with 13 points with three 3-pointers, two assists and no turnovers in 17 minutes off the bench.
“I’d been in the gym shooting ever since I’ve been out,” Ready said. “I don’t like losing and I was trying to do whatever it takes to help my team win.”
The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder from Little Rock, Ark., has missed six games this season due to injury.
Freshman Sebastian Saiz scored only six points but may have taken another step in his development.
Saiz had 11 rebounds, six on the offensive end, and three blocked shots.
Kennedy cited his improved physicality on the low post.
“I thought (he) was physical. That’s something that freshmen typically aren’t especially against big bodies inside,” he said. “Gavin Ware’s a big kid, and when he gets low-post position he’s a man. I thought Sebas did a really good job of not only getting 11 rebounds and three blocked shots, but I thought he was a physical presence for us at the basket.”
Ware had nine points and three rebounds.
“I was not trying to send a message. I was trying to win. I can lose by 15 with subs or by 15 with guys starting. What’s the difference?” – MSU coach Rick Ray on his lineup change in the second half.