After three nail-biters to start the season, the Ole Miss basketball team made it a little bit easier on their fans on Sunday.
And now, the Rebels will play for a championship.
Ole Miss topped Saint Joseph’s 81-68 on Sunday in the semifinals at the Paradise Jam on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Rebels (4-0) – who also have a three-point win, a two-point win, and an overtime win – were paced by Sebastian Saiz’s career-high 26 points.
Coach Phil Martelli’s Saint Joseph’s (3-1) team was paced by Shavar Newkirk, who had 21 points.
The Rebels have found time for some fun down on the island, as well.
— Ole Miss Basketball (@OleMissMBB) November 20, 2016
Player of the game: Sebastian Saiz
Senior forward Sebastian Saiz had a career-high effort on the score sheet, scoring 26 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in 33 minutes.
Stat line of the game: Creating chances
The Rebels dominated the Hawks in hustle points, creating more opportunities to score through effort.
Ole Miss outscored Saint Joseph’s 17-5 in points off turnovers after the Rebels forced 13 turnovers.
In addition, Ole Miss had 17 second-chance points off 13 offensive rebounds, compared to seven points off seven offensive rebounds for the Hawks.
Turning point: Just after halftime
Kennedy might consider bottling up the halftime speech from Sunday night, as his Rebels responded strongly.
After taking a 41-37 lead into the locker room after Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey’s tip-in before the first-half buzzer, Ole Miss carried the momentum into the second half.
The Rebels came out strong after halftime, as a 12-5 run gave them a 53-42 lead.
— SJU Hawks MBB (@SJUHawks_MBB) November 21, 2016
What’s next for Ole Miss basketball
The Rebels will continue to Monday’s final day in the Paradise Jam, playing in the finals at 8:30 p.m. ET.
There, Ole Miss will meet the winner of Sunday night’s game between No. 22 Creighton and North Carolina State.
The finals will be carried on CBSSN.
Ole Miss will attempt to keep the Paradise Jam championship in the SEC, after South Carolina won it last year.
They could also join Arkansas (2004) and Alabama (2006) at SEC champions in the 17-year-old event.
Ole Miss vs. Saint Joseph’s box score