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Spain's Saiz helps Ole Miss in March Madness comeback
DAYTON (NCAA/2015 FIBA U19 World Championship) - It hasn't taken long for a rising star in international basketball to get a taste of March Madness in 2015.
On Tuesday, the very first night of action, Spain's Sebastian Saiz and the Ole Miss Rebels stormed back from a 17-point deficit to stun Brigham Young University in Dayton, Ohio, 94-90.
Madrid native Saiz had 10 points, nine boards and three blocks in the First Four triumph that has put Ole Miss into the field of 64 and a second-round clash with Xavier on Thursday in Jacksonville.
Saiz, a sophomore forward, played for Spain at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship in Prague and helped the team to a fifth-place finish, averaging 9.6 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.
He also featured for the Spaniards at the last two U20 European Championships for Men, including in 2013 in Estonia while wearing the No. 15 jersey.
After last year's U20 European Championship in Greece, where he had 13 points and 12 rebounds in Spain's 63-61 triumph over Croatia in the Semi-Final, the 2.06m Saiz returned to the United States for his second year.
He was very enthusiastic about his game, and the chances of Ole Miss to make some headlines.
Saiz and Ole Miss very nearly upset No. 1 Kentucky in January, losing that clash in overtime.
The Spaniard had three blocks to go with his six points and seven rebounds but fouled out of the contest.
Kentucky, the favorites to go all the way in this year's NCAA Tournament, then scraped an 89-86 triumph in overtime.
Now he's experiencing first-hand what NCAA March Madness is all about.
In Tuesday's other First Four game, Hampton (17-17) defeated Manhattan, 74-64.
Their season is likely to end on Thursday, when they travel to Louisville to face Kentucky, who have won all 34 of their games.