Southern Miss Falls to LA Tech after Back-and-Forth Second Half
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech both combined to shoot 60 percent in the second half, but the visiting Bulldogs finished with a 79-55 win on New Year's Day in the Conference USA opener for each team.
"We got it within six, and weren't playing bad, but coming out of a timeout we weren't on the same page," head coach Doc Sadler said. "We had a chance to get it to 3 or 4 points. Every possession at this point is magnified 100 times, but you have to give our guys credit for getting within six (after trailing by 20)."
A 12-0 run over three minutes brought Southern Miss within 45-36, and after the Bulldogs snapped it on a layup, Quinton Campbell posted up and got one as well.
Campbell's three-pointer from the wing followed a deep Ramey connection that hit off the front rim and fell through. Southern Miss at that point got within 50-44, its smallest deficit since there were 6:39 left in the first half. LA Tech responded with nine straight points over the next 90 seconds that was broken by a Raheem Watts dunk at the 7:26 mark that cut the Bulldog lead to 59-46.
The Bulldogs had a pair of nine-point leads at the 4:03 and 1:08 spots of the first half, ultimately taking a 25-18 lead into the locker room despite being held to 23 percent shooting (8-for-35). They then scored the first 13 points of the second half.
Erik McCree's 10 points and 13 rebounds contributed to LA Tech's winning effort, and Jacobi Boykins and Derric Jean each had 18 points.
"We have to keep working at it, doing the same thing," Sadler said. "Hopefully you'll put together more good minutes like we did in the second half."
The Golden Eagles remain at home for a pair of weekend games, first facing UTSA at 7 p.m. on Thursday and again with UTEP on Saturday at 4 p.m.
-The two teams have played each other 73 times, the most of any Southern Miss opponent currently in C-USA.
-Southern Miss shot 53 percent in the second half of its last home game (Dec. 10 against Tulane) before shooting 57 percent in Sunday's final half.
-Quinton Campbell had a team and career-high seven field goals (ties Dec. 4 at Jackson State).
-Cortez Edwards had a career-high seven assists. He's had six or more three times this year.
-Bilal Abdur-Rahim finished with a career-high 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting. He is now 12-for-20 over the last three games and was 7-for-15 entering that stretch.
-It was Southern Miss' second home game since the start of December.