Jan. 6, 2007
SAVANNAH, Ga. -
Chris Linton hit a game-winning jumper with nine seconds remaining to lift Savannah State to a 54-52 non-conference basketball victory over Southern Miss here Saturday afternoon at Tiger Arena.
SSU, who had lost 13 of the last 14 games heading into the contest, improved to 7-13 as they snapped a current three-game skid. The Golden Eagles, who had defeated Auburn on a last-second shot in Hattiesburg earlier in the week, fell to 10-3 as they dropped their 15th regular-season game away from home.
Joshua Obiajunwa led the Tigers with 17 points, while Joseph Flegler added 11 and Lazarius Coleman tallied 10.
The Golden Eagles got a team-high 16 points from Jeremy Wise.
"They had an answer (for everything we did in the second half)," said third-year Southern Miss coach Larry Eustachy, "We are young and inexperienced, and don't execute at times in practice under these fatiguing conditions. So we don't execute all the time here (in games)."
Southern Miss led by as many as six points in the final half, 45-39, after a Jarvis Hill 3-pointer with 8:40 left, but the home squad scored the next seven points and led by one with 5:47 left.
Later, with the scored tied at 47-all, Wise tallied a 3-pointer with 2:51 left, but Obiajunwa scored the game's next five points and gave the Tigers a 52-50 advantage with 1:44 to play. The game saw nine ties and eight lead changes.
Craig Craft, who ended with four points, then tied the game with a jumper with 24 seconds remaining at 52-52, but his 3-point attempt, as time expired, was off the mark. Southern Miss' Wise, who was one of three Golden Eagles in foul trouble along with Sai'Quon Stone and DeWayne Greem, was not in the game after fouling out with 1:36 to play.
"We got outplayed," said third-year coach Larry Eustachy. "That team wanted to win this game more than we wanted to win this game."
The Golden Eagles had to play catch up in the second half, after trailing for much of the first 20 minutes and were down six, 27-21, at the intermission. The Golden Eagles shot just 27.3 percent (6-of-22) during the first period and were 9-of-19 at the free throw line in the opening half (52.9 percent).
Those numbers bettered in the second half, as they tallied a 44 percent shooting percentage (11-of-25) from the floor over the final 20 minutes and made 6-of-7 from the line (85.7 percent).
Still, the Golden Eagles turned the ball over 12 times that led to 15 SSU points. It was also the 12th time in 13 games that Southern Miss had won the battle of the boards, 34-21.
SSU finished the contest hitting 51.4 percent of its shots (18-of-35) and 61.5 percent at the line (16-of-26).
The Golden Eagles continue their two-game road swing Wednesday (Jan. 10) at SMU in the team's Conference USA opener. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Moody Coliseum on the Mustang campus.