Jan. 7, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - Southern Miss connected on 9-of-10 free throws in overtime as they defeated Tulane, 71-66, Saturday afternoon at Fogelman Arena.
Southern Miss improves to 15-2, 2-0 in Conference USA. It is their 11th straight victory, the longest winning streak since 1987-88. It also ties the third longest winning streak in school history.
The Golden Eagles were led by Neil Watson with 16 points and five assists. Maurice Bolden scored 15 points and Torye Pelham had 11 points. LaShay Page, despite being held scoreless for the first time this year, grabbed a game and career-high eight rebounds.
"I thought our fans that came down made a big difference," said head coach Larry Eustachy. "It was a great win. We overcame a lot of obstacles. The fact that we were able to rally in overtime and play the type of basketball that we are capable of playing was big. We knew that (Tulane) mirrored the way that we play. But at the end, we got the stops that we needed to get."
Both teams started overtime missing shots. After a defensive rebound by Jonathan Mills, Angelo Johnson drove to the basket before getting fouled, knocking down both free throws. Following a turnover by Trent Rogers, Mills grabbed an offensive rebound off a Watson missed and was fouled on the put back attempt, hitting the first of two shots.
On the ensuing possession, Ricky Tarrant was fouled by Page and hit both free throws, cutting the lead to one. Watson was then fouled and hit both free throws.
Following a stop, Watson nailed a jumper to give Southern Miss a 67-62 lead. After a lay-up by Tarrant, Pelham was fouled and hit both shots with 29 second to play. Drye made it a three-point game on a dunk, but Bolden finished the scoring with a pair of free throws.
USM led 52-41 with 10:38 to play in the second half after a lay-up by Mills. However, the Golden Eagles went cold. Ricky Tarrant connected on a three-point play.
The game was scoreless for the next two minutes before Josh Davis hit a lay-up. Thirty seconds later, Ricky Tarrant hit a pair of free throws to make it a four-point game. Mills hit the front end of a one-and-one and missed the second. But Pelham grabbed the rebound and slammed it home to push the lead back to seven points with 5:20 to play.
A minute and a half later, with USM still ahead by seven, 60-53, Jordan Callahan nailed Tulane's second straight three-pointer, and then hit a jumper to make it 60-58. Following a turnover by Watson, Tre Drye tipped in Callahan's missed jumper to tie the game at 60 and send it into overtime.
Callahan led all scorers with 17 points. Tarrant had 16 and Timmons added 13 in just 18 minutes before getting hurt late in the first half.
Southern Miss was just 36.8-percent (21-of-57) from the floor and from three-point range (7-of-19). But the Eagles made up for it from the charity stripe, where they were 22-of-28 (78.6%). Tulane connected on 42.6-percent (20-of-47) from the field and 6-of-15 (40.0%) from three. Each team had 35 rebounds.
Southern Miss closes its two-game road trip next Wednesday, January 11, when it faces Memphis. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. CT and will be televised on CSS.