Jan. 9, 2010
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss dominated the second half, but Willie Kemp's two free throws with five seconds remaining gave Memphis a 59-57 victory Saturday night at Reed Green Coliseum.
The loss was the first for Southern Miss at home. They have now lost a season-long three straight games and five of the last six.
"We struggled in the first half, but I give our team a ton of credit for coming out and playing as good a half as we have played this year," said Southern Miss head coach Larry Eustachy. "I'm really proud of this team's effort. They know the mistakes that they made. They are awfully hurt right now, but you move on."
Southern Miss (9-6, 0-2 C-USA) trailed 41-26 at the half. But the Golden Eagles came storming back. Southern Miss scored 12 of the first 13 points to open the second half. Elliot Williams gave Memphis its first field goal of the half at the 8:18 mark to give the Tigers a 44-38 lead.
However, a jumper by Maurice Bolden and two Gary Flowers free throws pulled Southern Miss to within 44-42, its smallest deficit since trailing 6-4 in the first half.
Memphis twice went back out by four, but a three-pointer by Maurice Bolden, followed by a jumper by Gary Flowers gave Southern Miss its first lead of the game, 49-48, with 6:50 to play. The teams traded leads before Memphis grabbed a 56-53 lead. But a three-pointer by Buchi Awaji tied the game at 56, setting up the final seconds.
Southern Miss started out cold, hitting just two of its first 12 shots. With the score tied at six, Memphis hit two straight three's to take a 12-6 advantage. Maurice Bolden scored six of the next eight points to tie the game back up at 14, but Elliot Williams connected on three straight three's to give Memphis a 23-14 lead.
Southern Miss pulled to within five points with 7:50 to play. But the Tigers went on an 18-5 run to grab its biggest lead of the game at 41-23 with 1:16 to play in the half.
Maurice Bolden led Southern Miss with 13 points and five rebounds, while R.L. Horton scored 12 points. Gary Flowers and Andre Stephens led in rebounds with a game-high seven apiece.
Elliot Williams set a career-high with 33 points, including 25 in the first half. His eight three-pointers tied the record for most three's made by a Southern Miss opponent.
Southern Miss plays its final non-conference game when it hosts Cal-State Bakersfield on Tuesday, Jan. 12. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.