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Southern Miss Rallies for 81-78 Overtime Victory Over Rice

Jan. 12, 2011

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HOUSTON - Southern Miss outscored Rice 11-1 in the final 2:43 of overtime to rally for an 81-78 victory over the Owls, Wednesday night at Tudor Fieldhouse.

With the victory, Southern Miss improves to 13-3 overall and 2-1 in Conference USA. Rice falls to 8-9 overall, 0-3 in league play.

Senior Gary Flowers led the Golden Eagles with game-highs of 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists. With his 24 point output, the Dallas, Texas native takes over the Conference USA scoring lead at 21.4 points per game. Flowers has now scored at least 20 points in four straight games and five of the last six.

Sophomore LaShay Page scored 15 points, including connecting on three three-pointers, and added three assists. Senior R.L. Horton and freshman D.J. Newbill contributed 11 points apiece. Senior Josimar Ayarza added eight points and seven rebounds.

"The story of the game was that our team was able to overcome the disappointment and letdowns during the game," said head coach Larry Eustachy. "To come back showed unbelievable character. You can name any player on this team and they were the reason why we won. It was a great game and a great win. I'm ecstatic that we were able to pull this one out on the road and I'm extremely proud of these guys."

The game was tied at 68 heading into overtime. Arsalan Kazemi gave Rice the lead on a dunk, and Ayarza tied the game with a jumper from the right corner. Tamir Jackson then hit a three-pointer and connected on four straight free throws to give the Owls a 77-70 lead with 2:58 to play.

However, Southern Miss stepped up its play. Page got things going with a trey from the top of the key. Two free throws by Flowers pulled the Eagles within two points. A Connor Frizzelle free throw extended Rice's lead to three, but a Flowers layup made it 78-77.

On the ensuing possession, Sai'Quon Stone stepped in front of a Jackson pass and converted the go-ahead layup. Flowers capped off the rally with two free throws with just seconds remaining.

Southern Miss trailed 34-25 at the half. Rice extended its lead to 43-30 in the first 3:34 of the second half. The Black and Gold then began to slowly chip away at the lead. USM went on a 9-2 run over the next 2:45, capped off by a Flowers three-pointer.

The teams went back and forth trading baskets. Horton scored seven straight points for the Eagles, helping them pull to within three points with 5:48 to play in regulation. After a Frizzelle layup pushed the Owls' lead back to five, Southern Miss scored six straight points, with Newbill's jumper with 2:46 to play giving Southern Miss its first lead since late in the first half.

A Kazemi free throw tied the game, but Page connected on a trey to give Southern Miss a three-point lead with 1:47 7o play. After trading layups, Frizzelle hit a three with 18 seconds to play to send the game into overtime.

Southern Miss shot 46.0-percent (29-63) from the field, including 55.6% in the second half and overtime. Rice shot 47.3-percet (26-55) and was 10-of-20 from behind the arc. The Golden Eagles outrebounded Rice, 36-33.

Frizzelle led the Owls with 21 points. Jackson scored 19 points and had five assists. Lucas Kuipers added 13 points, and Kazemi contributed 10 points and seven rebounds.

Southern Miss returns to Reed Green Coliseum for a two-game homestand this Saturday, January 15, when it hosts 22nd-ranked UCF. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. CT.

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