TULSA, Okla. - Southern Miss' comeback attempt fell short, as the Golden Eagles dropped its first conference game of the season, 75-71, at Tulsa Sunday afternoon.
Jerrold Brooks led the Golden Eagles with 15 points. Daveon Boardingham had 13 points and Neil Watson added 11 points, six rebounds and five assists. Michael Craig added 10 points and nine assists.
The Golden Eagles (14-3, 1-1 C-USA) trailed 32-28 at the half. The teams traded baskets to open the second half. After Aaron Brown hit a jumper to cut the deficit to two, Shaquille Harrison connected on a three-point play and D'Andre Wright made a layup to push Tulsa's lead to 39-32.
Jeremiah Eason made a jumper and Jerrold Brooks made a layup. After Lew Evans made a jumper, Boardingham followed with one of his own. However, Pat Swilling drained a three-pointer, sending the Golden Hurricane on a 10-0 run to take a 51-38 lead with 11:32 to play.
But, the Golden Eagles slowly started to come back. After Watson hit a three, D'Andre Wright a Michael Craig traded layups. Brooks then hit a three to cut the deficit to seven. Four straight possessions, though, after Southern Miss scored, it put Tulsa at the line, where they hit both shots.
With 5:03 remaining and TU holding a 61-54 lead, Lew Evans pushed the lead to nine. But, Watson came back with a three. After a dunk from Wright, Brooks hit a three and Boardingham made one-of-two foul shots to cut Tulsa's lead to 65-61.
After James Woodard made a layup, Watson was fouled on a three-point attempt and made all three free throws, bringing Southern Miss to within 67-64. But, Brooks immediately fouled Harrison, who made both free throw attempts.
Woodard was then sent to the line after Brooks' three-pointer was off the mark and made both to give TU a 71-64 lead with 49 seconds to play.
On Southern Miss' next possession, Watson found Deonte Houston, who hit his second three-pointer of the game. Wright then hit one-of-two free throws, and Boardingham hit a pair from the charity stripe to cut the lead to 72-69 with 27 seconds to play.
Southern Miss immediately fouled, and Woodard hit one-of-two from the line. Craig then got a putback layup with to cut the deficit to two with 11 seconds to play. But, the Golden Eagles sent Rashad Ray to the line, who hit both and sealed the game for Tulsa.
Woodard led all players with 18 points and eight rebounds. Swilling had 17 points, Ray had 10 and Wright added 10 points and nine rebounds.
Southern Miss shot 42.6-percent (23-of-54) from the floor, including 40.0-percent (8-of-20) from three. Tulsa connected on 22-of-53 (41.5%) from the field and 7-of-25 from three. Southern Miss also outrebounded Tulsa, 36-to-35.
Southern Miss opens its home conference schedule this Thursday, January 16, when it hosts Rice. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.
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