Jan. 21, 2012
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- Neil Watson's
three-pointer with 18 seconds left sealed the victory, as Southern Miss handed Marshall its first conference loss, 67-63, Saturday night at Reed Green Coliseum.
With the victory, Southern Miss improves to 17-3 on the year and 4-1 in Conference USA. The 17-3 start is the best start since 1990-91 and the fourth-best in school history. The Thundering Herd fell to 13-6 and 4-1.
Watson led the Golden Eagles with 18 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals. LaShay Page scored 15 points, all in the first half, and pulled down three rebounds. Maurice Bolden scored eight points, all on free throws, and Jonathan Mills added a team-high six rebounds.
"I don't think we win this game without the fans, so I want to give them a big thank you" said head coach Larry Eustachy. "There is such a fine line when you have two teams like this playing each other. We've been on the other end of games like this so much in past years. It's a heck of a win for us. Our guys found a way to pull through, but there's a lot of work ahead of us."
USM, who led by as many as 16 in the first half, led, 42-30, at halftime. Southern Miss was held without a field goal in the first seven minutes of the second half, connecting on just three free throws. During that time, Marshall cut the led to six, 45-39.
Southern Miss finally hit a basket when Darnell Dodson hit Cedric Jenkins down the middle for an uncontested lay-up. The Thundering Herd brought it back to a six-point game on a pair of free throws, but a jumper by Mills followed by a lay-up by Angelo Johnson after a steal brought it back to a double-digit lead.
The Black and Gold twice pushed the lead to 11 points midway through the second half, capped off by a trey by Watson. But Marshall scored the next six points to make it a 56-51 game with 6:32 to play.
Two free throws by Watson made it a seven-point game, but DeAndre Kane, immediately connected on a three-point play to cut the deficit to four points. Two more free throws by Bolden pushed the lead back to six, when neither team scored for the next 2:45 before Johnson hit a jumper to make it a 62-54 game.
However, Marshall scored nine of the next 11 points on three consecutive three-pointers to pull within one point at 64-63 with 47 seconds to play. But that's when Watson stepped up and hit his trey as time was winding down on the shot clock, securing the victory.
Kane was the only Marshall play in double-figures, scoring a game-high 21 points. Nigel Spikes pulled down 12 rebounds and Dennis Tinnon added nine points and eight rebounds.
Southern Miss shot 41.2-percent (21-of-51) from the floor and were just 5-of-15 (33.3%) from three-point range. However, the Golden Eagles held Marshall to just 39.0 percent (23-of-59) from the field and 33.3% (6-of-18) from three. The Thundering Herd won the rebounding battle as USM allowed a season-high 43 rebounds while pulling down 34.
Southern Miss begins a two-game road trip next Wednesday, January 25, at East Carolina. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. CT.