Jan. 23, 2010
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Five players scored in double-figures as Southern Miss earned its first conference victory, beating East Carolina, 68-53, Saturday afternoon at Reed Green Coliseum.
The victory also snapped a nine-game conference losing streak dating back to last year.
Gary Flowers, R.L. Horton and Torye Pelham all had 12 points for the Golden Eagles. Sai'Quon Stone and Buchi Awaji scored 10. Flowers added a game-high six rebounds, while Pelham pulled down five to go with his season-high in points.
"This team is not going to lie down," said Southern Miss head coach Larry Eustachy. "This is a high, high character team. I knew we would come out and play a good game against a good East Carolina ballclub. After the stretch that we had to start conference play, this was a game that we had to have. It was tough early on, but when we needed to step up and take charge, we did."
After East Carolina (6-13, 0-5 C-USA) scored six straight points to take its largest lead of the game at 40-34 with 12:54 to play in the game, Southern Miss (11-8, 1-4) scored the next seven points to take a 42-41 lead. The Pirates retook the lead on a DaQuan Joyner jumper, but it would be the last time they were in front.
Buchi Awaji connected on a three-pointer to catapult Southern Miss on a 13-0 run, capped off by an Angelo Johnson trey as time expired on the shot clock that gave the Black and Gold a 54-42 advantage with 5:30 to play.
A lay-up by Brock Young and a three-pointer from Jamar Abrams pulled ECU back to within seven points with 4:33 left, but Southern Miss went on an 18-1 run over the next 3:34 for its largest lead of the game at 66-48.
The game began as a back-and-forth affair, with neither team leading by more than four points in the first half. With Southern Miss ahead 10-9, Greyson Sargent connected on a three, followed by a jumper from Corvonn Gaines to give ECU a 14-10 advantage 7:36 into the game.
The Golden Eagles tied it twice more, with each time the Pirates retaking the lead. East Carolina held four-point leads three times in the last five minute. However, with ECU ahead 26-22 with 2:30 to play, Torye Pelham pulled Southern Miss even, followed by a Horton dunk to give the Eagles a 28-26 halftime lead.
Abrams led East Carolina with 18 points, Corvonn Gaines added nine and Chad Wynn added eight.
Southern Miss shot 48.1-percent from the floor, despite hitting just 2-of-12 three-pointers. The Golden Eagles dominated the boards, outrebounding ECU, 34-21. The Black and Gold also got 24 second chance points to just six for the Pirates.
There were also seven ties and 14 lead changes in the game.
Southern Miss gets a week off before returning to court next Saturday, Jan. 30, when they travel to New Orleans, La. to face Tulane. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.
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