NORFOLK, Va. - Neil Watson scored a career-high 28 points and added four assists as Southern Miss ended the game on a 24-8 run to down Conference USA leader Old Dominion, 75-60, Thursday night.
Watson was 6-of-10 from the field, including 6-of-7 from three. He was also a perfect 10-of-10 from the line. Watson recorded his 1,000th career point, becoming the 36th player in school history with 1,000 points. He also became just the second player with 1,000 points, 400 assists, 250 rebounds and 100 steals. Watson has also connected on 39 consecutive free throws, setting a new school record. His six three's also tie him for fourth with 139 career.
Southern Miss (17-3, 4-1 C-USA) opened the second half with a three-point lead. Brooks hit two foul shots to push the lead to five, but Richard Ross scored five straight to tie the game at 37.
Watson again hit three free throws and a three-pointer. After Keenan Palmore hit a layup, Aaron Brown drained a three to push the lead to seven. But, ODU (9-10, 3-1) scored seven straight points to tie the game at 46 with 12:45 to play in the game.
After the teams traded baskets, Matt Bingaya connected on a three-point play. But two foul shots and a layup from Palmore gave the Monarchs a 52-51 lead with 9:26 left.
That's when the Golden Eagles took over. Watson hit a three, Craig made two free throws and Jeremiah Eason made a layup to take a 58-52 lead. Dimitri Batten made one-of-two foul shots, but Brooks drained a three-pointer.
After Bacote made one-of-two from the line, Boardingham made a jumper and Brooks drilled a three to push the lead to 12 with 4:57.
Jordan Baker made a three-pointer, but Watson made a pair of free throws. After Bacote made one-of-two from the lead, Boardingham made a jumper and Watson drilled another three, giving Southern Miss a 15-point lead and putting the game away.
Palmore got things going for Old Dominion before Watson hit a three-pointer to give Southern Miss the lead. Aaron Bacote came right back with a three of his own. Jerrold Brooks then went coast-to-coast to tie the game at five just 2:42 into the game.
Richard Ross then hit a jumper and Bacote drained a three to give ODU a 10-5 lead. Chip Armelin then hit a putback, but two straight three's from Bacote gave the Monarchs its largest lead, 16-7.
Bingaya hit a layup and Brooks drained a three. But, Bacote hit a pair of free throws and Ross hit a jumper to give Old Dominion a 20-12 lead nine minutes into the game.
But, Watson hit three foul shots followed by a trey to send the Golden Eagles on a 17-0 run over the next 4:20 to take a 27-20 lead with 6:39 to play in the first half.
ODU cut the deficit to two, but a jumper by Craig and a three-pointer from Watson pushed the lead back to seven. However, a 7-0 run, capped off by a three-pointer from Jordan Baker, tied the game at 32.
But, Craig drilled his first career three-pointer with three seconds left to send Southern Miss into halftime with a 35-32 lead.
Southern Miss was 23-of-52 (44.2%) from the field and a season-best 57.1-percent (12-of-21) from three. They also connected on 89.5-percent (17-of-19) from the line. Old Dominion was 41.7-percent (20-of-48) and 7-of-20 (35.0%). ODU also won the rebounding battle, 33-to-29.
Bacote led the Monarchs with 19 points. Ross had 11 points and nine rebounds and Palmore added 10 points.
Southern Miss closes its two-game road trip this Saturday, January 25, when it travels to Greenville, N.C., to face East Carolina. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT.
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