GREENVILLE, N.C. - Southern Miss closed the game on a 20-4 run over the final 12 minutes to cap off a 10-point comeback, defeating East Carolina, 60-46, Saturday night.
It is the 11th straight victory over East Carolina, which is the second longest over a Division I opponent in school history.
Daveon Boardingham was perfect on the day, scoring 15 points on 7-of-7 shooting and grabbing seven rebounds. Michael Craig recorded his sixth double-double of the year, scoring 12 points and pulling down 11 boards. Jerrold Brooks scored 11 points.
Neil Watson added 10 points, six rebounds and five steals. He was also 5-of-5 from the free throw line to push his consecutive free throws made streak to 44. He also moved into second place on the school's all-time assists list, passing Dante Stiggers, and moved into ninth-place on the all-time steals list.
Southern Miss (18-3, 5-1 C-USA) trailed, 30-23, at the start of the second half. A dunk by Boardingham and a three from Watson cut the deficit to two, but Akeem Richmond hit a three to push it back to five.
Boardingham and Watson then converted back-to-back three-point plays to give Southern Miss its first lead since 2-0. But, Richmond drained a three to give ECU (11-9, 0-5) the lead right back.
Matt Bingaya hit a jumper and a Craig dunk gave Southern Miss a two-point lead, but back-to-back three-pointers by Paris Roberts-Campbell and Richmond gave the Pirates a 42-38 lead with 13:25 to play.
That's when Southern Miss turned things up. Jeremiah Eason hit a layup and Boardingham tied the game with a dunk. After ECU regained the lead when Peter Torlak made one-of-two foul shots, Deonte Houston found Boardingham for the second straight possession, giving Southern Miss a 44-43 lead midway through the second half.
Eason then made one-of-two from the line, and Brooks hit a three and two foul shots. Craig then hit two straight baskets and Watson found Boardingham for an alley-oop, give Southern Miss a 56-43 lead with 2:22 to play.
Roberts-Campbell ended the drought for ECU, hitting a three-pointer to cut the lead to 10. But four straight free throws from Watson sealed the win for Southern Miss.
Michael Craig found Daveon Boardingham for a layup to start the game. However, ECU hit two straight three's as they went on an 8-0 run over the next 2:40. Matt Bingaya then hit Craig for a layup, but Akeem Richmond hit a three to make it 11-4.
After a Craig layup, the teams traded three-pointers, and Peter Torlak drained a three to give the Pirates a 17-9 lead. Bingaya then converted a three-point play and Jerrold Brooks made a layup to cut the deficit to 17-14 with 11:16 to play in the half.
After Prince Williams hit a jumper, Brooks drilled a three to cut the deficit to two points. East Carolina then pushed the lead back to seven.
Brooks hit one-of-two foul shots, but Caleb White made his second three-pointer of the game for a 27-18 lead. White then hit one-of-two free throws with just over four minutes to play to give East Carolina its largest lead of the game.
Southern Miss shot 43.1-percent (22-of-51) from the field and was just 4-of-16 (25.0% from three. ECU was just 16-of-50 (32.0%) from the floor and 12-of-34 (35.3%) from three. The Golden Eagles outrebounded East Carolina, 36-to-31, and outscored them in the paint, 34-to-2.
Akeem Richmond led all scorers with 18 points and White added 13.
Southern Miss opens a three-game homestand next Saturday, February 1, when it hosts longtime rival Tulane. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT.
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