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Men's Basketball Bounces Back With 71-53 Victory Over Rice

Jan. 26, 2008

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Four players scored double-digits as Southern Miss (10-9, 2-3 C-USA) defeated Rice, 71-53, Saturday afternoon at Reed Green Coliseum. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Golden Eagles.

Rice (3-16, 0-6 C-USA) has lost nine straight games and 11 of its last 12.

Jeremy Wise and Sai'Quon Stone led Southern Miss with 17 points apiece. R. L. Horton added 17 points and Courtney Beasley chipped in 10. Craig Craft led the Golden Eagles on the boards, pulling down nine rebounds.

"We really needed this win," said Southern Miss head coach Larry Eustachy. "We talked about in pre-game that this Rice team will not go away. We're not shooting the ball well, but we're taking good shots. Overall we really competed. The game was contested until the very end. Our young guys hit some big shots today, and that's really encouraging. I'm just really proud of our guys."

After Rice opened the game with a quick bucket, Southern Miss scored the next five points, capped by an R.L. Horton three-point play. After trading baskets, the Owls went on an 11-0 run to take 15-7 lead ten minutes into the game.

Play went back and fourth for the next six minutes before the Golden Eagles closed the last four minutes on its own 11-0 run, capped by a Horton three-pointer to give the Golden Eagles a 28-25 advantage heading into the break. Rice shot 57.9 percent (11-of-19) for the half, while Southern Miss hit 37.5% (9-of-24).

The Golden Eagles came out in the second half and kept the pressure on. After the teams battle back and forth, Southern Miss went on a 10-1 run midway through the half. A three-point play by Wise capped the run and extended the lead to 48-38 with 9:53 to play.

The Owls scored the next five points to pull within five with 6:16 remaining. But, Southern Miss would allow them to get no closer, hitting 12-of-13 free throws in the final two minutes.

Rice played without leading scorer and rebounder Paulius Packevicius, who missed the game after injuring his knee in practice Friday.

Southern Miss was 20-of-45 (44.4%) from the floor, while Rice hit 46.8% (22-of-47). The Golden Eagles were also 29-of-38 (76.3%) from the line.

Southern Miss gets back to action next Wednesday. The Golden Eagles will travel to El Paso, Texas to take on UTEP, January 30 at 8:05 p.m. (CT) at the Don Haskins Center.

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