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Second Half Run Propels Southern Miss to 84-79 Victory over Marshall

Jan. 27, 2009

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Courtney Beasley scored nine of his season-high 24 points in a big Southern Miss run to start the second half as the Golden Eagles rallied for a 84-79 Conference USA victory over Marshall Tuesday night at Reed Green Coliseum.

The Golden Eagles (13-6, 3-2 C-USA) won for the fourth time in the last five games, while MU (9-11, 2-4) lost for the second-straight time.

"That was as gutsy a win as we've had this year," said head coach Larry Eustachy. "We got into foul trouble, and (Courtney) Beasley had to sit for most of the first half. But, that allowed (Bryson) Brewer and Gustavo (Lino) to get some minutes. We didn't have an answer for them defensively in the first half, so we switched to a zone in the second, and that allowed us to do more. But overall, it was a great win."

Beasley was one of five Golden Eagles in double figures as Craig Craft added 16 points, and R.L. Horton 14. Jeremy Wise and Andre Stephens poured in 12 each. Stephens added a game-high 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the year and third of his career.

Damier Pitts paced the visiting Herd with 18 points, while Shaquille Johnson tallied 16, Chris Lutz 14 and Tyler Wilkerson 10.

The Golden Eagles were down six after halftime. Then, Eustachy was assessed a technical to start the second half which led to two free throws followed by a Wilkerson jumper with 19:24 remaining to give MU its largest advantage of 10 points at 51-41.

Southern Miss then went on an 18-2 run over the next six-plus minutes and the home squad did not trail for the remainder of the contest.

MU hit 9 of its first 11 shots to start the game, but the Golden Eagles took advantage of 10 Herd turnovers and hit four 3-pointers to keep the contest close over the first 20 minutes that saw 12 ties and 13 lead changes.

The game was knotted at 41-41 in the last minutes, before Lutz closed out the half for MU on a pair of 3-pointers in the final 37 seconds - one as time expired - to take a 47-41 advantage into intermission.

The Herd ended the opening half by hitting 69.2-percent of its shots from the floor on 18-of-26 shooting. However, Southern Miss held them to just 32.1-percent in the second half, finishing at 50-percent for the contest (27-of-54).

Marshall could not overcome 14 turnovers in the game that led to 20 Southern Miss points in the contest.

Southern Miss also converted 72.2-percent of its free throws including 17-of-23 in the second half and 4-of-7, two coming from Horton with 19 seconds left, over the final two minutes.

The Golden Eagles begin a two-game road swing this Saturday when they travel to UTEP in an 8 p.m., CT contest. Marshall returns home for a 7 p.m., ET game against UAB.

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