Jan. 29, 2011
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss used a 16-1 second half run to break open a close game and defeat Tulane, 67-54, Saturday afternoon at Reed Green Coliseum.
With the victory, Southern Miss improves to 16-5, 5-3 in Conference USA. It is just the second time since the inception of Conference USA that the Golden Eagles had a winning record at the midway point of conference play. They also started the 2000-01 conference season 6-2.
Senior forward Gary Flowers recorded his fourth double-double of the year, scoring 15 points and grabbing 13 rebounds to tie for the team lead. Senior R.L. Horton scored 12 points, and junior Maurice Bolden had 11 points and six rebounds.
"That was the best defensive effort we have had all league play," said head coach Larry Eustachy. "(Tulane) hit their shots early, but we were putting a lot of pressure on them. Once they started missing their shots, we used our defense to generate the offense. I just thought that overall, we had a very well-played game."
The Black and Gold entered the second half with a 34-22 lead. The pushed their lead to 40-24 through the first 3:48 of the half. However, Tulane connected on four three-pointers, including a pair by Jordan Callahan, to go on a 16-5 run and pull within 45-50 with 10:24 to play.
But a three-point play by Flowers sent the Golden Eagles on a 16-1 run to break the game open, as they took their biggest lead of the game, 61-41, with just 2:42 remaining.
The teams traded baskets to open the game. Tulane connected on seven of its first 11 baskets of the game, but only led 17-16 with 10:09 to play in the first half.
That's when Southern Miss took over. The Golden Eagles scored 12 straight points, including two straight treys by Flowers and Bolden, as they closed the half on an 18-5 run to lead 34-22 at the break.
Jordan Callahan led all scorers with 20 points for Tulane, while pulling down six rebounds. Kendal Timmons added 18 points and six boards for the Green Wave.
Southern Miss who came into the game allowing its opponents to hit 52.9-percent in league play, held Tulane to just 37.7-percent (20-of-53) from the field, while connecting on 21-of-49 (42.9%). USM connected on 21-of-27 (77.8%) free throws while the Green Wave was just 4-of-10 (40.0-percent). Southern Miss also won the rebounding edge, 42-to-29.
Southern Miss goes back on the road this Wednesday, Feb. 2, when it travels to Birmingham, Ala., to take on UAB. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT.