Feb. 14, 2007
GREENVILLE, N.C.- Southern Miss had a lone goal Wednesday night in its road game here at East Carolina. That was to clinch their first winning season since 2000-01.
The Golden Eagles (16-8 overall, 6-5 C-USA) did that in style by capturing an 80-42 triumph, their largest-ever margin of victory in a Conference USA game as well as tallying their largest win on an opponent's floor since beating Louisiana-Monroe by 45 points, 88-43, on Feb. 11, 1953.
"That was the best we have played since I have been here," said third-year coach Larry Eustachy, who recorded his 297th career victory over 16 seasons. "That's the reason for the lopsided victory. We made everything tonight and you just can't explain the outcome."
Southern Miss converted 56.4 percent of its shots (31-of-55) as they also notched 7-of-13 from 3-point range (53.8 percent) and also made 11-of-16 from the line (68.8 percent).
Freshman Jeremy Wise scored a game-high 18 points, all in the first half, to tie the school's freshmen record for points in a season with 404 points. The Jackson, Miss., native now has tied Tom Bishop for that honor, tallying that number during the 1949-50 campaign.
With the game tied at 7-7 over the first three and a half minutes, the Golden Eagles scored the next 16 points - six coming from Stephens and five from Wise - and they never looked back by taking a 47-22 advantage into halftime. The first-half point total was the most for Southern Miss this season.
Southern Miss extended the advantage to as much as 43, at 70-27 with 10:11 left, as the home squad could only close the gap to 34 points the rest of the way.
ECU (5-19, 0-11) lost for the 11 straight time and 18th setback in the last 19 contests as Courtney Captain led the way for the Pirates with 13 points and Darrell Jenkins had 12.
The Golden Eagles, who allowed a season-high 13 3-pointers in the first meeting in Hattiesburg, limited ECU to just two in 10 tries on this evening.
Southern Miss returns to action, Monday (Feb. 19), when they take on Houston. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Green Coliseum.
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