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Southern Miss Starts Strong before Falling to No. 8 Memphis, 72-47

R.L. Horton goes airborne in front of Memphis guard Antonio Anderson for a layup in the first half. (AP Photo/Steve Coleman)

R.L. Horton goes airborne in front of Memphis guard Antonio Anderson for a layup in the first half. (AP Photo/Steve Coleman)

Feb. 14, 2009

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss battled eighth-ranked Memphis before succumbing to the Tigers full-court defense, falling 72-47, Saturday afternoon at Reed Green Coliseum.

Southern Miss (13-11, 3-7 C-USA) has now dropped its last five games, and 11 consecutive to the Tigers. Memphis (22-3, 10-0) extended its 43-straight Conference USA games and 42-straight against C-USA overall.

Jeremy Wise led the Golden Eagles with 15 points and six assists. Courtney Beasley had 12 points and a team-high six rebounds. Craig Craft added 10 points and five boards.

Beasley opened the second half hitting two straight lay-ups to give Southern Miss a 32-31 lead, its first since leading 2-0 in the first half. The teams battled back-and-forth, trading baskets. With Memphis holding on to a 35-34 lead 3:14 into the half, Tyreke Evans connected on two straight three-pointers, sending UM on 17-3 run over the next five minutes.

The Golden Eagles were never able to recover, getting no closer than 13 points the rest of the way as they were held scoreless for the final 5:09.

Southern Miss scored first on a Craft putback to open the game. But Memphis went on an 11-0 run, as the Golden Eagles missed their next seven shots. After the teams traded baskets, Craft hit a three-pointer to spark a 9-0 Southern Miss run that tied the game at 13 at the 9:25 mark.

Twice, Memphis took the lead only to have the Golden Eagles tie the game. But with the game tied at 17 with 7:43 to play in the half, the Tigers went on a 10-3 run to take a 27-20 lead over the next 3:10, bookended by consecutive Roburt Sallie three-pointers.

The Golden Eagles scored eight of the next 10 points, twice pulling within one-point. But Antonio Anderson went the length of the court with four second left in the half, hitting a running jumper to give Memphis a 31-28 lead at the break.

The Tigers had five players in double-figures, led by Evans with 19 points and six rebounds. Anderson and Robert Dozier (six rebounds) each scored 12, while Sallie added 11. Doneal Mack contributed 10 points. Shawn Taggert had a game-high 11 rebounds to go with eight points.

Memphis added 21 points off 12 Southern Miss turnovers, while the Golden Eagles scored just six points off nine UM turnovers.

Southern Miss ends a two-game homestand this Tuesday, Feb. 17 when the Golden Eagles host East Carolina. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT.

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