GREENVILLE, N.C. - Courtney Beasley scored a game-high 17 points, and Jeremy Wise recorded his first career double-double, as Southern Miss picked up its first road win of the season, defeating East Carolina, 72-62, Saturday night at Minges Coliseum.
The victory snapped a ten-game road losing streak, dating back to last season. It was also the first victory this year when trailing at the half.
"This is the most satisfying win since I've been here," said Southern Miss head coach Larry Eustachy. "We've been through a lot, and this was a really tough week. They had us on the ropes, but we hung in there. Jeremy (Wise) made some defensive plays that he's never made before. This was just a great win overall."
The teams traded baskets through the first nine minutes of the game. With the Golden Eagles up 13-10 9:35 into the game, ECU went on a 16-6 run over the next four minutes to grab its largest lead of the game, 26-19.
However, Beasley's jumper with 5:23 left in the first half triggered a 13-3 Southern Miss run, giving the Golden Eagles a 32-29 advantage with 2:54 to play. But, the Pirates outscored Southern Miss 7-0 the rest of the half, capped off by Sam Hinnant's three-pointer, giving ECU a 36-32 advantage heading into the break.
East Carolina shot 52.2% (12-23) from the field in the first half, including 7-12 (58.3%) from behind the arc. Southern Miss countered, shooting 45.8% (11-24) from the field.
Gabe Blair opened the second half hitting a jumper to give ECU a six-point lead. But that's when things changed. The Golden Eagles began to battle back, slowly chipping away at the deficit. Beasley hit back-to-back jumpers to pull within two.
After a three-pointer by Cory Farmer extended East Carolina's lead to five, a Gjio Bain dunk sent the Golden Eagles on a 20-5 run, capped by Bain's jumper at 7:11 of the second half that gave Southern Miss the lead for good.
Jamar Abrams hit a lay-up to pull ECU within 59-51 with 8:12 to play in the game. But the Golden Eagle defense held East Carolina without a field goal until one second remaining in the half.
For the half, Southern Miss held the Pirates to just four field goals, as they shot 16.0% (4-25) in the second half. The Golden Eagles, however, shot 14-28 (50.0%) from the floor for the half.
For the game, Southern Miss shot 48.1% (25-52), while holding East Carolina to 33.3% (16-48) shooting.
Darrell Jenkins led East Carolina with 13 points. James Legan added ten, and Gabe Blair had a game-high ten rebounds.
Southern Miss returns to Hattiesburg on Wednesday, February 20. The Golden Eagles will host the SMU Mustangs at 7:00 p.m. (CT) at Reed Green Coliseum.
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