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Southern Miss Holds Off East Carolina for 69-59 Victory

Feb. 17, 2009

Box Score

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss placed four players in double-figures, as the Golden Eagles held off a second half rally to defeat East Carolina, 69-59, Tuesday night at Reed Green Coliseum.

With the win, the Eagles (14-11, 4-7 C-USA) snapped a five-game losing streak, and evened the season-series. They have now defeated ECU five of the last six meetings.

"This was a huge game for us," said head coach Larry Eustachy. "I'm really proud of our guys. I thought we were ready to play tonight. We really came out and played with a lot of energy. (East Carolina) came back, and normally that's when we cave. But, we sucked it up, and were able to come out with a win."

R.L. Horton led all scorers with 20 points, including 15 in the first half. Jeremy Wise and Craig Craft both had doubles. Wise had 17 points and a season-high 10 assists for his first double-double of the season and second of his career. Craft recorded his fourth of the season and fifth of his career, scoring 11 points and 12 rebounds. Courtney Beasley added 13 points for the Golden Eagles.

Southern Miss led 40-25 at the half, but the Pirates opened (13-12, 5-7) the second half on a 17-7 run over the first 7:05, cutting the lead to 47-42. The Golden Eagles twice extended the lead to seven. However, a James Legan three-pointer, followed by a Darius Morrow jumper and Jamar Abrams free throw, pulled ECU to within 53-50 with 8:28 remaining in the game.

But, a Wise three-point play sent the Golden Eagles on a 16-3 run over the next 7:11 to put the game away.

Southern Miss began the game on an 11-0 run over the first 5:15, capped off by an R.L. Horton three-pointer from 25-feet with one second left on the shot clock. ECU missed its first six shots before Sam Hinnant connected on a trey 24 seconds later.

With Southern Miss holding a 22-10 lead, Horton hit his second three-pointer to give the Golden Eagles a 25-10 advantage. However, East Carolina went on a 12-2 run, cutting the deficit to five (27-22) with 4:17 remaining in the first half.

However, Southern Miss closed the half on a 13-3 run to lead by 15 at the break. It was the first time in nine games that the Eagles led at halftime.

East Carolina had four players in double-figures, led by James Legan and Sam Hinnant with 12 points apiece. Jamar Abrams scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds, and Chad Wynn added 10 points and a team-high seven boards. Brock Young contributed nine points and seven assists.

The Eagles shot 50.0-percent (26-of-52) for the game, while holding the Pirates to 42.9-percent (21-of-49). They also had a season-high 17 assists outscored ECU 24-20 in the paint.

Southern Miss goes on the road this Saturday, Feb. 21. The Golden Eagles travel to Birmingham, Ala. to face UAB in a nationally-televised game on CBS College Sports. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. CT.

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