Feb. 19, 2011
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Senior forward Gary Flowers recorded his sixth double-double of the year, scoring a career-high 32 points with 11 rebounds to lead the Golden Eagles past East Carolina, 72-55, Saturday afternoon at Reed Green Coliseum.
The Golden Eagles have now won six of their last seven games. They improve to 20-6, and 9-4 in Conference USA. East Carolina falls to 13-13, and 5-7 in league play.
With the victory, Southern Miss head coach Larry Eustachy joins Lee Floyd and M.K. Turk and the only Golden Eagles head coaches with three-plus 20 win seasons.
"That's probably the best overall performance that we have had all year," said Eustachy. "This was a game that I circled before we played Memphis. I asked that guys that after playing Memphis and UTEP, `Do we have to character to play a very, very good team that we had already beaten. And we proved that we did.' This is the most pleased that I've been with our team all year."
Flowers was 13-of-20 from the field, including scoring 21 points in the first half Junior guard Maurice Bolden was the only other Golden Eagle in double-figures, scoring 11 points and pulling down six rebounds. Freshman guard D.J. Newbill had eight points and nine boards. Senior guard R.L. Horton recorded seven points and five rebounds, and junior guard Angelo Johnson added seven assists.
Southern Miss led 36-30 at the half. But the Golden Eagles came out in the second half and blew the game wide open, beginning the half on 20-6 run over the initial 6:46 to take a 56-36 lead. ECU pulled to within 14, 60-46, with 7:25 to play, but that's as close as they would get.
The first half saw three ties and 12 lead changes. Flowers scored 16 of Southern Miss' first 22 points. However, the Golden Eagles only led 22-20. They extended their lead to 26-20 on layups by Horton and Josimar Ayarza. But, ECU scored six straight points to tie the game at 26 with 4:21 to play in the half.
A three-point play by Flowers, followed by a jumper gave Southern Miss a five point lead. Brock Young hit one of two free throw shots, followed by two from Ayarza to extend the Golden Eagle lead to 33-27. Young hit a three-pointer with 46 seconds to play, but Horton responded, nailing a trey of his own to send Southern Miss into the break ahead 36-30.
Brock Young led East Carolina with 18 points. Jontae Sherrod added 12 points for ECU.
Southern Miss shot 45.0-percent (27-of-60) from the field, including 50.0% in the second half. East Carolina was held to just 38.5-percent (20-of-52) from the floor. The Golden Eagles were 7-of-21 (33.3%) from three-point range, while holding the Pirates to just 26.1% (6-of-23). The Black and Gold also won the rebounding battle, 41-to-29.
Southern Miss concludes its three-game homestand next Tuesday, Feb. 22, when it steps out of conference play to host Loyola (N.O.). Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT from Reed Green Coliseum.