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Southern Miss Rallies from 16 Points Down to Shock UCF, 68-58

Feb. 20, 2010

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss erased a 16-point deficit in the final 10:32 to stun UCF, 68-58, Saturday night at Reed Green Coliseum.

Sophomore Angelo Johnson led Southern Miss with a career-high 24 points, including four three-pointers, also a career-high. Junior Gary Flowers finished, despite starting the game 1-of-9, finished with 18 points and a game-high seven rebounds. Junior Josimar Ayarza added 10 points and junior Sai'Quon Stone chipped in with seven points and a career-high seven assists.

"I've never had a better moment since I've been here," said Southern Miss head coach Larry Eustachy. "I've never been prouder of a group of guys, to be that far down and come back in such an important game. I was almost numb at the way we played the first 25 minutes. But we hung in there, and you have to give our guys credit. They came up huge when it really counted. This is the proudest I've been since I've been here."

The Golden Eagles (16-10, 6-6 C-USA) trailed 48-32, their largest deficit of the game. However, Flowers and Ayarza keyed a 10-0 run over the next 3:21 to pull within 48-42. Taylor Young's jumper extended UCF's (13-13, 5-7) lead to 50-42 with 6:51 to play. But Johnson bookended a 9-0 run with a pair of three-pointers, the second of which gave Southern Miss a 51-50 lead, its first lead since 4:53 into the game.

A.J. Tyler hit one of two free throws to tie the game but Flowers hit a turnaround jumper to retake the lead. UCF again tied the game on two Young free throws, but another jumper from Flowers gave the lead to Southern Miss for good, 55-53, with 3:29 to play.

Southern Miss took a four-point lead on a lay-up by Stone, but two free throws from Tyler and Keith Clanton cut the lead to two, 57-55 with 1:26 remaining. But the Eagles closed the game on an 11-3 run to complete the comeback.

Southern Miss scored early in the game as Johnson and Torye Pelham gave the Eagles a quick 4-0 lead. However, UCF went on an 11-2 run to take an 11-6 lead 6:53 into the game. The teams then traded baskets over the next 7:19.

With the Knights ahead 20-17, Marcus Jordan's three sent UCF on an 11-5 run to close the half, which ended with Jordan hitting a putback at the buzzer to send UCF into the break with a 31-22 lead.

Isaac Sosa led UCF with 14 points. Tyler scored 13 and grabbed a team-high five rebounds, and Jordan added 12.

Southern Miss connected on 46.85 (22-of-47) from the field, while UCF hit 52.9% (18-of-34), including 63.2% in the first half. The Golden Eagles, despite pulling down just seven first half boards, outrebounded UCF, 25-21.

Southern Miss closes out its four-game home stand next Wednesday, Feb. 24, when it hosts conference leader UTEP. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CT.

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