Golden Eagles' 22-point comeback falls just short at UTSA
SAN ANTONIO -- Southern Miss trailed by 22 in the first half and cut it to 45-43 with 10:46 to play, but the UTSA Roadrunners utilized their home-court advantage to take a 64-56 win on Thursday night.
"We had a great shootaround this morning and our warmups were full of energy," head coach Doc Sadler said. "We just came out slow. I don't know the reason. In the first 11 minutes, we had given up 31 points. For the rest of the way, we gave up 33. Bottom line, they just played with a different speed than us. We may have taken a few bad shots, and you don't go on the road and try to score to get back in the ballgame. You have to play defense."
Southern Miss (13-16, 6-10 C-USA) was 1-for-14 in the first 13:18 of the game, trailing 28-6 and eventually 31-9. The Golden Eagles clawed back and got within 37-28 at the half, its first single-digit deficit since the opening four minutes, when Eddie Davis III stole an in-bounds pass at half-court with four seconds left and raced down for a layup.
Cortez Edwards' layup with 10:46 left put Southern Miss within 45-43, but a dunk on the ensuing possession began a 10-0 UTSA run over the next five minutes that ultimately decided the game.
UTSA (16-12, 9-6 C-USA) hit a three-pointer with 16:30 to play for its first field goal since the 3:37 mark of the first half, but Kevin Holland answered with a corner trey of his own for a 40-35 deficit.
Tyree Griffin's baseline triple pulled Southern Miss within 61-56 with 43 seconds to go.
"Give our guys credit, they really stepped it up for the rest of the game," Sadler said. "We got it down to two and just didn't make some plays. I'm disappointed in the first 10 minutes, but I thought the team stepped up. You go on the road to win, and you can't dig a hole of 20 or more points. Give UTSA credit, they made plays down the stretch."
The Golden Eagles will head to El Paso in the morning to prepare for its Saturday night game at UTEP. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. CT.
-The home team has won all nine battles in the all-time series.
-The 36.7 field-goal percentage allowed was the best for Southern Miss since Dec. 16 versus William Carey.
-UTSA's 64 points were a season-low at home.
-Southern Miss' five blocks matched a season-high (Jan. 13 at Middle Tennessee).
-It was the Golden Eagles' first loss when getting 20 or more free-throw attempts (won first seven).
-Dominic Magee's 11 rebounds tied a career-high.