Southern Miss Defeats FIU, 78-68, to Finish Perfect at Home
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - All nine players scored for Southern Miss as the Golden Eagles closed out its home schedule with a 78-66 victory over FIU, Thursday night at Reed Green Coliseum.
With the win, Southern Miss (24-5, 11-3) finished its home schedule a perfect 14-0 at home. It is the second time in the last three years that it finished undefeated at home.
Matt Bingaya led all scorers with 20 points, six rebounds and four steals. Daveon Boardingham scored 14 points and grabbed eight boards. Jerrold Brooks had 11 points and a career-high seven assists and Jeremiah Eason added 10 points and five rebounds.
FIU (13-16, 5-9) grabbed an early 3-2 lead, but a jumper by Neil Watson sent the Golden Eagles on a 12-2 run for a 14-5 lead seven minutes into the game. The teams traded baskets before a three-pointer by Cody Mann cut the lead to 16-10.
Aaron Brown hit a pair of free throws. But a jumper by lay-up by Tymell Murphy started a 9-2 Panthers run, cutting the deficit to 20-19 with 6:33 to play in the first half.
Ivan Jukovic hit a jumper to make it a five-point lead, but a three-point by Brooks and free throws from Brown and Eason pushed the lead to 31-21 with 2:56 to play. Jason Boswell made a layup to cut the lead to eight, but a layup from Houston and two Bingaya free throws sent Southern Miss into the break with a 35-23 lead.
Bingaya began the second half converting a three-point play. After a jumper by Dennis Maven, the Black and Gold turned three straight steals into six points to take a 44-25 lead just two minutes into the half.
After Murphy made one-of-two free throws, Brooks drained a three-pointer to give Southern Miss a 47-26 lead, its' largest of the game. However, the Panthers began to chip away at the lead.
Cody Mann hit a three-pointer for FIU. After the teams traded free throws, Armelin picked off a Mann pass and took it in for a layup. Marco Porcher-Jimenez then hit a three and, following a Brooks turnover, Murphy hit a layup to cut the lead to 15 with 12 minutes to play.
Bingaya made one-of-two free throws. After the teams traded buckets, Porcher-Jimenez drained a three-pointer. Bingaya again made just one-of-two from the foul line, and after trading baskets, Porcher-Jimenez hit another three to cut the deficit to 11 with 9:24 to play.
The teams exchanged dunks and Brown hit a pair of free throws to extend the lead back to 13. But Porcher-Jimenez hit his third straight three-pointer and following a Brown turnover, Murphy took it to the rim to bring FIU to within 60-52 with 7:40 remaining.
However, Watson immediately found Boardingham for a dunk, and the Golden Eagles kept it in double-digits the rest of the way.
Southern Miss shot 45.8-percent (27-of-59) from the floor, but was just 4-of-14 (28.6%) from three. FIU connected on 49.0-percent (24-of-49) from the field, including 65.2% in the second-half, and hit 9-of-22 (40.9%) from three. The Golden Eagles outrebounded FIU, 36-to-29, while recording 14 steals.
Murphy led the Panthers with 13 points and game-high 11 rebounds. Porcher-Jimenez had 17 points and Mann added 13.
Southern Miss goes on the road for its final two games of the season, beginning this Sunday, March 2, when it travels to Boca Raton, Fla., to face Florida Atlantic. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT.