Edwards breaks school's single-season steals record, scores 21 points in win over LA Tech
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Southern Miss never trailed and led by as much as 24 in the second half en route to a 72-64 win over Louisiana Tech on Saturday evening. The Golden Eagles had dropped eight in a row to the Bulldogs going into the night and have now improved their C-USA win total in each of Doc Sadler's four years as the head coach.
"I'm not sure we could play any better than we did in the first half on both ends of the court," Sadler said. "Obviously, they missed some shots also, but you knew it would be a ballgame. Overall, I'm so happy for these guys. It's the first time anyone on this team has beaten LA Tech. D'Angelo Richardson gets that big rebound late and makes two free-throws, and that's how a senior should go out. Tyree Griffin made two huge plays defensively when they made their run early in the second half. I'm glad we got that win."
Cortez Edwards picked up a pair of steals early in the first 5:11 to capture the school's single-season record, previously held by Neil Watson. The second swipe led to a Dominic Magee three-pointer that opened the lead to 13-6. Edwards' 21 points marked the ninth time in his career he surpassed 20.
Southern Miss (14-17, 7-11 C-USA) posted a 13-0 run over five minutes that gave it a 28-13 advantage with 5:26 to go in the half. The Golden Eagles held LA Tech, the league's top three-point shooting team, to a 1-for-15 mark in the first half, which ended with a 7-for-30 showing. It was a 40-17 margin at the break.
LA Tech (16-14, 7-11 C-USA) broke into single-digits with a 61-52 deficit at the 5:23 mark, then pulled within two at 3:00 and 1:39. Edwards then followed it up with a free-throw and top-of-the-key triple that gave Southern Miss a six-point lead with 31 seconds to go.
"This team has really improved," Sadler said. "Everyone's back next year except for D'Angelo. For what they could do this year being so young and to keep fighting and fighting was pretty impressive. As I told the team in the locker room, every year someone in the NCAA Tournament got there by surprising everyone in the conference tournament. We just have to win the first game next week."
The Golden Eagles now await their C-USA Championship seeding and first-round matchup, set for Wednesday night in Frisco, Texas.
-The 40-17 halftime lead was Southern Miss' largest of the season (previously 21 against Rust, Alabama A&M and FAU).
-It marks the first March win of the Doc Sadler era.
-Southern Miss out-shot LA Tech 59-26 percent in the first half.
-Tyree Griffin (15 points) finished one assist away from his fifth double-double.
-D'Angelo Richardson, the team's lone senior, made his sixth-career start.
-LaDavius Draine made three triples off the bench, the fifth time he's done so this year.
-Cortez Edwards now has 882 points for his career.