March 6, 2010
Greenville, N.C. - Five players scored double-figure points as Southern Miss defeated East Carolina, 75-65, Saturday night at Minges Coliseum.
With the victory, the Golden Eagles (18-12, 8-8 C-USA) clinch the sixth-seed in next week's GMC Sierra Conference USA Tournament. Southern Miss will play Tulane in the first round at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 10.
Junior R.L. Horton led Southern Miss with 14 points. Junior Gary Flowers and sophomore Angelo Johnson each had 13 points. Junior Sai'Quon Stone had 12 points, including 10-of-12 from the line, and had six rebounds. Junior Torye Pelham added 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
East Carolina (10-20, 4-12 C-USA) led 33-32 at the half. The teams traded leads over the first 13 minutes of the second half, with neither squad holding more than a three-point lead. With ECU ahead 54-53 with 7:57 to play, Stone hit two free throws to give Southern Miss a one-point lead. Johnson and Jontae Sherrod traded jumpers, but a jumper by baskets by Bolden and Pelham, followed by two Bolden free throws, gave the Golden Eagles a 63-56 lead with 4:37 to play.
After a jumper by Darrius Morrow and a free throw by Bolden, the Pirates hit three free throws to pull within 64-61 with 2:58 remaining. However, on the Southern Miss' next possession, with the shot clock winding down, Buchi Awaji hit a big three-pointer to put the Black and Gold ahead by six and propelled them to an 11-4 run to close the game.
Southern Miss started the game on fire, hitting seven of its first eight shots as the Eagles jumped out to a 17-5 lead in the first 4:02. However, East Carolina went on a 16-2 run to take its first lead of the game, 21-19, with 9:32 to play in the first half. The teams then traded leads the rest of the half, with Corvonn Gaines put back with three seconds remaining giving ECU a 33-32 lead at the break.
Southern Miss shot 55.6-percent (25-of-45) from the field, while East Carolina hit 41.2-percent (21-of-51). The Golden Eagles also shot 84.6-percent (22-of-26) from the free throw line.
Young led all scorers with 15 points. Morrow scored 13 points and DaQuan Joyner added 10. Morrow and Joyner also added five rebounds to lead ECU.