Oct. 28, 2006
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. -
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Freshman Sai'Quon Stone led a Southern Miss balanced attack with 17 points as the Golden Eagles opened their exhibition men's basketball season with a 81-52 victory over Lithuania Academy here Saturday afternoon at Reed Green Coliseum.
Eight of the 13 players that saw action for Southern Miss Saturday scored at least seven points, as freshman Jeremy Wise was the only other Golden Eagle in double figures with 10 points. Junior Demar Dotson and freshman Maros Zuffa each added nine points, while sophomore Craig Craft and freshmen Jarvis Hill and Andre Stephens added eight points apiece. Junior Gjio Bain tallied eight points to go along with a game-high four blocks.
The Golden Eagles, which feature 11 new players, including eight freshmen, continue to step up and third-year coach Larry Eustachy likes the way his players are fighting for spots on the floor.
"There is a lot of competition going on (right now) and we just can't play everybody," said Eustachy. "For a first game it was a little bit different because we had the Bahamas trip (back in September) and are ahead of where we normally would be at this point. We are a little more mature than it looks on paper."
Southern Miss trailed 5-4 over the first two minutes of the game but scored the next 11 points of the contest as Wise and Stephens each hit had four points and Hill converted a three-point play as Lithuania Academy closed the gap under double digits just twice over the next two minutes before the Eagles cruised to a 42-26 halftime advantage.
The Golden Eagles increased the advantage to as much as 34 points last in the second half as they finished the game hitting 28-of-63 shots for 48.6 percent. Southern Miss added 46.2 percent from 3-point range (6-of-13) and 76 percent from the free throw line (19-of-25).
Rytis Grigaitis led Lithuania Academy with 14 points, while Rimvydas Demenius added 13 points for the visitors.
Southern Miss returns to action Monday, Nov. 6, when they close out their exhibition schedule with Loyola (New Orleans). Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Green Coliseum.