HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss shook off a slow start to knock off in-state foe Jackson State, 67-51, in its 2013-14 regular season opener, Friday night at Reed Green Coliseum.
Daveon Boardingham led all players with 15 points and a career-high nine rebounds. Aaron Brown had four points and Jerrold Brooks had 11. Neil Watson added nine points, a career-high nine rebounds and four assists.
"This felt like a late February game when you are fighting for tournament seeding," said Southern Miss head coach Donnie Tyndall. "It was back-and-forth. Both teams played exceptionally hard. We were kind of taking each other out of our offense and you have to credit both teams defensively.
Southern Miss trailed, 31-28, at the half. The teams traded baskets before Brown's second three-pointer of the game tied it at 33. Jeffery Stubbs hit two free throws to regain the lead for Jackson State. But, after a pair of free throws from Norville Carey, Brooks nailed two straight three's to give the Golden Eagles a 41-35 lead.
JSU pulled to within three points. The teams then traded a pair of free throws, but a two free throws from Brooks followed by a three-point play from Watson pushed the lead to eight.
The Tigers cut the deficit to four, but Southern Miss stepped up its defense, holding JSU to just one field goal over the next 8:13, as it went on an 18-2 run to put the game away.
Southern Miss scored the first seven points of the game. Brandon West hit a jumper, followed by a three from Marcus Love to cut it to 7-5. Two free throws from Jeremiah Eason and a bucket from Matt Bingaya made it 11-7, the Tigers scored seven straight points to take the lead at 12-11, nine minutes into the game.
The teams went back and forth over the next six minutes. With Southern Miss holding a 24-19 lead, the Tigers went on a 7-2 run to tie the game at 26 with 2:39 to play in the first half. Watson hit a pair of free throws for a two-point Golden Eagle lead, but Stubbs hit two free throws and Javeres Brent drained a three-pointer to send Southern Miss into halftime down 31-28.
Brent led the Jackson State 11 points and Stubbs and Julysses Nobles added 10.
Southern Miss was 16-of-42 (38.1%) from the field and 5-of-18 (27.8%) from behind the arc. Jackson State was held to just 30.2-percent (16-of-53) from the floor and 19.0-percent (4-of-21) from three-point range. The Golden Eagles connected on 30-of-44 (68.2%) from the charity stripe and outrebounded JSU, 42-38.
Southern Miss begins a four-game road trip when it travels to Rosemont, Ill., next Wednesday, Nov. 13, to take on DePaul in the opening game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. and will be televised on Fox Sports 2.
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