FARGO, N.D. - Neil Watson's steal as time expired prevented North Dakota State's comeback attempt, as Southern Miss defeated the Bison, 70-69, Monday night.
The Golden Eagles improved to 3-0 on the year while NDSU dropped to 1-2.
"This was a great, tough environment," said Southern Miss head coach Donnie Tyndall. "Games like this usually come down to one team making one more play than the opposition and I thought that was the case tonight. It was back-and-forth. Both teams made great runs, both teams made great stops. We were just able to make one more play than a very, very good North Dakota State team."
Aaron Brown led the Black and Gold with 18 points. Jeremiah Eason scored 15 and grabbed five rebounds. Jerrold Brooks chipped in 11 points and five assists. Michael Craig added eight points and tied a career-high with 10 rebounds.
Southern Miss led 39-28 at the break. However, North Dakota State opened on an 11-0 run to tie the game just 3:15 into the second half. The Golden Eagles would only see its lead extended back to six the rest of the second half, while the saw four more ties.
With 2:31 left and the game tied at 65, Craig hit a layup to put the Golden Eagles up 67-65. Taylor Braun then hit one-of-two free throws to make it a one-point game. But with the shot clock winding down Neil Watson drained a three-pointer, his only basket of the game, to give Southern Miss a 70-66 lead.
Marshall Bjorklund hit one-of-two free throws and TrayVonn Wright hit two free throws to make it 70-69. The Golden Eagles had a chance to increase their lead, but Chip Armelin missed a pair of free throws and NDSU got the rebound.
After a timeout, the Bison inbounded the ball with 1.8 seconds left, but Watson stripped Wright before he had a chance to shoot, preserving the victory.
Southern Miss started of slow, as North Dakota State jumped out to an 11-2 lead 6:05 into the game. The Golden Eagles slowly chipped away at the lead. With NDSU holding a 22-18 lead, Southern Miss went on an 18-0 lead to take its biggest lead of the game, 38-22.
Southern Miss shot 52.0-percent (26-of-50) from the field and was 5-of-10 (50.0%) from behind the arc. The Bison were 21-of-45 (46.7%) from the floor, including 9-of-21 (42.9%) from three. Southern Miss also outrebounded NDSU, 28-23.
Wright led all players with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Mike Felt scored 15 points and Braun added 11 points and 11 assists.
Southern Miss closes its four-game road trip this weekend when it travels to Mobile, Ala. for the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. The Golden Eagles face South Alabama on Friday, Nov. 22, at 7 p.m. The following day, they take on Houston Baptist at 3 p.m.
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