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Southern Miss Earns 69-65 Comeback Victory Over UC-Irvine in Progressive Legends Classic Sub-Regional

The Golden Eagles' Michael Craig goes up for a slam dunk.

Nov. 20, 2012

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HUNTSVILLE, Texas - Michael Craig's layup with 2:04 to play broke a 63-63 tie and gave Southern Miss the lead for good, as the Golden Eagles defeated UC-Irvine, 69-65, in the second game of the Progressive Legends Classic Sub-Regional Tuesday night.

Craig had game-highs of 21 points and eight rebounds and Jonathan Mills had 14 points and seven rebounds.

"(UC-Irvine) is a very, very good basketball team," said Southern Miss head coach Donnie Tyndall. "They are very well coached and experienced. The difference tonight was that we only had seven turnovers. We did some good things both rebounding the ball and offensively. But, I'm happy with the way we were able to stay within our game and pull out a tough win against a very good ball club."

Southern Miss led 31-30 at halftime. But a three-pointer by Daman Starring gave UC-Irvine its first lead of the game and helped them open the half on a 9-2 run to take a six point lead just 2:57 into the half.

A pair of layups by Dwayne Davis and a jumper by Norville Carey tied the game at 39. UCI would take the lead, only to have Southern Miss tie it up twice more. However, Southern Miss, who had not trailed by more than three points through its first three games, watched as the Anteaters scored eight straight points, taking a 51-43 lead with 11:11 to play. But Southern Miss came right back, scoring nine of the next 11 points to cut the lead to one.

The Golden Eagles would pull to within one point twice more over the next 3:05. A pair of free throws by Alex Young made it a four-point lead, but a layup by Mills and a pair of free throws by Neil Watson tied the game at 63.

After a Southern Miss timeout, Craig got the ball at the top of the key, took two dribbles and drained a running jumper to give the Golden Eagles the lead. Davis the made it a four-point game with a jumper with 17 seconds left.

After a foul by Watson, Young hit two free throws to pull to within two points. But Mills sealed the game with 7.4 seconds left when he hit two foul shots of his own.

Michael Wilder led UC-Irvine with 16 points. Alex Young also had 11 points and a game-high eight assists.

Southern Miss shot 44.2-percent (23-of-52) from the field and were 20-of-23 (87.0%) from the free throw line. UC-Irvine shot 50.0-percent (22-of-44) from the floor and 42.9-percent (9-of-21) from three-point range. Southern Miss also outrebounded the Anteaters, 35-to-20.

Southern Miss closes play in the Progressive Legends Classic tomorrow night when it faces Liberty at 5 p.m. CT.

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