Kevin Holland's career night helps Southern Miss defeat Youngstown State
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Southern Miss redshirt-junior Kevin Holland made his first five three-point attempts, leading to a career-high 17 points, and the Golden Eagles picked up a 71-64 victory over Youngstown State in Saturday's action at the Sanford Pentagon Showcase.
"I'm so proud of our guys," head coach Doc Sadler said. "They fought through a lot tonight. We just fought. We had a nine-point lead, and they came back. In years past, we might have dropped our head and not found a way to win the game. Tonight, we found a way. That's where it's gonna help us. This kind of game will happen again this year.
Cortez Edwards also poured in a team-high 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting to go with four assists and three steals. Tyree Griffin had 17 points, including a 7-for-8 clip at the free-throw line (all in the final 50 seconds).
"Probably the most positive thing of the night was having 20 assists on 24 field goals," Sadler said. "We shared the ball well. We gave up 14 offensive rebounds, but you have to give Youngstown State a lot of credit. They crashed those boards hard. We also had a lot of guys working hard, playing 39 minutes (Edwards and Griffin), 36 (Holland) and 31 (D'Angelo Richardson)."
Holland improved to 5-for-5 on three-pointers for the day with one that gave Southern Miss a 54-45 advantage at the 10:45 mark, its largest of the day. The Penguins responded with nine consecutive points, forcing two Golden Eagle timeouts in the process, to tie it at 54 with 7:54 on the clock.
After the Golden Eagles (3-2) pushed it to a four-point lead, the Penguins (2-4) responded with a three-pointer to get within 58-57 at the 4:24 mark. A pair of free-throws again put Youngstown State within two, but Edwards beat the press for a layup with 3:39 on the clock, and Youngstown State would only get within four points once more on the night.
The Golden Eagles stepped it up defensively to end the first half, forcing six misses on the Penguins' final seven field goal attempts, to take a 32-29 lead at the break.
Southern Miss concludes its tournament action Sunday at 10:30 a.m. CT against Northern Colorado. The game can again be found on the Sanford Pentagon's official Facebook Live feed, with audio of the game coming via the Southern Miss IMG Sports Network.
-It marks the first neutral-court win of the Doc Sadler era after six previous attempts. The last-such Golden Eagle win overall came in the 2012 C-USA Tournament (defeated ECU in Memphis).
-The 20 assists were the team's most since having 21 at Louisiana Tech in the 2014-15 season finale (Sadler's first year as head coach).
-Kevin Holland's five consecutive triples were the most by a Golden Eagle in a single-game since Michael Ramey had six in the Feb. 25 win at North Texas.
-The five makes tied a career-high set on Dec. 10, 2016 versus Tulane (5-for-5).
-Holland is now 10-for-16 on three-pointers this year after starting last season 11-for-18.
-D'Angelo Richardson tied a career-high of five assists, set previously on Jan. 21 versus Rice.
-Richardson's 31 minutes played were also a personal-best.
-Tyree Griffin had a team-high six assists, the 12th time of his career he had at least five.
-Cortez Edwards scored 18 points for the second consecutive game, both team-highs. It is his best two-game stretch since he scored 42 against FIU and FAU last year.