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Southern Miss Uses Strong Defense to Defeat Denver, 61-50

Jerrold Brooks had 12 points against Denver.

Nov. 27, 2012

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss used a strong defensive effort and got timely shooting to defeat Denver, 61-50, Tuesday night at Reed Green Coliseum.

With the victory, Southern Miss improves to 6-0. It was its 17th straight home victory and the 25th straight non-conference home win.

Senior Dwayne Davis led the Golden Eagles with 22 points while pulling down six rebounds. Junior Jerrold Brooks score 12 points and junior Michael Craig grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.

"It was a good win," said Southern Miss head coach Donnie Tyndall. "We got a little bit of a slow start, but (Denver) is so well coached and patient at the offensive end that they can pick you apart. We did a nice job defending. We actually held them to 28 points with 7:30 to go in the game. But I was really proud of our effort. We're still a work in progress, but I'm really proud of our guys tonight."

The game started off slow, as both teams turned the ball over in each of their first three possessions. Points were finally put on the board when Davis hit a jumper 4:03 seconds into the game, helping Southern Miss score the game's first eight points.

Denver missed its first seven shots before Chase Hallam connected on a jumper off an offensive rebound with 11:17 to play in the first half. The basket sent the Pioneers on a 9-2 run over the next 5:35 to pull DU within one point, 10-9, with 5:46 to play in the half.

The teams traded three pointers, first by Davis and then by Denver's Royce O'Neale. But Southern Miss closed the half on a 10-3 run, thanks in part to a pair of three's by Brooks and sent Southern Miss into a 23-15 halftime lead. The 15 first half points were the 10th fewest allowed in a half in school history.

The Golden Eagles came out strong to begin the second half. Davis started things with a pair of jumpers. After Denver hit a pair of its own, a free throw by Rashard McGill and a Neil Watson three-pointer sent Southern Miss on a 21-9 run, giving the Golden Eagles its largest lead of the game at 48-28 with 7:31 to play.

The Pioneers slowly began to chip away at the lead, getting as close as nine points. But Southern Miss proved to be too much down the stretch.

O'Neale was the only Denver player in double-figures, scoring 22 points and pulling down a team-high six rebounds.

Southern Miss put up just 38 shots, but connected on half of them. It was the fourth time in the last five games it shot at least 50.0-percent from the field. The Black and Gold were also 4-of-7 (57.1%) from behind the arc and 79.2-percent (19-of-24) from the free throw line. Denver was held to just 33.3-percent (18-of-54) the fourth time Southern Miss held its opponents to less than 35.0%. The Pioneers were also just 9-of-32 (28.1%) from three-point range. Southern Miss also outrebounded Denver, 33-to-26.

Southern Miss returns to the road for three games, beginning this Saturday, Dec. 1, at New Mexico State. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. CT.

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