Dec. 1, 2010
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss men's basketball team shook off a sluggish first half to run away from Alcorn State, 100-71, Wednesday night at Reed Green Coliseum.
With the victory, the Golden Eagles improve to 5-0. It was the first time Southern Miss scored 100 points since defeating Blue Mountain, 112-75, Nov. 29, 2007.
The victory also marked head coach Larry Eustachy's 100th at Southern Miss. He joins M.K. Turk, Lee Floyd and James Green as the only coaches to record 100 victories at the school.
Senior Gary Flowers led Southern Miss with a career-high 31 points and nine rebounds. He is the first Golden Eagle to record 30-plus points since Courtney Beasley scored 30 at UTEP in 2009.
Seniors R.L. Horton and Josimar Ayarza scored 17 and 15 points, respectively. Ayarza also grabbed eight rebounds. Freshman D.J. Newbill was one rebound shy of his third straight double-double, scoring 11 points and pulling down nine boards. Junior Angelo Johnson scored nine points and had eight assists, while junior Maurice Bolden had seven points and seven rebounds.
"The story of this game was the second half," said Eustachy."The key to our team is our seniors. They have to show urgency, show leadership, and they did that tonight. In the first half, the ball died in our hands. We were just searching for shots. In the second half, we did a great job moving the ball. There are times where we can put five guys out there who can score, and when you can do that, it really helps your chances of winning."
The game started as a back-and-forth affair with each team trading baskets through the first six minutes. With the game tied at 12, Chris Davenport hit a jumper to give the Braves their first lead of the game. An Angelo Johnson jumper tied the game at 14. After a couple ties, ASU took a 22-19 lead on a jumper by Alex Savannah with 7:58 to play. However, a jumper and a pair of free throws by Ayarza ignited a 14-2 Southern Miss run, giving the Eagles a 34-24 lead with 4:44 to play.
But, the Braves countered with a 10-2 run, pulling to within 36-34, before Southern Miss held off the rest of the half, heading into the break with a 43-38 lead.
However, the second half was a different story. Southern Miss scored the first seven points of the half, opening on a 22-6 run, sparked by Flowers' 16 points over the first 5:46 of the half. The Braves would get no closer than 18 points, as Southern Miss led by as many as 31.
Marquiz Baker led the Braves with 23 points. Michael Starks scored 13, Alex Savannah had 10, and James Ragland added 11 points and six rebounds.
Southern Miss connected on 45.7-percent (32-of-70) from the field, while Alcorn State hit 37.1-percent (23-of-62) of its shots. The Golden Eagles were 31-of-43 (72.1%) from the free throw line and ASU was 23-of-37 (62.2%). The Black and Gold also outrebounded Alcorn State, 55-40, the fourth straight game that the Eagles have pulled down at least 50 rebounds. It is the first time they have recorded 50 or more rebounds in four straight games since the 1975-76 season.
The Golden Eagles begin the first of six games away from Reed Green Coliseum, Saturday, Dec. 4, when it travels to Oxford to play in-state rival Ole Miss. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT, and the game will be televised on ESPNU and ESPN3.com.