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Golden Eagles Drop OT Thriller, 76-73

Dec. 2, 2008

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - DeAndre' Coleman hit a jumper and Domonic Tilford converted a pair of free throws over the final 31 seconds of overtime to lead South Alabama to a 76-73 victory over Southern Miss here Tuesday night at Reed Green Coliseum.

USA (5-3) won for the third-straight time, while the Golden Eagles (4-2) had a two-game winning streak snapped.

The Jaguars overcame a 10-point first-half deficit on the strength of 58 percent shooting (29-of-50) as Tilford scored a team-high 15 points, while Ronald Douglas and DeAndrae Ross added 13 points and Coleman added 12 for the visitors.

Jeremy Wise paced the Golden Eagles with a season-high 28 points and a career-best six steals, while Courtney Beasley tallied 15 and Craig Craft collected 14 off the bench.

"The tougher team won (tonight)," said Southern Miss coach Larry Eustachy. "We got beat physically and got outrebounded."

USA also committed 20 turnovers, but its shooting and rebounding margin (40-35) helped them collect the road victory.

In the overtime period, the teams traded the lead three times and there were three ties before Coleman's bucket with 31 seconds remaining gave the Jags the advantage for good.

The Golden Eagles led for most of the first half and the first nine minutes of the second period, before Ross hit a jumper at the 11-minute mark to give USA the advantage.

Southern Miss, which struggled from the 3-point line, hit three of its first 14 long-range jumpers, before Wise made two straight late in regulation - his second giving USM a late lead at 62-61 with 2:22 remaining. After a USA jumper, Craft made a 3-pointer of his own with 1:21 left to give the Eagles a two-point cushion but that was short-lived with Brandon Davis make a bucket in the paint with 1:10 left to tie the game and send it into the extra period.

Southern Miss finished the game shooting 34-percent from the floor (23-of-67), its lowest output of the season, and 35-percent from 3-point range (6-of-17).

The Jaguars scored seven of the first nine points to start the game, but Southern Miss went on a 12-0 run spearheaded by a couple of buckets by Beasley and a 3-pointer by Wise to take the 12-7 advantage.

USA kept the game close in the opening half by hitting 11-of-19 shots (58 percent), but the Golden Eagles forced 15 turnovers that led to 17 points and Southern Miss took a 38-32 advantage into halftime.

The Golden Eagles return to action Saturday when they travel to Albuquerque to face New Mexico in a 5 p.m. CT game.

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