HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss held off a late Morehead State rally to defeat the Eagles, 74-60, Wednesday night at Reed Green Coliseum.
Neil Watson led the Black and Gold with a season-high 19 points and five assists. Daveon Boardingham had 12 points, Michael Craig had 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds and Chip Armelin added 10 points.
"(Morehead State) is a very tough opponent. The difference in the game, even though we put them on the line 29 times, was us getting there 31, along with forcing 24 turnovers. That was the biggest difference. But I'm really proud of our guys."
Southern Miss (7-1) scored the first eight points of the game. Chad Posthumus got MSU on the board with two free throws and Angelo Warner converted a layup off a Boardingham turnover to cut the lead in half. After Watson buried his first three of the game, the teams traded field goals.
Norville Carey then hit one-of-two free throws and Boardingham connected on a pair of jumpers to give Southern Miss an 18-8 lead 8:34 into the game.
Luka Pajkovic hit a pair of free throws, but Watson hit two straight three-pointers to push the Golden Eagle lead to 24-10.
The teams then went back-and-forth through the first half as Southern Miss never led by less than 11 points on its way to a 39-25 halftime lead.
Morehead State (7-4) opened the second half scoring six of the first eight points to cut the deficit to 41-31 just 1:33 in. But dunks by Brown and Jeremiah Eason followed by baskets from Brown and Armelin gave Southern Miss its biggest lead of the game, 49-33.
The teams traded baskets, then Angelo Warner connected on a three-point play. After Boardingham hit one-of-two free throws, Pajkovic hit a three-pointer. Following baskets by both teams, Pajkovic hit another three to cut the deficit to 54-46 with 8:57 to play.
After trading baskets over the next two minutes, Pajkovic hit his third straight three-pointer to make it a 62-55 deficit with 6:07 remaining. But the Golden Eagles outscored MSU, 12-5, the rest of way to hold on for the victory.
Chad Posthumus led Morehead State with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Angelo Warner scored a game-high 20 and Pajkovic added 19.
Southern Miss shot 46.3-percent (25-of-54) from the floor, but was just 3-of-12 (25.0%) from three. MSU connected on 20-of-43 (46.5%) from the field and 6-of-15 from three (40.0%). MSU won the rebounding battle, 38-to-26.
Southern Miss returns to the hardwood this Saturday, December 7, when it hosts Georgia State. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT.
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