HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Neil Watson's three-pointer with less than a second remaining in regulation sent the game into overtime, and Southern outscored Georgia State, 14-4, in the extra period to defeat the Panthers, 75-65, Saturday afternoon at Reed Green Coliseum.
Watson had a team-high 18-points. Aron Brown and Daveon Boardingham had 14 and 12 points off the bench, respectively. Michael Craig recorded his second career double-double with 10 points and a career-high 12 rebounds and Jeremiah Eason added 10 boards.
"We were very fortunate," said Southern Miss head coach Donnie Tyndall. "I felt like we were in good shape for 32 minutes. But the last eight minutes, we totally lost control. To Georgia State's credit, there is no quit in that team. But, there's no doubt in my mind that Coach (M.K.) Turk helped Neil's three-pointer go in to force overtime.
After Brown his two free throws, the Golden Eagles led, 51-40, with 8:55 to play in the second half. However, Southern began a stretch a sloppy play. Ryan Harrow hit a layup, and following a Deonte Houston turnover, converted a three-point play. He then hit two more free throws to cut the deficit to 51-47.
Houston hit one-of two free throws to push the lead back to five, but Devonta White hit a layup. On the ensuing possession, Eason found Craig cutting to basket for a dunk, but White hit a layup.
Jerrold Brooks then committed two straight turnovers, and Harrow made him pay on both, giving Georgia State a 55-54 lead with 3:29 remaining. It was their first lead since leading 24-23 in the first half.
After Brown missed a three-pointer, White hit a jumper off a Harrow offensive rebound. Following a miss by Brooks, R.J. Hunter hit a jumper with two seconds on the shot clock to give the Panthers a 59-53 lead with 56 seconds to play.
Southern Miss came down the floor and Brooks missed a three-pointer. But, Brown got the rebound and hit a three of his own to cut the lead to 59-57.
After Watson fouled with 21 seconds left, Manny Atkins hit one-of-two free throws to extend the lead to 60-57. Watson was fouled on the next possession, but was only able to make one free throw to keep it a two-point game.
The Golden Eagles were again forced to foul and White made one-of-two from the charity stripe to give GSU a 61-58 lead with 12 seconds left.
After a Southern Miss timeout, Brooks missed a three-pointer. But, Craig got the rebound and immediately found Watson in the corner, who sent the game into overtime with a three-pointer with 0.7 seconds remaining
Southern Miss scored the first seven points of overtime, five of which came from Boardingham. The teams then traded a pair of free throws.
Atkins hit a layup with 44 seconds to play. After Brooks was fouled, he hit one-of-two free throws. Brown closed the game with a pair of free throws and a layup.
The Golden Eagles connected on just 38.8-percent (19-of-49) from the floor and 28.6% (6-of-21) from three. The Black and Gold was also 31-of 44 (70.5%) from the free throw line. Georgia State was just 23-of-61 (37.7%) from the field and 6-of-21 (28.6%) from three. Southern Miss also outrebounded the Panthers, 44-to-34.
Harrow had a game-high 20 points. Hunter had 15 points and eight rebounds. Atkins and White scored 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Southern Miss will take a week off for exams before returning to the hardwood next Saturday, December 14, when it hosts St. Catharine. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. CT.
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