Dec. 18, 2008
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Jeremy Wise scored 19 of his 21 points from the free throw line as Southern Miss defeated McNeese State, 69-50, Thursday night at Reed Green Coliseum.
Wise's 19 free throws broke the school record of 17, previously held by teammate Sai'Quon Stone and Nick Revon. He also added five assists and three rebounds.
"It just didn't seem like he was going to miss," said Southern Miss head coach Larry Eustachy. "19-for-19 is impressive, but what I really liked is that he was going to the basket more. If you can shoot free throws like that you need to go the rim and get fouled, and we've been working hard on that. That's an impressive stat, but that's our game."
The Golden Eagles (6-4) came out cold, hitting just three of their first 13 shots through the first seven minutes, keeping the game tied at seven.
However, Southern Miss hit six of their next 10 shots, beginning with two Courtney Beasley three-pointers, to start a 23-1 run by Southern Miss over the next eight minutes to take a 30-8 lead with 6:17 to play in the half. During the run, the Cowboys went 0-for-7 from the field.
McNeese State (5-4) ended the half on a 7-3 run, by the Golden Eagles led 33-15 at the break. The 15 first half points were the lowest given up by Southern Miss at the half this year. Southern Miss shot 32.4-percent (11-of-34) while holding the Cowboys to 6-of-20 (30.0%) shooting.
Stephan Martin opened the second half hitting a three-pointer to pull the Cowboys to within 15. But they would get not closer, as the Golden Eagles went on a 13-3 run over the next 6:45 to pull away.
Southern Miss shot 50.0-percent from the field in the second half, and 38.9-percent (21-of-54) for the game. They also were 24-of-29 (82.8%) from the line.
John Pichon and Diego Kapelan led McNeese State with 11 points apiece.
"I'm really proud of how this team responded tonight," said Eustachy. "This was a game we had to have. We started off slow, and we couldn't get our shot going. But, we turned up the intensity on defense, and it allowed us to get some cheap baskets. I'm just really proud of our guys right now."
Southern Miss gets now travels to Gulfport, Miss for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic, Dec. 22-23. The Golden Eagles will open up with Spring Hill, Monday, Dec. 22, at 7:30 p.m.
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