BILOXI, Miss. - Southern Miss used a 16-2 run at the end of the first half to defeat Louisiana Tech 80-56 on the second day of the Mississippi Coast Coliseum Classic in Biloxi Wednesday evening.
"This was a good win for us tonight," head coach Larry Eustachy said. "We did not play that well to start the game, La. Tech came out in a 2-3 defense and we had to make some adjustments. The kids started to listen and we had a good run at the end of the first half to take the lead."
The Golden Eagles (7-3) started out shooting cold in the first half, hitting just four of its first 16 shots. After taking a 13-11 lead, Louisiana Tech's J.J. Marshall hit a three-pointer given them their first lead in the contest. The Bulldogs then extended its lead to 27-21. However, Southern Miss closed the half on a 16-2 run, hitting eight of its final 15 shots to take a 37-29 lead at the break. The Golden Eagles were 11-of-13 from the free throw line, while La. Tech was 5-of-9 from behind the arc.
The game had six different lead changes in the first half before Southern Miss was able to take the lead for good with 1:39 left before halftime. The Golden Eagles led by as many as 30 points in the second half.
Southern Miss began the second half the way it ended the first, opening the half on a 15-4 run, with Courtney Beasley scoring 11 of those points, extending its advantage to 52-33. However, the Bulldogs went on a 12-2 run to get the deficit back to single digits (54-45). After exchanging baskets, the Golden Eagles went on a 17-0 run to take its biggest lead of the game.
Beasley finished the game with 27 points, which was a new career high. He narrowly missed a double-double with nine rebounds in the game as well. Jeremy Wise pulled in 20 points for the Golden Eagles, including a 12-for-12 performance from the free throw line. For the second consecutive night Southern Miss shot well at the line, going 19-23 for 82.6%.
La. Tech (2-8) was led by center Kyle Gibson, who tallied a team-high 14 points and five rebounds on the evening.
Southern Miss concludes play at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum Classic tomorrow night when they take on Alcorn State (1-8) at 8:00 p.m. New Orleans and Louisiana Tech will play each other in the opening game at 6:00 p.m.