TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands - Southern Miss shot 60.9-percent in the second half to pull away from UALR and win the 2013 BVI Tropical Shootout, 74-60.
"First of all, the tournament was very well run" said Southern Miss head coach Donnie Tyndall. "It was a great experience. I thought our kids played unselfishly the entire weekend. They shared the basketball. We did a nice job at the offensive end. We have to continue to clean some things up defensively, but we played two quality teams and I'm proud of our guys."
Neil Watson scored 19 points and five assists. His performance in the tournament earned him Most Valuable Player honors. Michael Craig recorded his second double-double of the year and third of his career with 10 points and 10 rebounds and Daveon Boardingham added 11 points.
Southern Miss got off to a slow start missing five of its first six shots as UALR took a 10-5 lead through the first five minutes. Chip Armelin hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit to two, but Will Neighbour hit a layup to push it back to four.
After the teams traded baskets, Neil Watson hit a three-pointer to make it a one-point game. James White hit a layup, but buckets from Daveon Boardingham and Deonte Houston gave Southern Miss the lead, 17-16, midway through the half.
Josh Hagins hit one-of-two free throws to tie the game, but Matt Bingaya hit a pair to the Golden Eagles up two. White again tied the game, but Watson hit two free throws. Neighbour then hit one-of-two from the line to cut the deficit to one.
Deonte Houston hit a pair of free throws to give the Golden Eagles a three-point lead, but Hagins hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 23.
Houston hit a jumper, but Hagins hit another three to give the Trojans a 27-26 lead with 3:20 to play in the half. But Southern Miss closed the half on a 7-1 run to take a 33-28 lead into the break.
UALR cut the lead to three early in the second half. But, Southern Miss went on a 15-4 run to push its lead to 48-34, seven minutes into the second half. White hit a jumper, but the Golden Eagles score 11 of the next 13 points, capped off by a Watson three-pointer. Another three from Watson gave Southern Miss its largest lead of the game, 62-40, with 9:08 to play.
UALR would get no closer than 14 points the rest game.
Southern Miss shot 47.2-percent (25-of-53) from the floor and 30.8-percent (4-of-13) from three. UALR shot 21-of-47 (44.7%) from the field and 6-of-20 (30.0%) from three. The Golden Eagles also outrebounded UALR, 33-to-27.
James White led the Trojans with 18 pints and Will Neighbour added 12.
Southern Miss closes its four-game road trip next Saturday, Dec. 28, when it travels to Kingston, R.I. to face Rhode Island. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT.
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