Dec. 22, 2010
CANCUN, Mexico - Southern Miss withstood a furious rally by East Tennessee State to defeat the Buccaneers, 64-60, in the first round of the inaugural Cancun Governor's Cup, Wednesday afternoon at the Poliforum Benito Juarez.
With the win, the Golden Eagles (8-1) advance to the semifinals against Saint Louis, tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. CT. The game will also be televised on ESPNU.
Senior Gary Flowers recorded his first double-double of the year with game-highs of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman D.J. Newbill scored 11 points and grabbed five boards, and sophomore LaShay Page recorded his second straight double-digit game with 10 points.
"We showed a lot of character today, and that tells you how good East Tennessee State is," said head coach Larry Eustachy. "I thought we unraveled late. Thank God for D.J. Newbill, who is about as tough a freshman as I have ever had. He made some great plays at the end. Gary Flowers came up with two huge blocks and rebounds. They were just beating us to the ball. Their zone really bothered us, and that affected who we really are.
Southern Miss led 33-19 at the half. The Golden Eagles scored nine of the first 13 points to open the second half to take its largest lead of the game, 41-23, just 4:58 into the half. However, Justin Tubbs led ETSU back, scoring 14 straight points for the Bucs and leading them on a 20-5 run over the next 5:38 to pull within 48-43.
The Black and Gold pushed the lead back out to 11, 56-45, on a LaShay Page lay-up with 5:50 to play. But once again, East Tennessee State came back, as the Eagles would not score again until 1:27 remaining.
A jumper and two free throws by D.J. Newbill gave Southern Miss a 60-53 advantage with 44 seconds left. ETSU pulled to within two points with six second remaining on a Micah Williams three-pointer. But, junior Angelo Johnson hit two free throws and then stole the ball on the next possession to ice the game.
The game was a slow-moving affair from the outset. Southern Miss took an early 6-2 lead three minutes into the game. But over the next seven minutes, the Golden Eagles missed their next eight shots. Ahyaro Phillips converted a three-point play to put the Eagles back up, 9-6.
However, Mike Smith tied the game on a three-point play of his own, and ETSU took its only lead on an Adam Sollazzo free throw with 9:40 to play in the first half.
Southern Miss retook the lead on free throws by Sai'Quon Stone. With the Eagles ahead 13-12, and 7:54 to play, USM closed the half on a 20-7 run, capped off by a Johnson three-pointer at the buzzer.
Williams led the Bucs with 16 points. Tubbs scored 14, and Smith added 13 points and five rebounds. Isiah Brown had a team-high eight rebounds for ETSU.
Southern Miss shot 48.9-percent (22-of-45) from the field, while holding East Tennessee State to just 23-of-65 (35.4%) shooting. The Golden Eagles connected on 75-percent (15-of-20) from the charity stripe, and ETSU was just 58.8-percent (10-of-17). Southern Miss was outrebounded for just the second time this year, 37-to-35.