Houston Holds Off Golden Eagles, Wins 68-60
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The Houston Cougars owned the Golden Eagles this evening, never trailing in a 68-60 win, here at Reed Green Coliseum. Kevin Gaines poured in 20 points, was perfect on three-pointers (3-for-3) and free throws (3-for-3) and helped improve the Cougars’ record to 12-10 overall, 5-4 in Conference USA.
Southern Miss (7-13, 2-8) narrowed the lead to four or fewer points on multiple occasions, but Houston prevented pivotal shots from dropping for the Golden Eagles. Southern Miss shot 41.1 percent from the field (23-56) and 57.1 from the line (8-14).
Bernard Duncan led the Golden Eagles with 15 points after going scoreless in the first half. Duncan hit 5-of-9 field goals, 3-of-4 from three-point land. Elvin Mims was held to nine points, as the senior shot 3-of-13 from the field. Mario Myles led the team in rebounding with eight boards.
Dominic Smith recorded 18 points, including 9-of-9 from the line, for Houston. Louis Truscott led the Cougars with 14 rebounds.
Using a 15-6 run late in the second half, Southern Miss pulled within three, 58-55 at 3:14. The Golden Eagles had opportunities to tie or capture the lead, but turnovers and missed shots prevented the takeover. Houston outscored USM, 7-3, in the final minute, making 7-of-8 free throws in the time frame.
Houston held a 20-9 lead at 6:49 in the first half, but the Golden Eagles went on a 14-4 run in a five-minute span to pull within one 24-23 at 1:25. Houston went into intermission up 27-23.
Pete Meneses triggered USM in the early-period run, scoring all eight of his first-half points and leading Southern Miss. Gaines led the Cougars with nine in the early period.
Southern Miss hosts Marquette on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m.