Southern Miss Drops TCU With 81-68 Win
HATTIESBURG, Miss. ? After a high-scoring first half in which there were seven lead changes, host Southern Miss picked up the defensive pressure, leading throughout the second half en route to an 81-68 Conference USA win over TCU, Saturday, at Reed Green Coliseum.
Elvin Mims paced the Golden Eagles with a game-high 32 points and 10 rebounds, as Southern Miss posted its highest point production since a season-opening 83 points against Jackson State, and Southern Miss improved to 9-16 overall and 3-11 in C-USA, while the Horned Frogs dropped to 14-14 and 4-10.
The victory was especially pleasing to Head Coach James Green, whose team won back-to-back games for the first time since mid-December. "Considering what we've been through in recent weeks, I was pleased that we came in here and played as well as we did," said Green. "We managed to take them out of some of the things they like to do, and I think that is a tribute to how hard the players have continued to work, even considering the adversity that we've faced recently.
"We had several players who turned in productive games, especially Elvin Mims who continues to play well for us. Also Dante (Stiggers) continues to improve, and we got some quality minutes off the bench as well."
The Golden Eagles also played a second-straight game without the services of forward/guard Mario Myles, whose sore knee again kept him out of action.
TCU opened the scoring with a 7-0 run over the first few minutes, but Southern Miss battled back with a run of its own, taking a 10-9 lead with 16:09 remaining in the first half.
After those opening runs, no team led by more than six points, and the offensive showcase continued throughout the remainder of the half, as the lead changed seven times.
However, the Golden Eagles finished the opening period with an 11-4 run, capped off by Pete Meneses' third three-pointer of the game, to lead 43-37 at the break. Mims led all scorers with 18 points in the first half.
The second half, however, was a different story as Southern Miss not only held on to its lead, but extended the advantage to as much as 20 points, aided by a 20-5 run midway through the half. Brad Richardson sank 1-of-2 free throws to put the Golden Eagles up 76-56 with 3:19 remaining in the game, all but closing the door on the Horned Frogs' chances at a comeback.
In the frame, Southern Miss held TCU scoreless for over seven minutes at one point and limited the team to its lowest point total of the season.
Mims' point production was one point shy of tying his career-high, which he set earlier this season with 33 points against South Alabama. Along with Mims, Clement Carter and Meneses also scored in double-figures, finishing with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Junior Blount led the Horned Frogs with 20 points, while Marlon Dumont and Bingo Merriex followed with 14 points apiece. Dumont also had a game-high 14 rebounds.
Southern Miss plays its final road game of the regular season Tuesday night at UAB and then closes the regular season at Mar. 2, against South Florida.