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Eagles Lose To Memphis, 74-56
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Southern Miss fought back from one early deficit to take a second half lead, but then could not counter the ensuing Memphis run, as the Golden Eagles dropped a 74-56 decision to the Tigers in the Pyramid here Tuesday night.
League-leading Memphis improved to 20-4 overall and 11-2 in Conference USA, while Southern Miss dropped to 12-12 overall and 5-8 in the league. The victory also salvaged a split for Memphis in the teams' two-game series this season, after the Golden Eagles earned a 66-63 decision in Hattiesburg in early January.
Memphis scored the first points of the game and Southern Miss did not lead in the first 20 minutes, trailing by as many as 13 points before rallying to close to as close as four points late in the half. The Eagles trailed 31-24 at the half, but put together a quick 13-5 early second half surge to take a 37-36 lead with 16:33 left in the game.
But, the homestanding Tigers then proceeded to put together a 19-2 run over the next 5:01 to take a 55-39 lead, and then cruised the rest of the way. The visiting Eagles got no closer than 14 points in the final 9:10 of the game, and trailed by as many as 22 points.
Southern Miss managed only eight baskets in the first half and another nine in the second half, while the Tigers were scoring 28 baskets on 28-of-61 (.459) shooting. The Eagles shot just .347, making 17 of 49 baskets. Southern Miss did make 20-of-23 (.870) free throws, including 14-of-15 (.933) in the second half.
The Tigers put four players in double figures with Sean Banks leading that group with 22 points. Rodney Carney added 18 more and Antonio Burks and Anthony Rice had 12 each. For the Eagles, Charles Gaines and Jasper Johnson had 14 points each and Jarekus Singleton 12. Memphis also won the battle of the boards, with 37 rebounds, compared to Southern Miss' 30.
Rice led both teams with nine rebounds for the Tigers, while Gaines had seven for the Golden Eagles.
Following the Memphis game, the Eagles end their road season with a game at DePaul (Feb. 28) and then close the regular season at home against Tulane (Mar. 3) and East Carolina (Mar. 8).