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Eagles Come Close, But Lose To LSU, 65-50

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Final Game Statistics

Eagles Come Close, But Lose To LSU, 65-50

HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- After shooting better than 50 per cent in its previous three games, Southern Miss, while playing hard throughout, turned in its worst shooting game of the season, making only 16-of-56 (.286) shots enroute to a 65-50 loss to LSU (6-0) in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center here Saturday afternoon.

The Golden Eagles (5-3) enjoyed their only lead of the game, at 2-0, quickly fell behind 8-2, trailed by as many as 13, at 21-8 at the 9:54 mark, before eventually closing to within six points, 30-24) at halftime. Then, in the second half, trailing by 11 points at 40-29 with 15:41 remaining in the game, Head Coach James Green's Eagles went on a 12-4 run to pull to within three points, at 44-41 with 9:58 left in the game.

Baskets by Jasper Johnson and Charles Gaines and a pair of free throws by Clement Carter got the Eagles that close. But from that 9:58 mark, Southern Miss would not score another basket from the field, making only nine free throws, while the homestanding Tigers were running off 21 points.

While losing does not come easy for Green, he did find positives in the game. "We played hard throughout," he said. "We let ourselves get pushed around some around the basket by bigger bodies, but we'll learn from that and we better prepared for it next time. We've made a lot of progress between the game we played at Murray State and the game we played tonight.

"We'll practice again tomorrow (Sunday), shoot around Monday and play again Monday night. That's the nature of the sport. There's never much time to savor victories or dwell on losses."

Southern Miss got another yeoman performance from Gaines, who scored 14 points, pulled down 12 rebounds, including four on the offensive end, and added a block and a steal in 31 minutes. Jasper Johnson also recorded a double-double, with 11 rebounds and 12 points, and David Haywood had nine and Carter eight.

While shooting only .286, the Eagles did continue their strong shooting from the free throw line, making 16-of-19 (.842), and the Southern Miss defense limited the Tigers to .431 (28-65) shooting from the field, and USM also won the rebounding battle, 45-38, including an 11-8 edge on the offensive boards.

Following Saturday's game, the Eagles will host William Carey, Dec. 22, in a 7 p.m., game, and then will take a short holiday break before ending 2003 play with a Dec. 30 game at Auburn.

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