HATTIESBURG, Miss. — The Southern Miss men’s basketball team continued its home cooking inside Reed Green Coliseum on Thursday, leading by as much as 20 in an eventual 86-75 victory over Rice. The Golden Eagles picked up their 10th win, the most for the program since 2011-12.
“I think offensively, we were pretty good the whole ballgame with only 23 assists and eight turnovers,” head coach Doc Sadler said. “Defensively, I wasn’t as pleased. We talked before the game that what we had to do a good job of was take care of the lane. We didn’t do that in the first half. In the start of the second half, we did and built up a 20-point lead. We haven’t had many of those, and maybe we don’t know how to play with those yet. Hopefully we will get to experience more of those.”
The Golden Eagles (10-10, 3-4 C-USA) snapped a six-game losing streak to the Owls. Four of those losses were by three points or less. The team is 8-0 at home, with all its wins coming by double-digits.
Southern Miss pushed its lead to 75-55 with 7:04 to go on a Dominic Magee steal and dunk. The Owls got within single-digits at the 3:29 mark, the first-such instance in 11 minutes. Rice got within five at the 1:03 mark, but missed its second free-throw, and LaDavius Draine calmly sank a short baseline jumper with 36 seconds left to build the lead to 82-75 and give the Golden Eagles the cushion they needed.
The Golden Eagles took their first lead of the game (18-17) at the 12:04 mark when Cortez Edwards picked off a pass and took it almost the length of the floor for a two-handed dunk. Southern Miss took it for good on Draine’s three-pointer for a 32-31 advantage at 5:04.
Southern Miss was perfect on its first seven field goal attempts of the second half, spanning more than seven minutes. It helped push the game to its largest margin at 59-46.
Magee’s 22 points led the way for the Southern Miss, with Draine (16 points), Tyree Griffin (14) and Edwards (13) following suit. Draine has three consecutive double-digit scoring games after having just 30 coming into the previous weekend.
Griffin also had six assists and four steals with four three-pointers.
The Golden Eagles (10-10, 3-4 C-USA) now host North Texas at 4 p.m. CT on Saturday.
-Cortez Edwards set a new career-high in assists with 10. He previously had eight against UTSA and Rice, both last year.
-Edwards’ 13 points, 10 assists and six steals put him that close to the first Southern Miss triple-double since Ronald Jackson in 1980.
-Dominic Magee scored 22 points on 7-for-9 shooting. He also had 18 and 21 in each of his last two games (vs. UTEP and UTSA), with this one marking his third 20-point game of the season.
-Southern Miss’ 23 assists were its most against a Division I team this season. It also had 21 against UAB seven days before.
-The Golden Eagles also had 12 steals. It had 14 against UTEP, which stands as the most against a Division I team in the Doc Sadler era.
-Southern Miss went 15-for-16 at the line (93.8 percent). It was its first time shooting 90 percent since Feb. 16, 2017 against FIU.
-The Golden Eagles have shot 80 percent or better from the foul line in six consecutive games.