RUSTON, LA (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi managed to hang around for a half of basketball Saturday evening in its Conference USA opener at Louisiana Tech University.
Then the Bulldogs sped away from the Golden Eagles, opening the second half with a 13-4 burst, and USM never caught up in a 71-56 loss at Thomas Assembly Center.
USM (8-5, 0-1 C-USA) managed to pull within three points late in the first half, 30-27, despite shooting about 25 percent from the floor.
And perhaps in a sign of things ahead, Tech (11-3, 1-0) hit a trey before the break to take a 33-27 halftime lead into the locker room.
But instead of stepping up, the Golden Eagles were brushed aside. Tech’s big run boosted the Bulldogs’ lead to 15 points and USM never recovered.
USM senior guard Dominic Magee did not play, and three of the starting lineups _ senior point guard
Tyree Griffin (1-of-9), junior forward Leonard Harper Baker (1-of-4) and junior forward Boban Jacdonmi (1-of-8) _ combined to make just 3 of 21 shots.
Sophomore forward LaDarius Draine came off the bench to score a team-high 13 points for the Golden Eagles. One of the main water bearers, senior guard Cortez Edwards, scored 10 points, but was just 4-of-12 from the floor with three rebounds and two assists.
Senior guards Kevin Holland and Anfernee Hampton each chipped in nine points.
Sophomore forward Anthony Duruji led the way for Tech with a game-high 23 points to go with seven rebounds and three steals.
Sophomore guard Jacolby Pemberton scored 14 points to go with seven rebounds and three assists. Junior point guard Daquan Bracey scored 11 points, handed out six assists and grabbed four rebounds. Junior forward Mubarak Muhammed scored six points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
The Golden Eagles stay on the for their next two C-USA games, visiting Rice University Thursday before stopping by the University of North Texas Saturday.