DENTON, TEXAS (WDAM) _ The University of Southern Mississippi allowed the University of North Texas just one basket in the final the five minutes of the teams’ Conference USA donnybrook Saturday at The Super Pit.
And yet, it may have been the most heart-breaking basket the Golden Eagles have allowed all season.
North Texas senior guard Michael Miller scored on a layup with 13 seconds to play to give the Mean Green the lead for good and senior guard Jorden Duffy added two free throws with 2 seconds to play to sew up a 65-62 victory.
USM senior guard Cortez Edwards, who scored a game-high 24 points, hit a jumper with 3:22 left in the game to complete a comeback that gave the Golden Eagles a 62-61 lead, their first since the 7:13 mark of the first half.
North Texas was in the midst of a 5-minute scoring drought, a span that also included a trio of turnovers.
But Edwards’ shot turned out to the final points of the game for the Golden Eagles. Sophomore wing LaDarius Darine missed a 3-pointer and senior point Tyree Griffin a jumper as USM left the door open by going without a point over the final 3:22.
After Miller’s layup coming out of timeout, USM had a look, but Griffin missed a jumper with 3 seconds to play, and Duffy capped off the game with his free throws.
The loss was the third in a row to open C-USA play for USM (8-7, 0-3), but all three losses were on the road. The Golden Eagles have been away from Hattiesburg for their past six games, dropping five along the way.
Edwards grabbed seven rebounds and had two steals to go with his scoring night.
Draine added 16 points, while junior forward Leonard Harper-Baker had 11 points with five rebounds and two blocked shots.
Griffin scored six points while adding five rebounds, four assists and seven steals.
North Texas (15-1, 3-0) had six players score between 11 points and eight points.
Duffy and senior guard Roosevelt Smart each scored 11 points.
Miller, who also grabbed eight rebounds, and freshman guard Umoja Gibson, who had six rebounds and two steals, each scored 10 points.
Senior guard Ryan Woolridge had nine points and five assists and sophomore forward Zachary Simmons added eight points and seven rebounds.
USM will open C-USA play at home in the upcoming week, welcoming Middle Tennessee State University at 7 p.m. Thursday at Reed Green Coliseum.