Watson's 3 saves Golden Eagles, leads to 77-69 overtime win

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM)- Down three and the clock showing 6.1 seconds left to play, transfer sophomore Neil Watson sprinted up court, let it fly from the left wing, and connected from three to force Southern Miss and Tulsa to overtime with .05 seconds left to spare.

Afterwards, Watson said he felt the shot should have come from teammates Angelo Johnson or Maurice Boldin. Either way, it worked, and Southern Miss escaped with a 77-69 overtime win over conference rival Tulsa.

With Memphis defeating Tulane on the road, Memphis and Southern Miss (22-4, 9-2) remain tied for first place in the conference standings.

The black and gold seemed to have everything in hand with 9:09 remaining. Two Jonathan Mills free throws gave the home Golden Eagles  a 52-37 advantage. Not five minutes later, Southern Miss trailed Tulsa by one.

The visiting Golden Hurricane (15-11, 8-4) went on a 18-3 run, fueled by cold shooting and five Southern Miss turnovers. But by the time the game reached overtime, Tulsa found themselves with limited options. Three Golden Hurricane players, who provided a combined 20 points, five blocks and 12 rebounds, fouled out of the contest, and Southern Miss began the overtime period on a 9-0 run to seal the deal.

Jonathan Mills led the Golden Eagles with a double-double, scoring 25 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, while Watson fell five rebounds short of a double-double. The guard scored 18 and snatched five boards.

Three Tulsa players scored in double figures, while Scott Haralson lead the Golden Hurricane with 19 points and three rebounds.

While Tulsa shot the ball better, connecting on 45 percent to the Golden Eagles' 37 percent, Southern Miss scored 31 points from the charity stripe. Tulsa had only 18 attempts from the free throw line.

Southern Miss won't return to the Reed Green Coliseum until Feb. 25, when they host Rice. Saturday, begins a two-game road trip, first with Houston, then Feb. 22 when they travel to University of Texas-El Paso.

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