HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Bulldogs bested the University of Southern Mississippi in the first matchup, and it's left the Golden Eagles drooling for a rematch ever since. Ask, and you shall receive.
And cue the action movie trailer- "This time, it's personal."
All joking aside, payback is exactly what the Eagles' men's basketball team will have on their minds when they meet Louisiana Tech in the second round of the National Invitational Tournament Monday night.
"We try to walk around and say it's not personal, but on our minds it is. It's a personal game," said Neil Watson after his team defeated Charleston Southern Wednesday night. The junior guard took a lot of the blame after the Eagles' 65-55 loss at La. Tech on Dec. 8, and believes had it not been for that loss, the Golden Eagles might be dancing.
"I blame myself for that loss every day, especially since we didn't get in to the NCAA tournament," said Watson, "That was probably one of the games that caused it."
Watson, now the team's third-leading scorer, contributed only six points and committed four fouls and six turnovers in the early-season loss that capped a six-game losing streak. Neither he, nor his team have the intention of duplicating what they believed to be their worst defensive outing of the season.
"I mean, it's just like a fight," said senior forward Jonathan Mills, "When somebody knocks you down, you want to come back and try again."
"We'll still carry ourselves very humble and very respectable, but this is a game we've been looking forward to for a long time," added Watson, "It's something we've talked about.
"If we get to see them again, they're going to see the real Southern Mississippi."