SOUTHERN MISS ATHLETICS PRESS RELEASE
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Neil Watson's three-pointer with two seconds remaining capped off a 13-point second half comeback and gave Southern Miss a 60-57 victory over Marshall, Friday night at Reed Green Coliseum.
The victory was the sixth straight for Southern Miss and improved the Golden Eagles to 20-3, 7-1 in Conference USA. It is the first time in school history that Southern Miss has won at least 20 games five straight years.
Watson scored 10 points and had five assists. Aaron Brown led the Golden Eagles with 13 points. Michael Craig had 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists and Jerrold Brooks added 10 points.
Southern Miss trailed, 35-24, to start the second half. Cheikh Sane made a jumper to make it a 13 point game. Daveon Boardingham made two free throws, but Ryan Taylor hit a jumper. Brown then found Boardingham for a dunk before hitting a layup to cut the deficit to 39-30.
After the teams traded a pair of free throws, Kareem Canty drilled a three-pointer to give Marshall (8-16, 2-7) a 44-32 lead five minutes into the second half.
But a three from Watson send Southern Miss on a 9-0 run over the next 4:19 to pull the Golden Eagles to within 44-41.
A Canty three pushed the lead back to six points. Jeremiah Eason made one-of-two free throws, but Yous Mbao got a putback dunk to give Marshall a 49-42 lead with 8:32 remaining.
Watson hit another three and Craig connected on one-of-two from the line to make it 49-46. Ryan Taylor made one-of-two foul shots, but Brown drilled his second three-pointer of the game to cut the deficit to one point.
However, Southern Miss turned it over three of their next four possessions, as the Thundering Herd pushed the lead to four points. But, Southern Miss once again cut it to one on a Brooks three-pointer with 2:36 to play.
Marshall made it a three-point lead on a Chris Thomas jumper, but Watson found Brooks in the left corner for a three to tie the game at 55 with 1:02 to play. On the ensuing possession, Thomas found Shawn Smith wide open for a layup to give Marshall a 57-55 lead with 37 seconds to play.
Brooks missed a three and Craig was fouled on the rebound. But he missed the front end of a one-and-one and Sane was immediately fouled.
But, he missed the front end and Craig pulled down the rebound. After a timeout with six seconds left, Craig handed the ball off to Watson, who drained his three from the top of the key to give the Golden Eagles their first lead since 3-2. Brown sealed the victory with a pair of free throws.
After Chris Thomas gave Marshall the early lead, Aaron Brown drained a three-pointer. However, the Thundering Herd hit their next five shots and Southern Miss missed its next six as Marshall went on a 14-0 run to take a 16-3 lead just seven minutes into the game.
Chip Armelin then converted an and-one and Deonte Houston made a three to pull within 16-9. But a three from DeVince Boykins pushed the lead back to 10.
Jerrold Brooks made a layup and Brown hit a pair of free throws. Following a jumper from Tamron Manning, Jeremiah Eason made a jumper and Brown hit one-of-two free throws to cut the deficit to 21-16, with eight minutes to play in the first half. But Marshall went on a 9-2 run over the next 2:58 to extend the lead back to 12 at 30-18.
Neil Watson then hit one-of-two free throws, snapping his consecutive made free throw streak at 51. Michael Craig hit a jumper and made one foul shot to make it 30-22 with 1:23 to play.
The teams traded baskets, and with the first half coming to a close, Kareem Canty drained a three at the buzzer to give Marshall a 35-24 lead heading into halftime.
Southern Miss shot 52.8-percent (19-of-36) from the field, including 8-of-20 (40.0%) from three. Marshall was just 22-of-49 (44.9%) from the floor and 8-of-19 (42.1%). The Golden Eagles were outrebounded for just the third time this year, 31-to-23.
Taylor led Marshall with 17 points and nine rebounds. Canty had 11 points and Thomas added 10.