Clutch Free Throw Shooting Propels Southern Miss Over Spring Hill, 66-56

Clutch Free Throw Shooting Propels Southern Miss Over Spring Hill, 66-56

This is a news release from Southern Miss athletics

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Southern Miss connected on 9-of-10 from the free throw line over the final 1:16 to turn a two-point lead into a 66-56 victory over Spring Hill, Saturday night at Reed Green Coliseum.

The win improved Southern Miss to 5-3 on the season. It was its 19th consecutive victory and 51st victory overall over the Badgers, extending their school records.

Davon Hayes led Southern Miss with 16 points and five rebounds, both of which were career-highs. Rasham Suarez had a career-high 16 points while recording five boards and four assists and Matt Bingaya added 15 points, a game-high nine rebounds and a career-high four steals.

"You have to give Spring Hill credit," said Southern Miss head coach Doc Sadler. "Aaron's (Niven) team played extremely hard. They ran their offense and it was really, really good to play a team who ran a motion offense, because it can only help us. But, the sense of urgency was sporadic. We need to realize that each and every possession is important and that we can't just show up and play. But, to our credit, we won the game. They made some plays and we got a win."

Southern Miss scored first when Chip Armelin picked off a pass and went in for a dunk. However, Spring Hill then went on a 15-2 run over the next eight minutes, as the Golden Eagles missed their next seven shots while committing five turnovers.

Hayes then drained a three and Bingaya scored three straight baskets as Southern Miss pulled to within 15-13 with 7:58 to play in the half.

But, the Badgers went on an 11-3 run over the next 4:25 to push its lead back to double-digits at 26-16. But, Rasham Suarez hit two of his three first half three-pointers, as the Black and Gold closed the half on a 12-2 run to take a 29-28 lead heading into the break.

Spring Hill tied the game when Jarrett Calhoun hit one-of-two free throws to start the second half. The Golden Eagles scored eight of the next 10 points to take a 37-31 lead.

After a pair of free throws from Walter Massey, Jamie Chapman hit a three-pointer, his first points of the year, to give the Golden Eagles their largest lead of the game. The teams then traded baskets as Southern Miss led, 42-35, just 4:36 into the second half.

However, Spring Hill went on a 10-0 run over the next 2:59, capped off by a James Clarke three-pointer, giving the Badgers a 45-42 lead.

Bingaya and Dejan Stefanovic traded jumpers, but Norville Carey scored four straight points to give the Golden Eagles the lead with 9:46 to play. Spring Hill twice pulled to within one, but Southern Miss' free throw shooting down the stretch allowed it to pull away.

Southern Miss was held to just 40.4% (21-of-52) from the field and 35.0% (7-of-20) from three. Spring Hill shot just 22-of-56 (39.3%) from the floor and 8-of-24 (33.3%) from three. The Golden Eagles also outrebounded the Badgers, 38-36, snapping a five-game streak of being outrebounded.

Wesley Pietri led Spring Hill with 15 points.

Southern Miss begins a three-game road trip next Thursday, December 18, when it travels to Jackson State. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.