HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The back of the rim was the only difference in USM's 61-58 loss to Rice on Saturday afternoon.
The Golden Eagles (6-13, 3-4 C-USA) rallied back from a 24-point second-half deficit to the Owls (13-7, 3-4 C-USA) and were down three points with just 1.4 seconds left.
Rice's Egor Koulechov's free throw attempt rolled off the rim giving USM senior Quinton Campbell one last-chance heave at the basket.
Campbell narrowly missed what would've been his first three-pointer, snapping Southern Miss' three-game home win streak.
"They fight," said Southern Miss head basketball coach Doc Sadler. "They fight, that's a credit to them, high character kids. They don't quit. And believe me, a lot of these guys sat down in the dorm all night long and didn't get no sleep. That's not an excuse that's just a fact. Fact of the matter is we were down 24 points in the second half and we kept playing."
Following the game, Sadler gave his condolences to those affected by the Hattiesburg tornado. Southern Miss redshirt freshman and Hattiesburg native Christian Clark's uncle had a house that was damaged. One of Sadler's managers had family in Petal affected by the storm as well.
"What we do is real important to us and sometimes we take it really seriously which we should, it's our job," Sadler said. "Things like this morning puts a lot of things in perspective. Obviously, you just hate anyone to go through the things they have to go through because it's tough."