USM rallies past Marshall for 91-76 victory

USM rallies past Marshall for 91-76 victory
The Mississippi High School Activities Association basketball playoffs are now in the semifinal round, and eight teams from the Pine Belt are trying to play their way into championship games. (Photo source: Raycom Image Bank)

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - After posting its least productive game of the season Saturday afternoon, the University of Southern Mississippi men's basketball team outscored Thursday night one of the more prolific offensive teams in the country.

The Golden Eagles erased nine-point deficit midway through the second half, outscoring Marshall University 31-12 over the final nine minutes of the game to take a 91-76 Conference USA victory at Green Coliseum.

USM (7-15, 4-6 C-USA) snapped a three-game losing streak by putting up season-high points against Division I competition just five days after scoring a season-low 43 points at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

And the Golden Eagles did it without senior point guard Khari Price, who missed his third consecutive game with torn ligaments in his hand.

"Give our guys credit," USM coach Doc Sadler said. "They competed and beat a very, very good basketball team."

Marshall (13-10, 6-4) came into the game as the highest-scoring team in the conference and ninth-highest in the nation, averaging 87.1 points per game. All five Herd starters came into the game averaging 10 points per game or more.

"There's nobody in this league that's harder to defend than Marshall," Sadler said. "You just have to pick your poison with them, and (Thursday night), they missed some shots."

USM senior forward Quinton Campbell, who scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds, was one of six Golden Eagles to score nine points or more against the Herd.

Three players, junior guard D'Angelo Williams, sophomore guard Bilal Abdur Rhaim and sophomore center Eddie Davis, players came off USM's bench to combine for 38 points, 15 rebounds and six assists.

Davis, who hit 8 of 12 shots, scored 17 points with a team-high eight rebounds and three blocked shots. Richardson added 11 points, four rebounds and four assists, while Abdur-Rahim had 10 points with three rebounds.

Sophomore guard Cortez Edwards scored 16 points with five assists and four rebounds, while senior guard Michael Ramey added nine points.

Marshall got 21 points and five rebounds from junior guard Jon Elmore, 18 points and five rebounds from senior guard Stevie Browning. The Herd also got 15 points from senior guard Austin Loop and a double-double from senior forward Ryan Taylor, who had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The game featured seven lead changes and five ties, but once Edwards slammed home the ball to cap a 16-6 run to put USM ahead 65-64 with 9:02 to play, the Golden Eagles never trailed.

Up by five points, Richardson rebounded an air ball and dribbled off the base line to the top of the key before realizing the shot clock was clicking down. His shot just at the buzzer swished for a 3-pointer that put USM 75-67 with 3:30 to play.

"He shoots the ball and the buzzer goes off," Sadler said. "That was huge."

An Edwards drive and a Davis 3-pointer from the top of the key gave the Golden Eagles a 10-point lead with 2:18 to go, and the Herd never got closer than eight points after that.

The Golden Eagles shot 60.7 from the floor over the final 20 minutes and made 16 of 21 free throws in the second half. Marshall, which shot 51.6 percent in the first half, shot just 32.3 percent in the second.

"They're a team that nobody wants to play," Sadler said. "We were fortunate (Thursday night)."

The Golden Eagles will host Western Kentucky University (11-12, 5-5) at 4 p.m. Saturday at Green Coliseum.

Lady Eagles 82, Marshall 78

MARSHALL, W.Va. — Senior guard Brittny Norris scored a career-high 35 points Thursday as Southern Miss rallied from a 21-point, second-quarter deficit to down the Lady Herd.

Norris, who came in averaging 4.2 points per game, scored 32 of her 35 points in the final two periods, helping USM overcome a 14-point deficit to start the fourth quarter.

Norris made 12 of 17 shots from the floor, including 7 of 12 from 3-point range. Her 3-pointer with 17 seconds to play gave the Lady Eagles the lead for good.

USM senior guard Brittany Dinkins added 22 points, seven assists and five steals as the Lady Eagles (14-8, 6-4 C-USA) won their third consecutive game.

Shayna Gore led Marshall with 27 points, while Kiana Evans added 17 points and nine rebounds and Talequia Hamilton14 points and nine rebounds.

Marshall (12-9, 4-6) shot 57 percent from the floor, but hit just 11 of 22 free throws in the second half. USM forced the Lady Herd into 26 turnovers, turning those into 32 points.

The Lady Eagles will visit Western Kentucky University (16-6, 8-2) at 2 p.m. Saturday in Bowling Green, Ky.