Cold-shooting USM falls at MTSU, 69-49

Cold-shooting USM falls at MTSU, 69-49
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)

MURFREESBORO, TN - The University of Southern Mississippi struggled with its shooting touch Saturday evening in a 69-49 loss to Middle Tennessee State University at the Murphy Center.

USM (9-10, 2-4 C-USA), which fell to 0-4 on the road in conference play, shot just 36.1 percent from the floor, including an icy 3-of-18 (16.7 percent) from 3-point range.

The 49 points were the fewest by the Golden Eagles in a conference game this season, and the third-fewest overall, trailing only their 45 points at Florida State University and 47 points at the University of Michigan.

Saturday, the Golden Eagles trailed by only six points at halftime, 30-24, but were outscored by the Blue Raiders (13-4, 5-0) by 14 points in the second half.

MTSU, which remained atop the C-USA standings by winning its fifth consecutive game, didn't shoot particularly well, either, hitting just 41.3 percent from the field. But the Blue Raiders outrebounded 50-23, hauling down 18 offensive rebounds in the process.

USM junior guard Tyree Griffin led the Golden Eagles with a game-high 21 points and all three of the Golden Eagles' assists.

USM freshman swingman LaDarius Draine posted his second consecutive double-figure scoring game with 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Junior guard Cortez Edwards added 10 points and six rebounds.

Junior guard Anfernee Hampton was the only other USM player to score, adding four points.

Junior guard Dominic Magee, who had started eight of nine games previous to USM's two-game road swing, did not play for a second consecutive game.

MTSU got 19 points and eight rebounds from senior forward Brandon Walters. Senior guard Giddy Potts added 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals, while senior forward Nick King had eight points and 10 rebounds.

USM returns home for a two-game homestand, starting at 7 p.m. Thursday when the Golden Eagles host Rice University at Reed Green Coliseum.