USM comes up empty in ‘Search 4 Atlantis’

USM comes up empty in ‘Search 4 Atlantis’

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (WDAM) _ The University of Southern Mississippi perhaps saved its best performance for its last game at the “Search 4 Atlantis” men’s basketball tournament.

But for the third consecutive game, the Golden Eagles had issues slowing down an opponent’s offense.

The University of Alabama shot 72.7 percent from the floor in the second half Friday night, pulling away from a three-point halftime advantage to claim a 83-68 victory over USM.

The Golden Eagles (2-6) dropped all three games at the event, including a pair to teams ranked in the top 15 nationally and USM went down swinging against the Crimson Tide (3-4).

After falling behind 24-6 to start the game, the Golden Eagles got within 38-35 at halftime. USM still was within 51-45 with 13 minutes, 29 seconds, to play, but Alabama went on a 17-4 run to all-but-decide the game.

Guard Gabe Watson led USM with 19 points, while forward Tyler Stevenson came off the bench for 10 points and seven rebounds. Forward Leonard Harper-Baker scored 11 points and came up with four steals.

Alabama, which became the third consecutive tournament foe to hit at least 10 3-point baskets against USM with 15, got 23 points from James Bolden and another 21 points from Kira Lewis Jr.

USM returns to action at 7 p.m. Wednesday, when the Golden Eagles welcome Tulane University to Reed Green Coliseum.

No. 13 Seton Hall 81, Southern Miss 56

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (WDAM) _ For a second consecutive night at the “Search 4 Atlantis” men’s basketball tournament, an opponent made more than half its shots as well as knocking down double-digit 3-pointers against USM.

And, for a second consecutive night, the Golden Eagles saw a top-15 foe pull away for the victory.

Thursday night, No. 13 Seton Hall University steadily built a bigger and bigger lead, holding a nine-point halftime lead before easing away to an 81-56 victory.

The Pirates (5-2), who made 10 treys on the night, shot 50.9 percent from the floor and closed the game on a 17-3 run.

USM (2-5) was led by guard Gabe Watson, who hit 7-of-11 shots and wound up with 18 points and four rebounds. Swingman LaDavius Draine, who made four 3-pointers, scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half.

Forward Tyler Stevenson finished with 11 points. for the Golden Eagles.

Seton Hall got a team-high 18 points from Myles Powell. Sandro Mamukelashvili added 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Tyrese Samuel had 10 points.

Playing against one the largest frontcourts in college basketball nationally, USM was outrebounded, 41-26.

The Golden Eagles also were escorted to the free-throw line for only five shots, making four. Seton Hall went 15-of-24 from the foul line.

USM will face the University of Alabama (2-4) at 8:30 p.m. Friday to wrap up its three-day diet of games.

No. 7 Gonzaga 94, Southern Miss 69

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (WDAM) _ The Golden Eagles kept pace for the first 7 ½ minutes of the tournament-opening contest Wednesday night.

But the Bulldogs (7-0), who shot 58 percent from the floor, broke the game open with a 13-0 run. Gonzaga 53-32 at halftime and led by as many 32 points in the second half.

Gonzaga knocked down the 13 3-pointers, including a 7-of-8 effort from beyond the arc from Corey Kispert, who scored a game-high 28 points.

USM (2-4) hit a season-high 11 3-pointers Wednesday, including five from Draine, who shared team-high scoring honors with 19 points.

Artur Kononstuk hit a career-high 19 points for USM and Watson had 10.

Joel Ajayi added 21 points for the ‘Zags.

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