BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WDAM) _ Junior wing LaDavius Draine and sophomore guard Gabe Watson posted career scoring bests, combining for 55 points as the University of Southern Mississippi knocked off the University of Alabama-Birmingham 84-77 Thursday night at the Bartow Arena.
Draine, who went 9-of-9 from the free-throw line, tied a career-high with 28 points and added three steals.
Watson, who went 4-of-8 from 3-point range, scored career-best 27 points, adding four assists and two steals.
USM (6-14, 2-5 Conference USA) won back-to-back games for the first time this season and recorded its first road win of the season.
UAB freshman guard Jalen Benjamin went for a game-high 29 points, hitting 6-of-10 treys. He also had four rebounds for the Blazers (12-8, 3-4).
USM shot lights out in an arena that had long been anything but kind to the Golden Eagles. USM shot 55.6 percent from the floor in taking a six-point halftime lead.
The Golden Eagles shot 68 percent in the second half (17-of-25), leading by as many as 16 points with 9 minutes, 42, seconds left in the game.
The Blazers made things interesting down the stretch. UAB sophomore Tavian Lovan hit a 3-pointer with 38 seconds to play that pulled UAB within five points.
Draine hit a pair of free throws to bump the lead to seven points before Benjamin made hias final 3-pointer of the night to get UAB back within four.
Those were the Blazers’ final points.
Senior forward Leonard Harper-Baker made a free throw with 26 seconds to play to give USM a five-point edge and Draine wrapped up the scoring with two free throws with 14 seconds to play.
USM sophomore forward Tyler Stevenson added 12 points and freshman wing Artur Konontsuk had 10. Stevenson and Konontsuk each grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.
UAB got 14 point from Lovan and another 10 points from junior guard Tyreek Scott-Grayson.
USM sophomore guard Jay Malone, who was instrumental in USM’s home victory over Rice University Saturday, did not make the trip to UAB.
The Golden Eagles will remain on the road, traveling to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to take on Middle Tennessee State University (4-16, 0-7) at 5 p.m. Saturday.