Southern Miss extends undefeated start to 8-0

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 11:17 PM CST
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Southern Miss Sports Information

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Southern Miss men’s basketball team avenged its loss at Montana (3-5, 0-0 Big Sky) last year as it turned in a 64-54 win at Reed Green Coliseum Tuesday night against the Grizzlies. The Golden Eagles (8-0, 0-0 SBC) are off to their best start in over 60 years and are one of 18 unbeaten teams in the country.

The Grizzlies drew first blood, but Austin Crowley picked up right where he left off from his 24-point performance on Sunday against Mobile. Crowley splashed a three-point that put the Golden Eagles on track for a 13-3 run. The early run blew the roof off Reed Green Coliseum when Crowley threw down a massive dunk off an inbounds play. The lead grew to 10 when Donovan Ivory knocked down a three-pointer with 8:31 on the clock.

Ivory, who came off the bench, erupted for a season-high 20 points. The Kaukauna, Wisc. native had a stretch of seven straight points after that triple to put the Golden Eagles up by seven. Montana continued to claw back and trimmed it to five four separate times down the stretch in the first half. Felipe Haase stepped out from the paint to knock down a three that put Southern Miss back up by eight before the Grizzlies answered once again.

However, Mo Arnold took advantage of a Haase a steal and scored an easy layup to make it a 32-24 advantage at the break. The Golden Eagles limited themselves to two turnovers in the first 20 minutes and forced six against the Grizzlies. Ivory led all scorers in the first half with 10 points and Haase chipped in with eight.

If there was any question to whether Southern Miss could withstand a Montana comeback attempt, Crowley answered it 30 seconds into the second half when he scored a contested layup. Safe to say the Reed Green faithful were rocking at that point. The lead grew to 13 on a Haase jumper and then again to 13 on a DeAndre Pinckney pocket three. Brandon Whitney got the Grizzlies to within seven with 1:30 to play, but Southern Miss’ success at the free throw line sealed its eighth win.

The Golden Eagles went 20-of-26 from the line to reach 20 made free throws for the sixth time under head coach Jay Ladner. Ivory (7-of-7) and Haase (6-of-6) were both perfect at the charity stripe. Haase finished with 18 points and Pinckney with 10. Montana’s Lonnell Martin (18), Dischon Thomas (15) and Josh Bannan (10) all finished in double figures.

Led by Mo Arnold and Haase’s seven rebounds each, Southern Miss dominated on the glass en route to a 36-24 advantage. Its four turnovers were the fewest since allowed four at Alabama A&M on Dec. 13, 2017.

The last time Southern Miss got off to an 8-0 start? 1960-61. Ladner and the Golden Eagles will take their unblemished record to Northwestern State on Sunday, Dec. 4. Tipoff against the Demons is set for 3 p.m. in Natchitoches, La.

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