So. Miss Men’s Basketball survives late-game rally, secures first-ever Sun Belt Conference victory

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)(Mark Humphrey | AP)
Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 10:15 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Southern Miss Golden Eagles Men’s Basketball squad survived a late-game scare from the visiting Troy Trojans to secure their first Sun Belt Conference victory.

A physical battle between two squads who pride themselves on defense was inevitable on the night after playing their first game since the Christmas break.

Southern Miss led the Trojans 11-9 at the under-12-minute mark in the first half. Outside shooting was non-existent to begin the contest as the Golden Eagles led Troy by a low-scoring 26-23 slugfest at halftime. Both teams were sitting at a combined 1-17 from the 3-point arc.

At the start of the second half, Southern Miss seemed to find their groove offensively as they sparked a 10-2 run to increase their lead to 36-25, with the home crowd playing a huge role.

Forward Felipe Haase, who was held scoreless in Southern Miss’ previous game against the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, had a nice bounce-back game and hit the Golden Eagles’ first of two 3-point shots of the game at the 7:44 mark in the second half.

Southern Miss, leading 55-43 with under 5 minutes in the game looked to be headed for a comfortable win, but Troy had other ideas.

The Trojans rallied late to add a brief scare for the Southern Miss faithful, narrowing the lead down to just 3 points with under 2 minutes to play. However, the comeback effort came too late for Troy as Southern Miss beat the Trojans 64-60 to keep their undefeated record at Reed Green Coliseum alive.

Four Golden Eagles eclipsed the double-digit night in scoring, with guard Austin Crowley leading the team with 17 points. Haase, who scored Southern Miss’ only two 3-point baskets, recorded 16 points, with forwards Denijay Harris and Deandre Pinckney scoring 12 and 10 points.

The Golden Eagles’ defense was as stout as ever, forcing 16 turnovers - 10 of which came in the first half - and held the Trojan offense to a 35% field goal percentage.

Southern Miss improves to 12-2 (1-0 in conference play) on the year. The Golden Eagles will host Appalachian State on New Year’s Eve, Saturday. The game is set to being at 2 p.m. and will be aired on ESPN Plus.

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