After losing their first home game of the season on Feb. 8 against the Old Dominion Monarchs, the Southern Miss Men’s basketball team (13-13 ,6-7 C-USA) bounced back against the Charlotte 49ers (518, 1-11) with a win on Saturday at Reed Green Coliseum.
The Golden Eagles got ahead of the 49ers early in the contest, relying on early Charlotte fouls and turnovers to gain an early lead. Though they maintained a lead for the entire first half, the team had trouble offensively against the Charlotte defense, converting only 38.2 percent of their shots offensively, including only 2-of-12 three-point attempts.
Charlotte also grabbed 15 defensive rebounds in the half, denying the Golden Eagles many opportunities for second-chance points.
After trailing the Golden Eagles 24-12 with 3:32 left to play in the first half, the 49ers offense found a spark, outscoring Southern Miss 12-6 the rest of the way to make it a 30-24 contest heading to halftime.
Guard Cortez Edwards led the way with 10 points and seven rebounds for the Golden Eagles in the first half.
“[We] thought the game was going to be a little easier than I knew it would be,” Head Coach Doc Sadler said. “They’ve [Charlotte] played everybody close.”
Southern Miss got things back on track in the second half, however. The team shot 48.1 percent overall and 50 percent from the three–point line in the second half, scoring 42 points on their way to the 72-54 victory. Seven more turnovers and 10 Charlotte fouls proved to be the difference in generating and keeping positive momentum for the Golden Eagles in the half.
Edwards and Magee led the team with 12 points apiece, followed by Ladavius Draine, who had three big three-pointers for the team in the second half and finished with 10 points on the night.
With five games left to play in the regular season, guard D’Angelo Richardson believes that this win is an important confidence-builder.
“We’re trying to get the momentum going back towards positive [momentum] and winning,” Richardson said. “This is a good start for us.”
The Golden Eagles will look to get their second straight home win when they take on Middle Tennessee in the third game of a four-game home stand on Feb. 15. Tipoff at Reed Green Coliseum is scheduled for 7 p.m.