Golden Eagles earn first bonus play win

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Playing on the road for the second straight game, the Southern Miss men’s basketball team (18-11, 10-7 C-USA) earned a 59-52 conference bonus play win over the Old Dominion Monarchs on Wednesday night in Norfolk, Virginia. As the Conference USA regular season champions, Old Dominion entered the contest with a 23-6 record and grabbed a 76-62 victory the first time the two teams met on Jan. 19.

Redshirt senior Tyree Griffin opened up scoring for Southern Miss in the first half with an early three-pointer, which allowed the Golden Eagles to expand their early lead to 8-3. Old Dominion tied the game at the 8:10 mark with a three-point shot, but Southern Miss outscored the Monarchs 16-9 the rest of the way to take a 31-24 lead at halftime.

In the second half, Old Dominion chipped away at the Southern Miss lead early on. A jump shot at 15:27 in the half tied the game at 34-34. Southern Miss quickly regained the lead, but the two teams traded leads and tie scores multiple times throughout the half.

With Southern Miss holding a 55-49 late in the contest, the Monarchs inched closer to the lead again with another three-point shot that cut the score to 55-52. However, senior Cortez Edwards converted on a dunk with 43 seconds remaining to extend the Southern Miss lead to 57-52. Redshirt junior Leonard Harper-Baker was successful on two free throws with 17 seconds left to put the final touches on the win for the Golden Eagles.

Harper-Baker accounted for 15 of the team’s 40 rebounds in the contest. Out of the 15 boards, 11 of those came on the defensive side of the ball. Southern Miss also took advantage of 14 Old Dominion turnovers and held the Monarchs’ offense to 34 percent shooting on the night.

Sophomore LaDavius Draine finished as the leading scorer for the Golden Eagles, totaling 18 points off of the bench. Griffin finished with 16 points and eight assists on the night, while Edwards totaled 11 points and four steals. Edwards also passed former Golden Eagle Curtis Green (1980-1984) to become the school’s all-time leader in steals.

Southern Miss will return to Reed Green Coliseum for the final game of the regular season against UTSA on Mar. 9 at 2 p.m. The Golden Eagles earned a 78-71 win over the Roadrunners on Feb. 14.