Heading into the contest with a 7-0 record at home, the Southern Miss men’s basketball team (10-10, 3-4 C-USA) capitalized on turnovers and three-point shooting to earn an 86-75 victory over Rice on Thursday night at Reed Green Coliseum.
The Owls started the game off hot, making seven of their first nine shots in the first 10 minutes of the half. After a slow offensive start in the first few minutes of the game, the Golden Eagles eventually warmed up, taking their first lead on a Griffin three-pointer at the 11:39 mark in the first half.
Though the lead changed seven times in the first half, the Golden Eagles capitalized on 16 points off turnovers and seven three-point shots to head into halftime with a 43-36 lead.
Guards Dominic Magee and LaDavius Draine led all Southern Miss scorers with 10 points each in the first half. Both players were also two-of-three from the three-point line in the half.
Southern Miss continued their offensive momentum during the second half, but Rice made it a close game at the end, getting to within eight points of the Golden Eagles with three minutes left to play. The Golden Eagles would then go on a 6-0 run to end the game and come away with the 86-75 victory.
While Southern Miss Head Coach Doc Sadler liked the offensive performance from his team, he believes that the team’s defense has room for improvement.
“Defensively, I wasn’t as pleased,” Sadler said. “We talked before the game that what we had to do a good job of was take care of the lane. We didn’t do that in the first half.”
Four Southern Miss players had double-digit scoring games. Magee led the team with 22 points and four rebounds, followed by Draine with 16 points, Tyree Griffin with 14 and Cortez Edwards with 13 and a triple-double.
One of the biggest factors that led to the Golden Eagles win over the Owls was their ability to convert turnovers into points. The team generated 12 steals and had 36 points off turnovers for the contest.
The win puts the Golden Eagles back at .500 for the season. They will look to get over .500 when the team faces North Texas on Saturday. Tipoff at Reed Green Coliseum is set for 4 p.m.