Golden Eagles fall in back-to-back contests at home
The Golden Eagles missed out on taking down one of the best teams in Conference USA.
“It’s probably the toughest loss I’ve had to take,” said junior Khari Price.
Southern Miss fell to UAB 80-77 in double overtime on Thursday night at Reed Green Coliseum.
That was the fifth loss in the last seven games for the Golden Eagles.
Time after time, Southern Miss fought back after falling behind once again finding the range from beyond the arc. The Golden Eagles surpassed a previous season-high for 3-pointers in a game knocking down 16-of-38 from 3-point range.
As the game went on, fatigue started to set in. The Golden Eagles made only one of their final 10 attempts from long range.
“My legs, they were heavy, yeah,” Price said, who recorded his third double-double of the season with 14 points and a career-high 12 assists.
Southern Miss came back from eight points down in the first half and again from 10 points down again in the subsequent half.
USM was ahead 65-63 with 3:13 in the final period, hoping to take down the conference-leading UAB Blazers. Southern Miss was able to provide great defense against the Blazer attack, but gave up a UAB slam with just 1:02 left in regulation.
The Golden Eagles and the Blazers headed to overtime tied at 65-65 at the end of regulation.
UAB took the first four points of the first overtime. Southern Miss stormed back to put the pressure on the Blazers to score the final basket of the extra period to send the game to a second overtime.
UAB looked to take the go- ahead layup after Price slipped near the top of the key and lost the ball with 44 seconds left. But key reserve Michael O’Donnell met the Blazers guard at the rim for a blocked shot and scored on a left- handed layup with 12.6 seconds to play after a dish from Price.
UAB scored yet again on a driving layup, and senior Kourtlin Jackson’s shot off the left wing missed as the teams headed to a second overtime tied at 73.
Ultimately after two overtimes, two final 3-point shots failed to find the mark at the end of the game. UAB survived an 80-77 double overtime dogfight.
“We had so many chances,” Jackson said. “We definitely could have won it.”
Jackson, who made five 3-pointers, finished with a game- high 21 points and seven of the team’s 12 steals.
The Golden Eagles dropped its third consecutive game while losing to the Blazers for the fourth time in a row. Coach Doc Sadler echoed Jackson’s remarks.
“We had a couple shots at it, but there’s a reason they’re leading the conference,” Sadler said. “Obviously, I’m disappointed we didn’t win the basketball game, but I’m proud of them too.”
Both teams had four players each score at least 13 points. Each team had one player post a double-double.
The Golden Eagles ended the weekend facing Middle Tennessee State on Saturday night.
Southern Miss was coming off Thursday’s grueling, double- overtime loss to UAB.
“Give them a lot of credit, but we [were] just wore out,” Sadler said. “Wejustcouldnotgo.”
The Golden Eagles came out strong in the first half. Southern Miss held MTSU to only eight baskets in the first half for a total of 27 points.
Michael Ramey’s 12 points on a 4-of-4 perfect shooting from three off the bench helped set the offensive tone, and Jackson’s 10 points also helped Southern Miss take a 37-32 lead into halftime.
The Golden Eagles hit eight 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes, shooting 53 percent from beyond the arc.
The second half was a different story.
“We played as good a first- half defense as we can,” Sadler said. “Then, in the second half, offensively and defensively, we were in mud.”
The Blue Raiders went on an 18-3 run to start the second half, opening up a 10-point lead, 45-35.
MTSU made 17 of its first 22 shots to open the second half, including nine of 10 from 3-point land.
The Golden Eagles struggled late getting no closer than seven points the rest of the game.
The Blue Raiders onslaught continued much of the second half, defeating Southern Miss 76-54.
Southern Miss ( 7-16, 4-8 Conference USA) dropped its fourth consecutive game and lost by the largest margin since an 87- 57 loss on Jan. 2 at Louisiana Tech.
Southern Miss will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak when they travel to El Paso to face UTEP on Feb. 18.