Underrated defense dominates against Marshall
After beating Marshall 91 – 76, Southern Miss has won four of their last five conference home games, limiting their opponents to 65.2 points per game.
Despite Marshall’s offensive ability to score above that average, Southern Miss’ defense still propelled them in the victory.
“We were feeding off of getting stops,” said guard D’Angelo Richardson. “If a team shoots fast like that and they start making a lot of them, it can wear down on your focus and [get] you down a little bit. I felt like once we started getting stops, it went good for us.”
Marshall came into the game averaging 87.1 points per game. Jon Elmore led with an average of 19.1 points per game. The Thundering Herd also average 27 attempted three-pointers per game, converting 37 percent of those shots. But against the Golden Eagles, Marshall connected on 9-of-30 shots from the deep trey. The Golden Eagles held Marshall to connecting only 9-of-30 three point shots.
“Once they saw we were matching their [energy], but we executed a little bit better than them – it started to wear down on them,” Richardson said. “We were going at them on the defensive end, and we were getting stops.”
The Herd averages 12.5 turnovers a game and even though USM was not able to force that total in this contest, the Golden Eagles did limit the Thundering Herd to 42 percent shooting from the field.
Sadler often says his defense leads to his offense being more efficient by gaining more possessions. The Golden Eagles were able to get eight points off of turnovers, helping to push their lead down the stretch to hold on for the 15-point win.
“I thought we were aggressive offensively,” said Head Coach Doc Sadler. “They are a team that wants to outscore you 102 – 100. Tonight our defense was a little bit better than theirs.”
It was not all about the Southern Miss defense in this contest. The offense, led by Quinton Campbell’s 24 points, did well in the absence of their senior point guard Khari Price. Southern Miss shot 56 percent from three-point territory, despite only having two players make over 35 percent of their three-pointers this season.
“I didn’t want to shoot a lot of threes,” Sadler said. “More than anything, our offense slowed their offense down. I didn’t want to shoot a lot. [Marshall] just missed some wide-open shots.”
The Southern Miss offense exploded for their second-highest season point total with 91 points against the Thundering Herd, making 9-of-16 from three-point range and only accounting for ten turnovers. Even though their defense will get the majority of the credit, Sadler credits his overall team’s effort in the team’s seventh win on the season.
“I couldn’t be anymore pleased with the guys to come in here and get a win against maybe as good of an offensive team in this league,” Sadler said. “It’s always good to win. I’m just happy for our team. Any win they get, I’m so happy for them.”