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Sports Basketball Golden Eagles continue to search for conference win

Golden Eagles continue to search for conference win


The Southern Miss men’s basketball team (4-14, 0-5 C-USA) hosted North Texas (10-8, 4-1 C-USA) Jan 16. Coach Jay Ladner and his team now have a losing streak of five games, all of which were conference opponents.
“Anything that hasn’t gone right I want to be the first to say that is my responsibility,” Ladner said. “I think the guys are trying hard. I have to do a better job coaching them and figuring out the best way for us to win, but the reality of what we are seeing is a lack of experience.”
Less than a minute into the game, North Texas started off the scoring with a three pointer from James Reese. Tyler Stevenson put the Golden Eagles on the board with back to back jumpers, giving Southern Miss the lead for only 17 seconds in the first half. North Texas jumped back in front with a three pointer from Umoja Gibson.
The Golden Eagles were unable to jump in front of the Mean Green despite a 54.2 field goal percentage and a 100 free throw percentage, making seven out of their seven attempts. Leonard Harper-Baker, Gabe Watson and LaDavius Draine each had two free throws for the half while Jay Malone had one. Stevenson led in field goals with five out of six and in points with 10 for the half.
At the end of the half, the Golden Eagles trailed the Mean Green by 10 points with a score of 44-34. North Texas started off hot with a jumper by Reese at 19:40 in the second half. Watson responded with back to back jumpers in an attempt to shrink the Mean Green’s lead. Malone continued the effort with a jumper followed by a free throw.
After a North Texas three pointer, Malone made another jumper followed by a jumper by Watson. Two free throws at the five-minute mark and a jumper at 2:15 from Jacdonmi rounded out the scoring for Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles lost with a score of 72-52.
“It sucks. There’s not really much else to it. It hurts,” Watson said. “We are a growing team right now, and we just need to pay attention to detail more.”
In the second half, the Golden Eagles field goal percentage dropped to 30.4% and made half of their attempted free throws. It is also notable that the team only attempted five three pointers, which is the first time since 2015 Southern Miss has attempted less than nine. Southern Miss also had 14 turnovers for the game, allowing North Texas to score 16 points off of turnovers.
“A lot of our turnovers were carelessness. Unforced turnovers, traveling with the basketball, those type of turnovers,” Ladner said. “Certainly you can’t win by turning the basketball over 14 times.”
Stevenson and Watson agreed that defense was a weakness for the Golden Eagles.
“We’ve just got to play defense,” Stevenson said. “We have to be locked in during practice and pay attention to detail. [Listen] to coach going over the defensive game plan. We’ve just got to stay locked in.”
Southern Miss looks to improve its record at home against Rice at 2 p.m. Jan. 18.

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