Returning to action at Reed Green Coliseum for the first time since Dec. 16, the Southern Miss men’s basketball team earned its first conference win of the season against UTEP, breaking a four-game losing streak for the team.
Consistency on both sides of the ball was a key factor for Southern Miss in the victory. Offensively, the Golden Eagles shot 60 percent from the field during the contest, as well as converting 8-of-10 free throw attempts. Turnovers were also key to the Golden Eagle victory, as the team generated a total of 14 steals and 34 total turnovers during the game.
Head Coach Doc Sadler also said that the team’s ability to generate assists against UTEP helped to maintain offensive success. The team finished with a total of 19 assists in the contest.
“When we share the ball, we are a much better offensive team,” Sadler said. “We’re getting better shots if we’ll make that extra pass.”
Guards Dominic Magee and Cortez Edwards led the way in scoring for Southern Miss in the first half with 10 points each, helping the Golden Eagles head into halftime with a 35-24 lead.
“We just wanted to come out with energy,” Edwards said. “We felt like we were the better team.”
In the second half, UTEP was able to find some offensive momentum, slightly outscoring the Golden Eagles 51-50. The Golden Eagles held on to their lead, however, on the heels of 17 second-half points from junior guard Tyree Griffin and 11 more from Magee, giving them the 85-75 win over the Miners.
Overall, five Golden Eagles finished with double-digits in the points column. Magee finished as the team’s leading scorer with 21 points, followed by Griffin with 19 and Edwards with 14. Kevin Holland and D’Angelo Richardson also finished the game with 10 points each. Defensively, Edwards lead the team with four steals and forward Tim Rowe grabbed five defensive rebounds.
With the win, the Golden Eagles are now 8-8 on the season, including 1-2 in conference play. The team returns to action on Jan. 6 to face UTSA. Tipoff in Reed Green Coliseum is scheduled for 4 p.m.