Southern Miss’ three-game winning streak was ended Saturday afternoon with a 78-60 loss at Old Dominion. Despite a few notable individual performances, the Golden Eagles (11-8, 3-4 C-USA) could not catch up to the Monarchs before the final buzzer.
The brunt of the double-digit deficit was created in the first half of play, with the Monarchs setting the tone both in the paint and behind the perimeter. Southern Miss led 22-15 at the nine-minute mark of the first half, but four straight three-pointers from allowed Old Dominion to retake the lead. The Golden Eagles trailed 40-29 entering the halftime break.
Though Southern Miss fought toe-to-toe with Old Dominion in the last 20 minutes, even hanging within six points of their conference opponent at the 15-minute mark during the second period, they were unable to cut into the lead.
Several things will surely be pointed out on the box score as reasons for the loss. The Monarchs outshot the Golden Eagles from behind the arc, outrebounded them 45-32 (including a 23-9 advantage in offensive rebounds) and registered more assists and more steals.
“They are a bigger, stronger and more physical team,” Southern Miss head coach Doc Sadler said. “When you give up 23 offensive rebounds, you aren’t going to win many games. That’s what we did. I wish I could say it was something we didn’t do, but it’s what they did. They just beat us.”
Half of Southern Miss’ rebounding efforts were attributed to redshirt junior forward Leonard Harper-Baker, who posted 14 rebounds to go along with six points, four blocks and two assists. Redshirt senior guard Tyree Griffin posted another impressive offensive performance, posting 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting along with seven assists and a steal.
Sophomore guard LaDavius Draine made just one-of-three attempts from the field for three points to go along with six rebounds in 26 minutes of play. Draine averaged 14 points per game through the team’s first five contests in January and 10.1 points per game through the team’s first 18 games.
Though the loss drops the Golden Eagles in the Conference USA standings, the team will return to Hattiesburg for two back-to-back home games next week. Southern Miss has won four consecutive games—and five of its last six—at Reed Green Coliseum.
Southern Miss will return to action on Thursday, Jan. 24 as host to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.