Southern Miss (8-6, 0-2 C-USA) continued its road stretch on Thursday to face Rice (6-9, 1-1 C-USA) in a game that featured two unique halves for the Golden Eagles. Southern Miss took a 42-33 lead into the halftime break, but Rice managed to take the lead in the second half and win the game 73-65.
“Sixty-five points in a game is not enough to beat a team that’s been good at home,” Southern Miss head coach Doc Sadler said. “You can’t fault the players’ effort, since it’s completely there, but we’re gonna have to keep looking at the film and keep trying to make some shots.”
At the start of the first half, Southern Miss got off to a hot start with redshirt senior Tyree Griffin adding two three-point shots to open scoring. The guard finished with a game-high 17 points and nine assists.
Southern Miss got off to a 14-5 lead in the first six minutes of play, which led to a timeout by Rice. Redshirt junior forward Tim Rowe came off the bench and went 2-for-2 on two free throw attempts after the timeout to give Southern Miss a 16-6 lead.
Midway through the first half, the Southern Miss defense started to slow down as Rice came back to cut the Southern Miss lead. The Owls cut the lead to 29-27 at the 4:41 mark, but the Golden Eagles scored 13 points the rest of the way to go up at halftime with a score of 42-33. The defense managed to force nine turnovers as well.
At the start of the second half, Rice went on a 19-4 run to get a 52-46 lead over the Golden Eagles. After that, Rice continued to hold the lead, but Southern Miss did manage to get the score within one point with 6:05 left to play, but Rice held on and took the win.
It was senior guard Cortez Edwards’ defense that showed up the most for the Golden Eagles in the contest. He finished with eight points and ten defensive rebounds to go along with three steals. Edwards moved passed Neil Watson for No. 3 in school history in the steals category and now has 162 steals in his career.
Along with Griffin’s 17 points, two other Golden Eagles had double-digit scoring games. Sophomore LaDavius Draine finished with 12 points and Rowe ended the game with 10 points.
Southern Miss will play its sixth consecutive road game against North Texas on Jan 5. Tip-off is set for 5 P.M.