Southern Miss (2-3) hosted cross town rival William Carey (4-4) on Nov. 24. The Golden Eagles earned their second win of the season with a final score of 83-64.
“Coming off 1-3 we really needed this win, and it was a rivalry so it was big game for us,” forward Tyler Stevenson said. “We came out here and did what we were supposed to do to get the win.”
The Golden Eagles led the first half with a 42-29 advantage from a 48.6 field goal percentage and 22 points in the paint. Both Stevenson and Boban Jacdonmi went three for five in field goals. Stevenson had 18 minutes of playing time compared to his average of seven minutes per game last season.
“[Stevenson] plays with tremendous energy,” head coach Jay Ladner said. “Eighteen minutes, he has 15 points and six boards, but he plays with such great energy and it’s contagious.”
Stevenson and Jacdonmi each had 15 points throughout the game. Jacdonmi also accounted for 12 of the team’s 44 rebounds.
“These are two players who rarely played at all last season, and one of them is seven for 11 from the field. The other one is six for nine, and both of those guys work their tail off every single day at practice,” Ladner said. “Good things happen to those who work hard.”
The team had a 71.4 free throw percentage after an 85.7 percent in the second half. The Golden Eagles also shot 46 points in the paint.
“Since coming back from Iowa State, we have had two good days of practice,” Ladner said. “I’ve seen some progress. Obviously there is not one phase of the game that we cannot improve on, which I say in a positive way, because we have a lot of room for improvement.”
The Golden Eagles will continue play in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament on Nov. 27 against No.8 Gonzaga.
“It’s good for us to have some momentum going into this trip,” forward Leonard Harper-Baker said. “We feel like we let a couple of games get away from us. We feel like we’ve only had one legit loss so far. We are just real positive going forward.”