USM tops UTSA 85-56

After losing two straight games on the road, the Southern Miss Golden Eagles (22-5, 9-3) got back on track with an 85-56 home win against the UTSA Roadrunners (8-17, 4-8).

Shooting guard Jerrold Brooks put the first points on the board with a three-pointer from the right wing. The Golden Eagles got the ball right back as UTSA was called for a traveling violation.

On UTSA’s first possession Philip Jones was fouled and hit two free throws, Boardingham was left opened and knocked down a jumper. Keon Lewis found Edrico McGregor streaking to the goal for a dunk following Boardingham’s bucket.

Boardingham found his hot spot again and hit another jumper, before Watson hit two free throws to give Southern Miss a 9-4 lead just 3:21 into the game. The teams then traded baskets over the next two minutes, with Keon Lewis hitting a three to pull UTSA within four.

After Bingaya hit a jumper, the Roadrunners went on an 8-2 run to take its first lead of the game, 19-17, midway through the first half. An Aaron Brown three-pointer followed by baskets from Watson and Jeremiah Eason made it 24-19. But, three free throws from Jordan Sims and Edrico McGregor‘s jumper gave UTSA five straight points tied the game at 24.

Bingaya made one-of-two free throws before Hyjii Thomas hit a pair to give the Roadrunners a 26-25 lead. Boardingham made a jumper before hitting one-of two foul shots, but two free throws from Keon Lewis tied it at 28 with 1:52 to play in the half.

Deonte Houston hit a jumper and Brooks hit one-of-two from the line then fouled Jones on the rebound. Phillip Jones hit two free throws, but Houston added one more as Southern Miss held a slim 32-30 lead at the break.

USM shot 48 percent (12-25) from the field, 33.3 percent (2-6) from beyond the arc and 60 percent from the charity stripe in the first half, while UTSA shot 42.1 percent (8-19) from the field, 28.6 percent (2-7) from beyond the arc and 92.3 percent (12-13) from the charity stripe.

“In the first half, I thought we did a decent job,” said Southern Miss head coach Donnie Tyndall. “But the second half, we got some buckets early and were able to get our mojo back. We were able to wear them down in the second half.”

The Golden Eagles came out in the second half and immediately turned up the pressure, hitting their first eight shots to jump out to a 49-34 lead. Boardingham came out in the second half playing like a man possessed . He started the second half with three straight two handed jams then knocked down a jumper for the Golden Eagles first four baskets of the second half.

“I just wanted to pump the team up and give them a little edge to get our swagger back,” said forward Daveon Boardingham.

UTSA would hit four straight free throws to cut it to 11, but a Jerrold Brooks three-pointer started a 15-2 Southern Miss run to push the lead to 24 and put the game away as USM won 56-85.

Daveon Boardingham led all scorers with 19 points. Aaron Brown had 15, Jerrold Brooks had 13 and Matt Bingaya posted 12 points and a game-high seven rebounds. Neil Watson added nine points and seven assists.

The 29-point margin is the fourth largest victory this season in Conference USA play. Southern Miss shot 52.5 percent (31-of-59) from the floor and 45.5 percent (5-of-11) from three. The Roadrunners were held to just 12-of-44 shooting and 4-of-20 from three. The Golden Eagles were outrebounded, 40-to-34, but recorded 22 assists and 12 steals.