Tae Hardy leads Golden Eagles in victory against William Carey


Photos by: Tyron Dawson

Southern Miss defeated the William Carey Crusaders 81-67 in the annual Mayor’s Cup Tuesday night. Behind a dominant first half, the Golden Eagles start with a 1-0 record and hold a three-game win streak in the matchup.

From the start, Southern Miss made the game a runaway on a 24-2 run.They were leading in every stat and there was no turning back from that point on. William Carey was shooting just seven percent from the floor during the opening stretch.

“I thought we really had, after Delta State, locked in at practice,” said Head Coach Jay Ladner. “I love the way that carried over into tonight’s game.” 

William Carey settled in as they did score 23 points to end the first half. The Crusaders couldn’t slow down the Golden Eagles, though as Southern Miss led at halftime 52-25.

After posting no points in the exhibition match against Delta State, junior guard Tae Hardy led the Golden Eagles in scoring against William Carey.

“I know how much Tae works,” said junior forward Isaih Moore. “Man, he had 30? Yeah, that’s Tae.” 

Hardy had 30 points on a sharp 10 of 16 shooting and four of nine from three-point land. Hardy shot six of seven from the free-throw line as well. 

.Hardy attempts a free throw against the Crusaders. (Photo/Tyron Dawson)

Hardy, a transfer from East Carolina, and member of PRCC’s undefeated team, started 22 games for the Golden Eagles last year, averaging 11 points per game and nearly three rebounds per game.

“Coming to Southern Miss, I understood that I would have more impact on the team than at East Carolina,” said Hardy. “And just learning to be more vocal. Learning from teams in the AAC, they were always so vocal they loved playing with each other.” 

Hardy also commanded the court on both sides of the ball, leading the team with four assists and tying Moore with two steals.

After the dominant first half, William Carey rebounded. In the middle of the second half, Zarkeichious Martine lifted The Crusaders. William Carey went on a 17-2 run and cut the lead to just 11. Martine also finished with a 30-point night for the Crusaders.

“Now we expect to win, but we have to learn how to win,” said Ladner. “A winning team is going to kill a nat with a sledgehammer, so to speak. They aren’t going to let up, but anyways I was glad we held on.” 

The Golden Eagles were held to just 33% shooting in the second half compared to the 47% in the first half. The Golden Eagles had 13 turnovers, but William Carey got zero points off those turnovers. 

“We try and work very, very hard on our transition defense,” said Ladner. “First of all, the turnovers, some of them were careless, but I think we did a great job of getting back and getting the ball stopped.” 

There were many positives to be taken away from Tuesday night’s victory and more things for the Golden Eagles to work out. Southern Miss will be looking to do that as they welcome Louisiana Rajun Cajuns Friday at 7 pm.