Southern Miss stumbles on offense in loss to Louisiana at Lafayette

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Photos by: Charlie Luttrell

Southern Miss fought level throughout a physical match against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette but fell 66-45 to a late run after being unable to convert on offense.

The Golden Eagles’ defense shone throughout the match, forcing 19 turnovers and limiting the Ragin’ Cajuns to a 32.8% clip from the field. However, Southern Miss struggled to translate their success to the other end of the court.

“I thought our defensive effort was outstanding,” Head Coach Jay Ladner said. “We held them to 32.6%, that’s a winning defensive effort[…] But our turnovers, the inability to rebound the ball sometimes in key situations, we gave up 14 offensive rebounds and our inability to execute […] execution is on me as the head coach, so I’ve got to try to figure that out a little better.”

The Golden Eagles had a total of 25 turnovers on offense and only four assists. Three of Southern Miss’ starters, Isaiah Moore, Walyn Napper and Jaron Pierre Jr. combined for a total of 14 turnovers. 

Despite Moore’s team-high of seven turnovers, the junior forward led all scorers with 19 points on seven of 11 shooting and seven rebounds. His energy showed throughout the game and kept Southern Miss’ offense afloat with 13 first half points.

“He’s a versatile big,” guard Tae Hardy said. “He can play inside and out and when they sagged off, he made the open shots. When we was in the paint, he was able to creat great passing but also score for us. He’s just a big impact on our team because he can do a lot of stuff at 6’10.”

Moore’s contributions in the first half accounted for more than half of the Golden Eagles’ 23 points as they trailed behind ULL by six points.

While the Ragin’ Cajuns pulled out front in the second half by eleven points on a 7-0 run across a four-minute scoreless stretch from Southern Miss, the Golden Eagles staged a comeback.

Southern Miss narrowed the lead to within five points on a 9-0 run, firing up the Reed Green Coliseum off of ULL turnovers but could not generate on offense again. 

“It starts with energy from our team and then it’s just contagious around the whole Coliseum,” Hardy said. “We just started with our defense. Our defense carried our offense and then the crowd was into it. We just have to stay on our toes all 40 minutes again.”

From SM2 reporter Dima Mixon

Southern Miss’ defense played past its expectations but the offense was severely limited by its mistakes and 2 of 19 percentage from the perimeter. 

“There’s a statistic that if you get seven kills in a game, you win the game 95% of the time. We got 11,” Ladner said. “So our statistics are an anomaly but the anomaly is about the turnovers and offensive rebounds[…]I just kept thinking that we were just one Jaron Pierre or Tae Hardy or DeAndre Pinckney three away from really taking control of the game and we just never could seem to get to that point.”

The Ragin’ Cajuns figured out their offense, ending the streak and pulling away with the game on six three pointers in the final six minutes. 

Southern Miss will travel to Fort Worth, Texas to face Texas Christian University Nov. 15.