The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


Southern Miss MBB vs Texas State

Jackson Kennedy

Juan Cardona entered his office at around 8:00 a.m. on what was supposed to be a typical Friday morning for the acting Southern Miss head coach. When he opened the door, Andre Curbelo was sitting in his office, to his surprise.

Curbelo has been dealing with injuries and such in an extended absence from the court, with his last appearance on January 11 against ULM.

Curbelo told him, “Juan, I know I’m not 100%, but I can’t leave this staff and I can’t let my brothers fight by themselves. I can’t let my brothers go to war without me.”

Cardona heard him and gave him the green light to go this afternoon, and needless to say, it was an expert move by the acting head coach.

Curbelo went on to drop a career-high 24 points to help Southern Miss rally and edge Texas State 78-74 in a thriller. With all of the off-court issues and injuries piling up for the team, it cannot be said enough how desperately they needed a win.

“The storm is here to pass,” Cardona said. “The storm is not here to stay, and we saw that today with the victory.”

Southern Miss struggled to get off to any good start when losing to ULM on Thursday night, but that was not the case this afternoon.

The Golden Eagles jumped out to a 15-7 start in the first couple of minutes, with Curbelo showcasing his court vision, finding Austin Crowley for a deep three in the opening minutes to get the fans who were in attendance on their feet.

“I think he brings a different rhythm to the game,” Crowley said. “He’s a guy who likes to get everybody involved.”

However, the lead would not last long when the Bobcats started hitting some significant three pointers led by Coleton Benson, who had 17 points for the Bobcats this afternoon. They opened up their largest lead of the night thanks to a couple of turnovers by the Golden Eagles, leading 33-25 with just over four minutes to play in the second half.

Southern Miss ended the half on a small run to cut the lead to five going into the locker room. Crowley said that the team’s mindset is crucial when going down deficits in games and having to climb back into the game constantly.

“It is just a mindset,’ Crowley said. “We have to think ‘next play, next play, next play’ that’s the thing coach Juan told us in several media timeouts.”

The two teams traded baskets and lead changes to begin the second half, but Southern Miss was able to put together a 13-4 run, which would eventually be the difference in the game.

Southern Miss took the lead with about 13 minutes to go in the second half for good and even got the lead up to eight before the Bobcats battled back to cut the lead to two. Curbelo had a crucial layup and clutch free throws down the stretch to help secure the victory for Southern Miss.

Tegra Izay also had a good day for the Golden Eagles, with nine points, six rebounds and three blocks.

“He’s huge,” Cardona said. “Without him, our rim presence is not the same.”

Unfortunately, the win did not come without another addition to the injury list.

Victor Iwuokor went down with a hamstring injury late in the first half. Cardona said they hope to have him back Thursday.

Southern Miss picked up its fifth win of the season when trailing after the half.

Southern Miss improved to 15-12 and 8-6 in conference and will host South Alabama on Thursday night. The Jaguars ended the Golden Eagles season a year ago.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 PM.

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