HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WCBI/USM Athletics) –Memphis shot 55.9-percent from the field, as Southern Miss saw its 23-game home win streak snapped, falling 89-76, Saturday afternoon at Reed Green Coliseum.
Dwayne Davis scored 25 points and had five rebounds. Daveon Boardingham had 14 points and six rebounds and Jonathan Mills added a game-high 11 boards.
“You have to give Memphis all the credit,” said Southern Miss head coach Donnie Tyndall. “I thought we played well, our press never phased them. We didn’t play really well on defense, but a lot of that had to do with what Memphis was doing. We have to shore some things up to get ready for our next game.”
Memphis began the game strong, controlling the tip and immediately converting an alley-oop. After a missed three-pointer from Neil Watson, Geron Johnson hit a jumper. Mills got Southern Miss on the board with a jumper, and after Memphis head coach Josh Pastner was assessed a technical foul, Davis hit both free throws to tie the game at four.
Johnson came right back with a three-pointer, but Watson answered with one of his own. The teams then traded baskets. With the game tied at nine, Shaq Goodwin hit a dunk and Johnson converted a three-point play to give the Tigers a 13-9 lead just 4:50 into the game.
However, Southern Miss came right back, scoring seven straight points and taking its first lead of the game on Davis’ jumper. Joe Jackson put UM back on top with a three-pointer, but Rashard McGill answered with his second straight three, followed by Davis’ alley-oop to Michael Craig to give the Golden Eagles a 21-17 lead with 12:44 to play in the half.
Consecutive baskets by Tarik Black tied the game at 21, but Mills’ jumper put Southern Miss back on top, 23-21. Chris Crawford and Davis traded three pointers, but Memphis went on a 13-2 run over the next 2:50 to take a 37-28 lead.
Jumpers from Jerrold Brooks and Norville Carey cut the deficit to five, but D.J. Stephens scored five straight points to give UM its largest lead of the first half, 42-32.
However, two straight jumpers from Davis followed by a three-pointer from Watson pulled the Golden Eagles to three points with 1:30 to play in the first half. But a Johnson three-pointer followed by a jumper from Adonis Thomas at the buzzer sent Memphis into the break with a 47-39 lead.
Goodwin opened the second half with a pair of free throws to push the lead to 10. But jumpers from Mills and Boardingham and a free throw from Boardingham cut the lead to five just 1:54 into the half. Memphis got the lead back to eight, followed by Mills and Boardingham each hitting one of two free throws. After a jumper from Goodwin, Boardingham hit a jumper followed by a three-pointer from Davis to cut the deficit to 54-51 five minutes into the half.
The teams twice traded baskets to keep the margin at three points. Memphis then went on a 7-2 run, but jumpers from Boardingham and Davis brought the deficit to 65-61 with nine minutes left.
However, Memphis slowly started to pull away. Johnson scored five straight points to push the lead to nine. The teams then traded baskets over the next two minutes. But a layup from Joe Jackson and a three-pointer from Johnson gave Memphis its largest lead of the game, 81-67, with 3:19 to play. Southern Miss would get no closer than 10 points.
Southern Miss shot 47.7-percent (31-of-65) from the field, but was just 7-of-19 (36.8-percent) from the three-point line. In addition to shooting 55.9-percent from the floor, Memphis was also 9-of-19 (47.4-percent) from the arc and 14-of-18 (77.8%) from the free throw line. Southern Miss outrebounded the Tigers, 38-to-28.
Johnson led Memphis with 25 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Crawford had 16 points and six assists and Thomas and Stephens added 11 points apiece.
Southern Miss closes its homestand next Wednesday, Feb. 13, when it hosts Tulane. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.