SportsBasketballGolden Eagles edge past Lamar with dominant second half

Golden Eagles edge past Lamar with dominant second half


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Southern Miss did not hold a lead in the entirety of the first half but rebounded with a 66.7% shooting performance in the second half to grab an 82-75 win against Lamar University.

Southern Miss’ dominant second half performance led the Golden Eagles to its highest-scoring outing of the season yet with five players scoring in double digits for the first time since 2019.

Southern Miss has again played a different starting lineup each game this season as freshman guard Rashad Bolden found himself in the starting five for the first time and Tyler Stevenson returned from an illness.

Even though some players that had started earlier this season found themselves coming off the bench, Isaih Moore, who led scorers off the bench with 19 points against Lamar, said that it’s not a problem.

“Coach [Ladner] wanted to go with a different look tonight and nobody’s going to drop their heads. We’re going to be our teammates’ number one fans when they’re in the game…we’re not [worrying] who starts,” Moore said. “At the end of the day, as long as we got a W, Southern Miss wins.”

Regardless of changes in the lineup, Southern Miss not only had its highest-scoring game of the season but also notched a season-high of 19 assists, which was an area of concern when the Golden Eagles only recorded four in its game against ULL.  

“Basketball is a team game. The ball has to move, you have to throw the ball to open people,” Head Coach Jay Ladner said. “We missed five or six bunnies or fast-break baskets that were wide open that were just unforced errors…so those are things that we’ll get better at as these guys continue to play together, but overall, I was proud of our team.”

Lamar got the upper hand early in the game, scoring two threes on its first possessions. With an early start, the Cardinals held an advantage throughout the first half, extending its lead up to ten points at once.

However, Southern Miss fired its offense up early through the play of its bigs, Moore and DeAndre Pinckney.

Moore erupted off of the bench for nine points in the first half as a force in the paint, scoring on a fastbreak dunk from an assist by Hardy and then drew two fouls that sent him to the free-throw line. Moore had three dunks in the game and made nine of his ten attempts from the line.

Moore slams a lob from Hardy in the first half against Lamar.

Pinckney joined Moore with a team-high of 11 points at the end of the first half with two three-pointers that narrowed Lamar’s three-point lead to one. Still, Lamar held a 36-33 lead at halftime.

The Golden Eagles then took the lead in the middle of the second half as Hardy drove in for a layup, kickstarting a 13-5 run. Southern Miss made seven-straight field goals during that stretch in the second half.

While the Cardinals shortly equalized the score, Hardy continued Southern Miss’ momentum by intercepting a pass and driving it for another layup.

Hardy earned his second 20-point performance of the season with 23 points and also contributed four assists, two rebounds and two steals.

The momentum started to build as Southern Miss’ offense started firing on all cylinders, shooting at nearly 67% from the field.

After starting one of six in the first half, Jaron Pierre Jr. also started to light up in the second half with two three-pointers. Pierre finished with ten points.

Joining the double-digit scorers for the first time this season, Stevenson scored 11 points, but also made a huge impact on the boards with a team-high of 12 rebounds.

“Coach [Ladner] just talked at practice throughout the whole week that we had to be physical, to stop letting the opposing team get offensive rebounds so I just knew I needed to come out with the mentality of going to get every rebound and playing defense,” Stevenson said.

Now at a .500 record, Southern Miss will travel to Missoula, Montana in the Zootown Classic, first facing UNC Wilmington Nov. 24. Ladner said the team will continue to gauge the starting five that work best with each other and involve the team’s rotation.

“We’ve got enough quality players now that they’re going to have to earn it every day and there’s some value to competition…we’ve got 12 guys that I think that we can get into a Division One game and make a difference and going to Missoula and getting ready to play three games in a row, that’s going to serve us well,” Ladner said.

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