TU comes up short, falls to C-USA leader Southern Mississippi
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Sunday, January 27, 2013
1/27/13 at 7:14 AM
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Against Marshall on Wednesday, Southern Mississippi scored with ease.
By the 16:31 mark of the second half, the Golden Eagles had 62 points. In the most lopsided league game in Conference USA history, Southern Miss went on to prevail 102-46.
Against the University of Tulsa on Saturday, Southern Miss was involved in a decidedly different and infinitely more physical type of competition.
The Golden Eagles finished with a 40-minute total of only 62 points, but still achieved the desired end result. Primarily because of a profound advantage in rebounding, Southern Miss escaped with a 62-59 victory at the Reynolds Center.
"They got 19 offensive rebounds," TU guard Scottie Haralson said. "If we do a better job than that ... we win the game by 10 points."
Instead, Southern Miss improved to 17-4 overall. With a league record of 6-0, the Golden Eagles sustained their grip on first place in Conference USA.
The Golden Hurricane dropped to 12-9 overall and 4-3 in the conference.
"I thought tonight was a typical conference-type game," Southern Miss coach Donnie Tyndall said. "It was a grind-it-out affair with two teams that are pretty good defensively.
"We were fortunate. Our guys made one more play than they did, and we found a way to win."
After trailing by eight points with six minutes left to play, Tulsa rallied with two 3-pointers and two free throws by Pat Swilling Jr. With 10.4 seconds remaining and Southern Miss leading 59-57, Hurricane freshman forward Zeldric King misfired on two free throws.
And on a final possession that began with 7.4 seconds left, and with the Hurricane needing a 3-point basket to tie the score, freshman guard James Woodard dribbled to within 17 feet of the rim and missed on a 2-point shot.
Did Woodard believe that he had time to drive near the lane and pop a pass to a 3-point shooter? Or, in the heat of the moment, did he forget that Tulsa needed three points to tie?
"That's all on me," Hurricane coach Danny Manning said. "I didn't do a good enough job of communicating what we were looking for."
Defense ruled the afternoon. Southern Miss shot 39 percent overall from the field and 7-of-23 on 3-pointers. TU shot 34 percent from the field and finished with only seven 2-point field goals. Swilling (14 points) and Haralson (11) had a combined total of 18 field goal attempts, and all 18 were launched from 3-point range.
When examining the stat sheet, Manning was most pained by Southern Miss' 44-29 advantage in rebounding.
The Golden Eagles don't have any more size than does the Golden Hurricane, but Southern Miss was able to collect 19 offensive rebounds. Forward Jonathan Mills had five offensive rebounds. No TU player had more than one.
"You look at the rebounding margin and how they hurt us on the offensive glass," Manning said. "They get 18 second-chance points. They get 19 offensive rebounds.
"Everybody in that (TU) locker room is stinging a little bit from the loss, and that's good. We're all (upset) that we lost, and we should be. We've got to use that fuel to get better each and every day at practice."
After trailing 31-30 at halftime, Tulsa surged to a 39-33 lead by opening the second half with two Kauri Black scores, a Woodard basket and a Haralson 3-pointer. The Hurricane's momentum then dissolved during a span of seven minutes. Southern Miss answered with a 13-1 run, highlighted by Rashard McGill's conversion of a 3-pointer from the left corner.
The Conference USA officiating crew allowed Southern Miss-TU to become an extremely physical game. On two occasions, Tulsa players - Black and Rashad Ray - were fouled so hard that they were unable to shoot free throws.
"It was a physical game, but we're a physical team," Swilling said. "We don't mind the physical nature of the game. They beat us up a little bit on the offensive glass. We'll see them again. We'll know what to do next time."
If these teams meet again, it would occur in the Conference USA Tournament, set for March 13-16 at the BOK Center.
A more immediate challenge commands the attention of Manning and his players. Next Saturday, TU plays at Memphis.
TU up next
At Memphis 1 p.m. Saturday
Original Print Headline: Coming up short
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397
TU's Kauri Black goes up for a shot guarded by Southern Miss' Michael Craig (left) and Daveon Boardingham during Saturday's game. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World
TU's James Woodard goes up for a shot over Southern Miss' Norville Carey during Saturday's game. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World