Hattiesburg, MS. -
With over 5,000 people looking on, USM pulled off a tremendous home victory on Saturday night at Reed Green Coliseum by defeating the Central Florida Golden Knights (14-2, 1-2) 86-69. The Knights were ranked #22 and had NBA great Michael Jordan's son, Marcus, playing good ball for them.
The Golden Eagles (14-3, 3-1) and the Golden Knights both came to play in the 1st half exchanging leads throughout the period. Junior guard / forward Maurice Bolden led the 1st half scoring for the Eagles with 9 points and Marcus Jordan paced the Knights with 15 points. USM took a very close 36-35 advantage to the locker room at the half.
The 2nd half began very similiar to the 1st half as both teams swapped leads until Southern Miss went on the attack. At the 10:16 minute mark, the Eagles opened up a 11-0 run and never looked back from that point. Jordan was held to 2 of 8 shooting for the Knights in the half as the Black and Gold defeated their first ranked opponent since 2004 and the first one at home since 1986.
For the Eagles, senior guard R. L. Horton lead the way with 18 points and freshman guard D. J. Newbill added 17 points. Senior forward Gary Flowers and junior forward Maurice Bolden each scored 16 points for USM. For UCF, sophomore guard Marcus Jordan went for 20 points on the night with sophomore forward Keith Clanton chipping in with 14 points for the Knights.
Central Florida, who is destined to fall out of the top 25 with this loss, shot 11 of 26 from 3 point range for a very respectable 42.3 percent. However, USM shot 51.6 percent overall for the game and outrebounded the Knights 37-28 to capture its 3rd C-USA victory in the early part of the conference season.
The announced attendance of 5,023 fans was easliy the record so far in the season at Reed Green Coliseum. Head coach Larry Eustachy was quoted as saying, "It's a great win -- a good move for our program. We can't rest, because we've got another big one on Wednesday. But we've got a good team."
The game Eustachy is referring to is part one of the "Black-and-Blue Game" version on the hardwood against the division rival Memphis Tigers (13-4, 2-1) on Wednesday night at Reed Green Coliseum. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. CST.