Hattiesburg, MS. -
Coming off the best win of the year against a ranked UCF team, the Southern Miss Golden Eagles (14-4, 3-2) lost a heartbreaker to the Memphis Tigers (14-4, 3-1) at Reed Green Coliseum on Wednesday night, 76-75. With 1.2 seconds left to go in the game, Memphis junior guard Charles Carmouche nailed a 3-pointer to extend a 15 game winning streak over USM.
The Eagles blasted out to an 18 point lead at the 7:49 minute mark on a Gary Flowers 2-point bucket in the 1st half for a 29-11 score. It was looking like a rout for the Black and Gold in the first period of play, much to the delight of the energetic home crowd. However, the very talented Tigers squad fought back to get in the game to pull to a 40-29 halftime score.
Memphis continued to chip away at the lead throughout the 2nd half. The Tigers put up 47 points in the half as they pulled it out with the aforementioned, last second Carmouche 3-point dagger. USM head coach Larry Eustachy apologized to the crowd in his post-game report with John Cox on his team not being able to pull out the win, noting how enthusiastic the Eagles audience were on the evening.
For Southern Miss, Flowers lead the charge with 21 points, with senior guard R. L. Horton putting up 18 points and senior forward Josimar Ayarza throwing in 13 points. The Eagles shot 25 of 49 for a notable 51.0 percent from the field for the game and made 20 of 30 FT's from the charity stripe.
For Memphis, guards Will Barton and Chris Crawford had 15 points and 12 points off the bench, respectively. Carmouche had 11 points and guard Joe Jackson added 10 points for the Tigers. Visiting Memphis made 9 of 17 from behind the arc for a red-hot 52.9 percent and had a total of 18 turnovers in the game.
This loss by the Eagles to the rival Memphis Tigers really stings because USM had garnered votes in the top 25 polls for the first time since 2001 after crushing UCF last Saturday. It's safe to say that most of those votes, if not all, will disappear in this upcoming weeks poll. Southern Miss must find a way to bounce back after their first home defeat of the season.