James Woodard made a defensive rebound and drove to the TU frontcourt in hopes of tying the game. He missed the shot, but even if he made it, it would have been good for two points, pulling the host within one point since Woodard stepped inside the 3-point line.
Pat Swilling Jr. led the Golden Hurricane (12-9 overall, 4-3 in Conference USA) with 14 points. Three others finished in two-figures. Woodard scored 13, Kauri Black put up 12 and Scottie Haralson got 11.
"We lost. We have to get better. That's the bottom line. We had an opportunity, but we didn't take advantage or put ourselves in a place to win the game,” Tulsa coach Danny Manning said. “I think we try hard. We go out and put ourselves in the game. However, we want to try hard and win. The `almost' or `you did this well' doesn't do anything, because at the end of the day, it isn't what we want.”
A 3-pointer by Swilling drew the Hurricane to within 58-57 with 1:48 left in the game. The score remained for the next minute and a half until the Golden Eagles’ Neil Watson sank a free throw with 19 seconds to go.
The rest of the points were made from the foul line.
Jonathan Mills, who led Southern Miss (17-4, 6-0) in rebounding with 11 boards, hit two shots and it appeared as if the visitors had clinched the game with eight ticks remaining.
But when Shaquille Harrison got fouled by Neil Watson one second later, he made his shots and TU was down within a duece, still having a shot.
Black fouled Mills, who made one of two shots in his trip. Woodard rebounded Mills’ missed free throw and would drive in the last seconds.
“Southern Miss is a very talented team, and they made the plays down the stretch that were required to win,” Manning said. “We had some opportunities to grab it, but we did not capitalize. You look at the rebounding margin, and they really hurt us on the offensive glass. They got 18 second-chance points, 19 offensive rebounds, and shot 39 percent for the game. You like to think that if you do a better job at rebounding the basketball, their second-chance points aren't as high, but Donnie Tyndall has them playing at a great level right now."
Tulsa was out-rebounded by the Golden Eagles, 44-29. Nineteen boards Southern Miss’ came off the offensive glass and led to 18 second-chance points.
TU shot 35 percent (16-of-46) from the floor, 36 percent (9-of-25) in 3-point field goals and 69 percent (18-of-26) in foul shooting.
Southern Miss shot 39 percent (23-of-59), 30 percent (7-of-23) in 3-pointers and was 56 percent (9-of-16) in free throws.
Dwayne David and Jerrold Brooks each scored 11 points to lead the Golden Eagles.
Like Rice did two weeks earlier, Southern Miss was hitting a barrage of 3s early and surged to a 23-12 lead.
The Golden Hurricane responded with a 10-0 run that included 3s from Pat Swilling Jr. and Scottie Haralson.
With tight defense and persistent offense, TU drew to within 31-30 at halftime. It followed by storming out the second half with the first six points.
But the Golden Eagles turned the tide, making dunks that would push themselves back in the lead. They led 55-47 with 6:19 left before Tulsa would attempt a rally.
Golden Hurricane Quick Hits
* The Golden Hurricane donned their blue uniforms rather than the traditional home whites. Southern Miss was in Gold uniforms rather than their normal road black attire.
* Football team was introduced at halftime in recognition for their Conference USA and Liberty Bowl Championship season. Season highlights were played on the video screens on the scoreboards above the floor. The players also hoisted up the trophies before the crowd.