HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss scored nine points in overtime, all on free throws, but it was enough to give head coach Donnie Tyndall his first victory, as the Golden Eagles won, 67-64, over Western Kentucky, Saturday night at Reed Green Coliseum.
The victory gave Southern Miss its 16th straight win at home, which is the seventh longest in the country. The Golden Eagles have also won their last eight season-openers.
"I'm as proud of this team as I am of any other," said Tyndall. "I'm very proud of this team and the effort they gave. To come into the game with two guys injured, and then to have four foul out, we certainly have a lot of things that we have to clean up. But, I can't fault our effort. We did all of the tough things that we had to do against a real good Western Kentucky team."
Michael Craig had 13 point and seven rebound and Jerrold Brooks had 13 points, five rebounds and four steals. Dwayne Davis dropped in 11 points, while Deon Edwin (188-G) added a team-high eight boards to go along with seven points.
Western Kentucky got the upper hand early in overtime, when Kevin Kaspar hit his fourth three-pointer of the game. Southern Miss then connected on seven straight free throws to take 65-61 lead. WKU pulled back to within one point when Jamal Crook converted a three-point play, but Brooks hit two straight free throws to make it a three-point game. The Hilltoppers had one final chance to tie the game, but O'Karo Akamune's three-point try was long, and Southern Miss held on.
Southern Miss came out of gate on fire, using a pair of three-pointers from Brooks and Davis to score the first 10 points of the game. After a three minute draught that saw neither team score, WKU finally got on the board on a George Fant jumper 6:09 into the game.
Play went back-and-forth as the teams traded baskets, but a pair of layups by Craig and Edwin gave Southern Miss its largest lead of the game, 24-10, with 6:47 to play.
The Hilltoppers then went on a 12-4 run over the next 4:33 to pull to within six points. But a dunk by Norville Carey sent the Golden Eagles in halftime with a 30-22 lead.
Southern Miss immediately pushed the lead to 10 in the second half on a Jonathan Mills jumper. But, Western Kentucky scored eight of the next nine points to make it a three-point game.
The Golden Eagles then scored eight straight points to take its largest lead of the second half. After missing its first 11 three-point attempts, WKU finally got one to go down by Kaspar. Following a pair of free throw by both teams, the Hilltoppers took advantage of two straight turnovers to score eight straight points and pull to within 45-43 with 9:07 to play.
Southern Miss went on a 10-3 run to push the lead back to 55-46, but WKU scored 10 straight points, capped off by a three-pointer by Kaspar with three minutes left to give the Hilltoppers their first lead of the game.
The Black and Gold hit three straight free throws to make it 58-56, but a pair of free throws by Fant sent the game into overtime.
Crook led the Hilltoppers with 17 points. Kaspar scored 13 and Fant added 10. T.J. Price pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.
Southern Miss shot 36.7-percent (22-of-60) from the floor and held WKU to 21-of-64 (32.8%) shooting. The Golden Eagles were also 70-percent (21-of-30) from the charity stripe, while Western Kentucky connected on just 16-of-30 (53.3%). Both teams pulled down 46 rebounds. Southern Miss also had 15 steals.
Southern Miss begins a four-game road trip next week when it travels to Athens, Ga., to face Georgia in the opening round of the Progressive Legends Classic, Thursday, Nov. 15.
By Sean Brennan In our latest installment of 'Getting To Know,' we chat up the reigning BIG EAST Player of the Week, Seton Hall's Desi Rodriguez(198-F-96). Desi dishes on why coming to Seton Hall along with his former teammate Isaiah Whitehead was a no-brainer, why he doesn't think he gets lost in the shadow of teammates Angel Delgado and Kahdeen Carrington, why Pirates head coach Kevin Willard thinks Rodriguez is a 'dog,' - and Desi agrees - why he may be a little 'crabby' off the court,... [read more]
By Sean Brennan In our latest installment of 'Getting To Know,' we chat up the reigning BIG EAST Player of the Week, Seton Hall's Desi Rodriguez (198-F-96). Desi dishes on why coming to Seton Hall along with his former teammate Isaiah Whitehead was a no-brainer, why he doesn't think he gets lost in the shadow of teammates Angel Delgado and Kahdeen Carrington, why Pirates head coach Kevin Willard thinks Rodriguez is a 'dog,' - and Desi agrees - why he may be a little 'crabby' off the court, why being the last team to defeat Villanova last season before the Cats' championship run is motivation for the Pirates this year and when we can expect a Seton Hall sighting in the Top 25.
BIGEAST.com: When you were playing at Lincoln high School in Brooklyn with Isaiah Whitehead, did you guys ever discuss going to college together or did it just turn out that way?
RODRIGUEZ: 'During our senior year when we started gelling and playing well together we definitely started talking about going to school together. I wanted to play with him and keep the combination going. So when Seton Hall offered me I didn't think twice about it.'
BIGEAST.com: So you, Isaiah, Khadeen Carrington and Angel Delgado arrive at Seton Hall like you're the Fab Four. Did you guys ever feel any pressure, because of the hype surrounding that recruiting class, to live up to the high expectations?
RODRIGUEZ: 'We didn't feel any pressure. We're all tough and aggressive and we're competitors so we didn't feel any pressure. We knew we could become great, so coming in together and working on our games and just playing together more has turned out well.'
BIGEAST.com: So Isaiah has left for the NBA, Angel is leading the BIG EAST in rebounding and is a double-double machine and Khadeen is second in the conference in scoring. Do you ever feel like maybe you get less attention than your teammates?
RODRIGUEZ: 'I don't look at it that way. I just want to play my game and help my team win and everything will come out of that. I let my game speak for itself and if people don't believe in my game, I don't pay any attention to that. I just come on the court, give my best effort and try to win games.'
BIGEAST.com: For someone who hasn't seen you play, what kind of player is Desi Rodriguez?
RODRIGUEZ: 'Coach (Kevin Willard) calls me a 'Junkyard Dog' and I think I'm that kind of guy. My all-around game has come around very well. I'm able to shoot the ball very well now and get to the basket. I'm an aggressive kind of guy and I'm competitive so I always want to guard the best player on the other team, if I get a chance. I'm a winning guy. That's always my goal. If I finish the game with two points and we got a win I'm still happy. I'm very unselfish and just want to win.'
BIGEAST.com: Tell me something about yourself that even Pirates fans don't know about you. Do you have any hobbies or hidden talents away from the court?
RODRIGUEZ: 'This year I got a new apartment and I've been cooking a lot. I'm a great cook now. A lot of people wouldn't know that I'm a great cook, but I am.'
BIGEAST.com: So what's your specialty?
RODRIGUEZ: 'Seafood. The other day I made some crab legs with shrimp and broccoli. Sometimes I cook for my teammates. We all cook for each other and see who is the best. It's like a competition.'
BIGEAST.com: When Isaiah left for the NBA what was your reaction and what do you say to people who thought Seton Hall would struggle this year without him?
RODRIGUEZ: 'It was weird. I was kind of depressed, but I was happy for him, too. I was depressed because I thought we could come back this year and be a top 10 team and win another (BIG EAST) championship. But we still have a chance to. We still have a great team. I'm happy for him the way he is playing (with the Brooklyn Nets). But it also opened up a lot of opportunities for the rest of us to get looked at and prove people wrong. A lot of people, with Isaiah leaving, said we wouldn't be the same team but I think we are. It's hard to replace Isaiah Whitehead, but then again we still have Khadeen Carrington, we still got myself, we still got Ismael (Sanogo) and we still got Angel and we added two freshmen (Myles Powell and Eron Gordon) and two transfers (Madison Jones and Jevon Thomas) and those guys are playing great for us. So we're looking forward to finishing the BIG EAST (season) strong and going into the BIG EAST Tournament and finishing that off strong, too.'
BIGEAST.com: Seton Hall won the BIG EAST Tournament last year and put the Pirates back on the map but then you lost your first-round NCAA Tournament game to Gonzaga. Did that leave a bad taste in your mouth and is that your motivation for this season?
RODRIGUEZ: 'Yeah definitely. All of us were nervous about that game. It was our first time in the NCAA Tournament and on the big stage. That was kind of a tough test for us, but knowing we were there last year and knowing the feeling of a bad loss makes us more hungry this year. Seeing Villanova take it all and knowing we were the last team to beat them, that kind of motivated us more. It's our goal to get back to the NCAA Tournament and try our best to win some games.'
BIGEAST.com: The other day against DePaul, you shot 9-for-9 from the field in the first half, including 5-for-5 from three-point range. Have you ever had a half like that before in your life on any level?
RODRIGUEZ: 'No. That was really exciting for me. I was kind of in the mode when I was making everything. I thought making my first two layups really got me going. My team got me the ball so me going 9-for-9, that came from my teammates knowing I was the hot hand and them going back to me. So I appreciate them.'
BIGEAST.com: If coach Willard said to you, 'Desi, I need 18-20 points from you,' are you the kind of player who could deliver that kind of production?
RODRIGUEZ: 'Yeah I think I'm capable of doing that. Teams scout us very well, especially me, Khadeen and Angel, so I take that in consideration and kind of let the game come to me. Coach always tells us don't go out there and try to force anything because it will mess up your game. But 18 points a night is something I could do just going off the offensive glass and getting out in transition.'
BIGEAST.com: Do you think fans around the BIG EAST and college hoop fans in general know who you are or do you feel you need a breakout year this season?
RODRIGUEZ: 'I think they know me very well. Some people call me 'Dunkin' Desi' and some people call me 'Long-Range Desi' so I think a lot of people know me and a lot of teams know me. I think last year was my breakout year and this year I'm trying to get some more recognition.'
BIGEAST.com: Four of the top 15 teams in the country are from the BIG EAST in Villanova, Creighton, Butler and Xavier. Are people going to see Seton Hall cracking the poll before long?
RODRIGUEZ: 'That's our goal, too, to get in the Top 25. Our conference is one of the toughest conferences. Every night we got to bring it. Every team in the BIG EAST is tough and competitive so we got to bring energy every night. We got a week-long road trip right now and we got to handle our business against Marquette (Wednesday night) and Providence (Saturday afternoon) and then we go to Villanova (Monday night). So as long as we take care of business the poll will put us in the Top 25. We just got to keep winning. If you keep winning everything else will fall into place.'
De'Quon Lake(208-C)< scored 38 points Saturday as Iowa Western raced past Central Community College 100-73 in men's basketball at Kanesville Arena. The 6-foot-10 sophomore made 17 of 19 shots from the field and collected 11 rebounds. 'De'Quon has been working hard, and it is nice to see that work pay dividends,' Iowa Western coach Michael Johnette said. 'He was special tonight. I was also pleased to see his teammates recognize that and get him the basketball.' Next up for the Reivers is R... [read more]
De'Quon Lake (208-C)< scored 38 points Saturday as Iowa Western raced past Central Community College 100-73 in men's basketball at Kanesville Arena. The 6-foot-10 sophomore made 17 of 19 shots from the field and collected 11 rebounds. 'De'Quon has been working hard, and it is nice to see that work pay dividends,' Iowa Western coach Michael Johnette said. 'He was special tonight. I was also pleased to see his teammates recognize that and get him the basketball.' Next up for the Reivers is Region XI rival Indian Hills, ranked 24th in NJCAA Division I.
Slam Duncan O's, named for the Spurs' star power forward Tim Duncan (211-F/C-76, college: Wake Forest), officially hit H-E-B stores Monday and demand is expected to be high after early samples of the product released last month were listed for sale on Ebay, according to company executives. It took two hours to sell out the first 500 boxes of the limited edition honey nut toasted cereal with chocolate puffs, which were accidentally stocked on the shelves of one store Friday, said Cory Bass... [read more]
Slam Duncan O's, named for the Spurs' star power forward Tim Duncan (211-F/C-76, college: Wake Forest), officially hit H-E-B stores Monday and demand is expected to be high after early samples of the product released last month were listed for sale on Ebay, according to company executives. It took two hours to sell out the first 500 boxes of the limited edition honey nut toasted cereal with chocolate puffs, which were accidentally stocked on the shelves of one store Friday, said Cory Basso, H-E-B's vice president of marketing and advertising. H-E-B is producing up to 400,000 boxes of the cereal, which touts Duncan's 19-year record with the Spurs. The supermarket chain is limiting purchases to six per customer. Basso said he anticipates the product line will be sold out after three months. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Tim Duncan Foundation. 'Once they're gone, they're gone,' Basso said. 'There won't be a reprint. And, we're doing that to keep it limited edition because we think that makes it more special.' Duncan, who retired in July, won't be appearing with current Spurs players in future commercials, Basso said, but has filmed another ad to accompany the cereal rollout that will begin airing Monday and is on the hook for at least two more before the end of 2017.
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