NORFOLK, VA Neil Watson scored 28 points and Jerrold Brooks added 18 to lead the Golden Eagles of Southern Miss (17-3/4-1) to a 75-60 Conference USA victory over Old Dominion (9-10/3-1) Thursday night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center before a crowd of 7,549. The loss ended ODU's four-game winning streak, and knocked the Monarchs out of sole possession of first place.
The Monarchs were led by sophomoreAaron Bacote with 19 points, while red-shirt junior forward Richard Rossscored 11 and hauled down a game high nine rebounds and sophomore guardKeenan Palmoreadded 10 pooints.
The game had five lead changes and six ties. ODU lead by as many as nine in the first half, 16-7 with 13:08 left after a three-pointer by Bacote who scored 14 of his 19 in the first half. Jerrold Brooks three-pointer with 8:28 left in the half gave USM a 23-20 lead which they kept until ODU freshman Jordan Baker hit a trey to tie the game at 32-32 with 1:12 left. Michael Craig, the C-USA Player of the Week then put the Golden Eagles up at halftime with a three-pointer with three seconds left.
In the second half there were three ties, the last at 48-48 on a layup by ODU's Keenan Palmore with 11:38 left in the game. After a Matt Bingaya layup and free throw, ODU would rally again as Palmore would hit two free throws and a layup to give the Monarchs a 52-51 lead with 8:32 remaining, but Neil Watson drained a three-pointer for a 54-52 USM lead andthe Golden eagles would outscore the Monarchs 21-8 the rest of the game.
ODU shot .417 (20-48) from the floor and .350 (7-20) from three-point range. USM shot .442 (23-52) from the field and .571 (12-21) from three-point range. Watson was 6-for-10 from the field and 6-for-7 from three-point range along with a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line.
ODU outrebounded the USM, 33-29 as Ross hauled down a game high nine, followed by freshman Denzell Taylor with six. Daveo Boardingham led USM with eight rebounds and Michael Craig added six. The Monarchs committed 17 turnovers and USM scored 32 points off of them.