USM crushes UTSA on, claims first-round bye in C-USA Tournament

USM crushes UTSA on, claims first-round bye in C-USA Tournament

HATTIESBURG, MS (WLBT) - Southern Miss seniors Cortez Edwards, Tyree Griffin, Anfernee Hampton, Kevin Holland and Dominic Magee were treated to a Senior Day they will never forget. The Golden Eagles poured in 16 three-pointers en route to an 81-48 win over UTSA, guaranteeing the Black and Gold the No. 3 seed and bye at next week's C-USA Tournament.

"You stop and think about what these players have been through, and how five years ago, nobody knew we would be going through the bumps and bruises we've gone through," head coach Doc Sadler said. "The character has really shown. Hopefully, that will be a life-long lesson that you'll go through tough times, but stick with it. Don't switch everything, and at the end of the day, good things may happen for you."

All five seniors earned the starting nod. It was Magee's fifth of the season after earning 26 as a junior, and Hampton was making his first of the year and third as a Golden Eagle.

Magee exploded for a season-high 19 points, helped by 13 in the first half. He ended the day 7-for-10 from the field and 4-for-7 from beyond the arc.

The team's 16 triples are tied for second in school history, matching Feb. 11, 2016 versus UAB and Jan. 21, 1993 versus Louisville. Southern Miss also made 18 in a vacated win over Dillard on Jan. 3, 2013.

The Golden Eagles extended their halftime-lead streak to 10 games with a 40-26 advantage over the Roadrunners, helped by an 8-0 run over the final 59 seconds that included a buzzer-beating trey from Holland. The closest UTSA would get from there was a jumper in the opening minute of the second half.

"How could you script this any better?" Sadler said. "We made 16 threes against a team that has two great players [Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace]. You're playing for a bye in the conference tournament, and you're playing for an opportunity for the postseason. I'm pleased and happy for these five seniors and the other guys on this team."

UTSA was held to its fewest points since Jan. 21, 2017 at UTEP, a span of 80 games.

Southern Miss, waiting on official word from Conference USA, expects to play the winner of No. 6 Marshall and No. 11 Rice at 9 p.m. CT on Thursday night inside the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.

NOTABLE

-Eleven different Golden Eagles scored in the game.

-The home team has won all 11 games in the head-to-head series.

-Southern Miss has collected 10 steals in three consecutive games.

-The Golden Eagles had 47 rebounds, their most against a Division I team this year.

-The Black and Gold are 5-2 in March the last two years and 4-1 in Senior Days/Nights in the Doc Sadler tenure.

-Tyree Griffin jumped to No. 3 on the school's all-time assists list, surpassing Dante Stiggers (2001-05). He now has 415.

-Griffin's 11 assists also gives him six games in his two-year Southern Miss career of double-digits in that category.

-Leonard Harper-Baker went 3-for-4 from beyond the arc after entering the game 3-for-13.

-Cortez Edwards padded his school career steals record with three more, now at 197.

Copyright 2019 WLBT. All rights reserved.