HATTIESBURG, MS (WLBT) - Southern Miss led Marshall, the defending Conference USA champions, 48-31 at the half. It was good, but nothing to boast about yet.
The Herd, which also made the NCAA Round of 32 last season, entered Saturday as C-USA leaders in scoring (80.7 ppg) and field goal percentage (47.1), so the Golden Eagles would need to buckle down. The Black and Gold did all that and more in a 101-51 win on Saturday evening.
"Obviously, that's one of the best games we've played since I've been here," head coach Doc Sadler said. "A lot of people would want to talk about the points, but the thing I was most impressed with was that no matter how great a start we had, we continued to defend. It's hard to do. Even in the second half when the lead extended, the way we played defense is a credit to our guys."
Southern Miss (12-9, 4-5 C-USA) raced out to a 31-6 lead in the first eight minutes, and while Marshall (12-9, 5-3 C-USA) was able to get within 17 at the half, the Golden Eagles outscored the visiting Herd 25-5 over the first six minutes to erase even a shred of doubt.
"The second thing is that going into the game, we would have to keep them off the free-throw line," Sadler said. "They score 18 points a game there, but they had just 14 and some of those were late. The biggest thing is we knew they couldn't score inside the lane. They had just 12 today. Jon Elmore is a guy who can get guys easy baskets, and we didn't give them any down there."
It marks the largest margin of victory over a Division I team in the Doc Sadler era, besting a 76-53 win at North Texas on Feb. 25, 2017. It also marked Marshall's fewest points since March 5, 2015 at Old Dominion.
Tim Rowe scored 10 of the team's first 16 points, which amounted to his fifth double-figure scoring game of the season. Cortez Edwards was also the epitome of efficiency with 15 points (6-for-6 from the field), 10 assists, six rebounds and four steals. Southern Miss had a 46-12 advantage in paint points.
The Golden Eagles will head to the Sunshine State this week for games Thursday and Saturday at FIU and Florida Atlantic, respectively.
-The Golden Eagles snapped a two-game losing streak to the Herd (both on the road and at a neutral site) since a 91-76 win over Marshall on Feb. 2, 2017 in Hattiesburg.
-This was also the first time Southern Miss scored 100 points or more since March 5, 2016 at Marshall.
-The Golden Eagles shot 64.6 percent from the field (42-for-65). The last time it surpassed 60 was Jan. 4, 2018 versus UTEP.
-Southern Miss' 13 three-pointers marked the sixth time this year it's hit 10 or more, and it matched a season-high previously set in November wins at SMU and Troy.
-Tyree Griffin's 15 assists were the third-most in a single-game in school history. It was the sixth time of his career he posted double-figure dimes.
-Griffin has also moved past Damien Smith (1993-97) for No. 9 all-time in school history with 348 assists.
-Leonard Harper-Baker (15 points, 14 rebounds) earned his third double-double of the season. Southern Miss has won all three of those games (South Alabama, UAB). He is averaging 14.3 rebounds over the last three contests.
-Cortez Edwards' 15 points gives him 1,244 for his career, which is No. 23 all-time, and his four steals moved him to 174, which is No. 3.
-LaDavius Draine went 4-for-6 from beyond the arc on the heels of hitting five triples on Thursday. He entered the night shooting 54.5 percent from beyond the arc, best in league play.