NORFOLK, VA (WLBT) - Only two days from the one-year anniversary of Southern Miss taking down No. 1-seed Middle Tennessee in the C-USA Quarterfinals, the Golden Eagles struck again with a 59-52 win at clinched-regular-season champion Old Dominion.
Cortez Edwards in the process collected four steals to break Curtis Green's career record that stood for 35 years. The senior from Kissimmee, Fla., now has 194 in his all-around phenomenal legacy.
Old Dominion (23-7, 13-4 C-USA) was receiving votes in the AP poll and had a 14-1 home record (Jan. 3 versus Marshall was the only loss) heading into the night where it also honored its three seniors pregame.
"We battled for forty minutes and as I told them at halftime, [Old Dominion] is going to make a run, but we just have to be tough enough to withstand that run," head coach Doc Sadler said. "We held them to only one shot in the last two or three minutes."
The game was decided on a 9-0 Golden Eagle run over 3:04 that put the visitors ahead 50-45 with 3:25 remaining. LaDavius Draine's fourth three-pointer of the night extended the lead to 55-47 with 2:41 left, and after the Monarchs closed within 55-52 in the final 1:09, Tyree Griffin found Edwards for a dunk that silenced the rally.
Southern Miss (18-11, 10-7 C-USA) led by as much as 11 in the first half, but the Monarchs were able to get within 31-24 at the break. The Golden Eagles also won the turnover battle 14-9 and held a 17-9 advantage in points off of them.
"Anytime you put Cortez [Edwards] and Tyree [Griffin] on the court, we’re going to have a chance to beat anyone in this league," Sadler said. "That’s what we did tonight."
The Golden Eagles conclude their regular-season at home Saturday against UTSA. The team's five seniors will be honored prior to the 2 p.m. CT start.
-Southern Miss has led at the half in nine consecutive games.
-All of the Golden Eagles' 11 offensive rebounds came in the second half.
-Southern Miss out-rebounded the Monarchs 40-37 after falling 45-32 in that category the previous time out.
-The win snapped a three-game losing streak to ODU, with the last victory coming Jan. 9, 2016 in Hattiesburg (73-71).
-This was the team's fifth win in which it made five or fewer triples (5-for-17 on the night).
-LaDavius Draine reached double-figure scoring for the 22nd time in his career, 19 of which came against C-USA foes.
-Draine's 18 points were also a team-high.
-Leonard Harper-Baker (15) recorded double-figure rebounds for the ninth time in his career. He also had 14 at ODU the previous meeting.
-Tyree Griffin’s eight assists give him 404 for his career, passing Mel Cauthen (1997-01) for No. 4 in school history. He is only two away from tying Dante Stiggers (2001-05) for third.