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Courtesy: Ryan Moore/Hattiesburg American

Big second half propels Southern Mississippi past UTSA, 85-56

Courtesy: UTSA Athletics
Release: 02/21/2014
Courtesy UTSA Athletics
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Daveon Boardingham scored a game-high 19 points and keyed a 14-4 run to start the second half that helped blow open a close game and pushed Southern Miss to an 85-56 win over UTSA on Thursday night at Reed Green Coliseum.

Edrico McGregor paced the Roadrunners (8-17, 4-8 C-USA) with 11 points, as the senior hit double figures for the fifth time in his last eight games.

UTSA shot a season-low 27.3 percent for the game but held a 40-34 edge on the glass. The Roadrunners did much of their damage at the free-throw line, where they shot 77.8 percent (28-of-36).

Meanwhile, Boardingham went 9-of-12 from the field and added a free throw to lead the Golden Eagles (22-5, 9-3 C-USA), who won their 12th straight at home and improved to 26-2 in the friendly confines over the last two seasons.

Aaron Brown added 15 points, while Jerrold Brooks and Matt Bingaya chipped in with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Southern Miss shot 52.5 percent in the contest, including 55.9 percent in the second half, and outscored the Roadrunners 50-14 in the paint.

Leading by two at the half, the Golden Eagles opened the second half on a 14-4 run and outscored the Roadrunners 30-10 in the first 10 minutes of the stanza to blow the game open.

Boardingham scored 10 of Southern Miss’ first 14 points, which all came in the paint, to start the stanza. When the dust had settled, the Golden Eagles had a 62-40 lead and never looked back.

From there, the lead did not dip below 21 as Southern Miss cruised to the 85-56 final.

Despite 13 turnovers in a back-and-forth first half, the Roadrunners trailed by just a basket, 32-30, at halftime and stayed in the game by going 12-of-13 from the free-throw line.

Brown hit a jumper for a quick 13-8 lead, but it would be Southern Miss’ largest of the opening half and neither team would lead by more than four the rest of the period.

UTSA often used the Golden Eagles press against them, breaking free for two-on-one chances and finishing at the rim. The Roadrunners had an assist on each of their first three buckets and McGregor broke the string with an offensive rebound that led to a basket and three-point play to pull UTSA within one, 15-14.

Following Boardingham’s jumper, Hyjii Thomas knotted the score for the first time with a 3-pointer and Jones’ steal and fast break dunk gave the Roadrunners their first lead, 19-17.

Southern Miss answered with a 7-0 spurt that ended when Jordan Sims hit three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt with the shot clock winding down. McGregor followed with a jumper in the lane to knot the score at 24.

UTSA would grab a slim 26-25 lead on two freebies by Thomas, but Southern Miss came back to take its two-point lead at intermission.

The Roadrunners wlll be back in action at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Tulane (14-13, 6-6 C-USA).

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