Southern Miss loses to Rice in an OT thriller
Hattiesburg, Miss. - Southern Miss hosted Rice Thursday night and were hoping to snap their six-game losing streak.
Head coach, Doc Sadler said, "All of them are tough. All of them. The UAB loss was tough, the UTEP loss was tough. Where do you want me to go?”
Southern Miss found their groove early and had a 24-16 lead with seven minutes left to go in the first half.
But Rice gained momentum by going on a 12-6 run, which only had them down by two at halftime.
Sadler said "we fought and fought and got the lead and we gave them too many easy baskets."
In the second half, both the Owls and the Golden Eagles were going tick for tack. But after Southern Miss jumped out to a 57-51 lead, the flow of the game started to change.
Guard, Kourtlin Jackson said, "We broke down defensively. We weren't guarding. We let number two get going."
Owls guard, Marcus Evans went off on a terror. Nobody could stop the true freshman. Evans scored four clutch shots down the stretch of the second half that would keep his team in the ball game.
Sadler said "he can play for anybody in the country. He's that good. In my opinion, he may be the best player in this league and he's a freshman."
The Golden Eagles had the game in their hands, but a few missed free throws enabled Rice's Guercy to hit the game-tying shot to send it to overtime.
Sadler said "with 13.8 seconds left, there was just too much time. We elected not to foul and one guy that hadn't hit a basket all game, jumps up and makes a play. You got to give the guy credit."
The Golden Eagles had a second chance to close out the game in overtime, but with seven seconds left in the game, the Golden Eagles fouled Evans, which resulted in him making his two free throws to win the game.
Jackson said "every time I lose it hurts. But this one by far does hurt, because we had the game."
The Golden Eagles played the Owls tough all throughout the game.
But despite the career high 31 points Jackson dropped, the Golden Eagles could not stop Rice's freshman phenom, Marcus Evans, who scored 32 points and who ultimately helped seal the 76-74 victory in overtime.