Tulsa jumped out to a six-point lead after halftime, but Southern Miss rallied to defeat the Golden Hurricane, 62-59, in front of 5,230 fans at the Donald W. Reynolds Center. The Hurricane fell to 12-9 on the season and 4-3 in C-USA play, while the Golden Eagles improved to 17-4 and 6-0.
Four players scored in double-figures for Tulsa, led by junior Pat Swilling Jr., who paced the squad with 14 points and shot 4-of-9 from three-point land. Freshman James Woodard added 13 points and led TU in rebounds with 7, while Kauri Black chipped in 12 points. Senior Scottie Haralson recorded 11 points.
Southern Miss tallied a 44-29 advantage in rebounds, as USM had 19 offensive rebounds that resulted in 18 second-chance points.
"Southern Miss is a very talented team, and they made the plays down the stretch that were required to win," Tulsa Head Coach Danny Manning. "We had some opportunities to grab it, but we did not capitalize. You look at the rebounding margin, and they really hurt us on the offensive glass. They got 18 second-chance points, 19 offensive rebounds, and shot 39 percent for the game. You like to think that if you do a better job at rebounding the basketball, their second-chance points aren't as high, but Donnie Tyndall has them playing at a great level right now."
The Hurricane opened the second half with two buckets by Black and a jumper by Woodard to take a 36-31, after trailing one point at intermission. After a jumper by Southern Miss, Haralson knocked home a three pointer to give Tulsa a six-point advantage at 39-33, its largest of the game, with 16:16 left in the contest.
The Golden Eagles went on a 13-1 run to assume a 46-40 lead with 9:18 to go. Down eight with 6:19 left, Tulsa cut the USM lead to 55-54 after a five-point run by Swilling Jr. and a jumper by Woodard. Southern Miss extended its lead to four when Daveon Boardingham grabbed an offensive rebound off of a missed free threw and laid it in the basket, but Swilling Jr. countered with a three-pointer to make it a one-point contest.
With under a minute left and USM clinging to a 58-57 advantage, Tulsa had chances to tie or take the lead, but was unable to capitalize as the Eagles connected on its free throws to hold onto the victory.
The Hurricane grabbed a 9-8 lead with 15 minutes left in the first half thanks to a five-point spurt by Woodard. The Golden Eagles responded with a 15-3 run to take a 23-12 heading under the ten-minute mark. TU stormed back scoring the next ten points to make it a one-point affair with 5:35 remaining in the frame. Southern Miss led by four with a minute remaining, but a three by Ray made it a 31-30 contest heading into half. TU shot 46 percent from beyond the arc in the frame and was 8-of-10 from the charity stripe.
Tulsa returns to action on February 2, when it travels east to face Memphis. Tipoff from the FedEx Fourm is set for 1 p.m., and the game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.