Southern Miss’ Furious Rally Falls Just Short at UAB
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Southern Miss was within a shot of tying or leading on its final possession, but a turnover and two free-throws allowed UAB to escape with a 62-58 victory on Saturday evening.
The Golden Eagles (5-6, 1-3 C-USA) trailed by as much as 15 and found themselves down 57-46 with 6:51 left. A three-pointer by DeAndre Pinckney and five-straight points by Tyler Stevensonover 1:38 forced UAB to call a timeout, leading 57-54 at 4:40. Tae Hardy’s layup at 2:49 cut the deficit to one point.
Southern Miss forced a shot-clock violation with 25 seconds left, trailing by two, but a high-and-wide pass along the baseline to LaDavius Draine in the corner gave the ball back to UAB, which sealed it with two foul shots and seven seconds left.
“You have to give UAB credit,” head coach Jay Ladner said. “They had two really good starts on us and got us back on our heels. Both times our guys fought back, and we were down two with a chance to tie or win before forcing a pass. UAB is the highest-rated NET team in our league, and they’re at home.”
Jay Malone’s jumper at 3:39 pulled the Golden Eagles within 22-18 and forced a UAB timeout, who were also on a 4:13 scoring drought. The Blazers managed a 28-22 lead at the half, helped by an 8-0 lead to start the game.
“We got the turnovers under control a little bit more, and our defense was much better after the first media timeout,” Ladner said. “They got some critical offensive rebounds on us. We held them to 38 percent from the field, and that’s saying something about a fast-paced team.”
Stevenson led the way with 18 points (7-for-12 from the field, 4-for-5 from the line). Malone’s eight points off the bench were a season-high.
UAB (9-1, 2-0 C-USA) entered the game with the nation’s best scoring defense (56.6 ppg).
Southern Miss returns home for Friday (7 p.m.) and Saturday (4 p.m.) games against Middle Tennessee.
–DeAndre Pinckney made his first start since the opener, in which he suffered a concussion, and had a career-high 15 points that included 3-for-4 from deep.
–Tae Hardy has now made 18-straight free-throws and 20 of his last 21 after starting the year 3-for-8.
-Southern Miss’ 11 turnovers tied for its fewest for the season.
-The Golden Eagles also wore white uniforms.