Southern Miss blows first-half lead, falls to Western Kentucky 70-59 in C-USA semifinals


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In this Jan. 24 file photo, Southern Miss guard Tyree Griffin takes control of the ball in a game against Western Kentucky in Hattiesburg. Southern Miss fell to WKU in the Conference USA Tournament semifinals Friday. (Photo: Susan Broadbridge/Hattiesburg American)

Southern Miss had plenty of opportunities to defeat Western Kentucky on Friday in the semifinals of the Conference USA tournament.

But an uncharacteristically high number of turnovers and a lack of rebounding cost the Golden Eagles in a 70-59 loss to the Hilltoppers in Frisco, Texas.

The No. 3 seed Golden Eagles are eliminated from the C-USA tournament in the loss while Western Kentucky will advance to face Old Dominion in Saturday’s C-USA final at 7:30 p.m. USM finishes the season at 20-12 (11-7).

Western Kentucky also beat Southern Miss in both of their regular season meetings.

Tyree Griffin led USM with 19 points and four assists but also committed 8 turnovers in the loss. Taveion Hollingsworth and Josh Anderson scored 17 and 18, respectively, to lead Western Kentucky.

Southern Miss trailed 49-48 with just over seven minutes left in the game when its offense suddenly stalled and Western Kentucky responded with a 7-3 run. The Golden Eagles still had hope, though, as they trailed by 5 with three minutes left. Those hopes were dashed when Hollingsworth drilled a three-pointer that ended up being the dagger for the Hilltoppers.

Southern Miss was out-rebounded 44-27 in the loss and turned the ball over 16 times. Along with Charles Bassey, who snatched 14 rebounds in the game, Anderson’s eight rebounds helped set the tone for a dominant night on the boards for Western Kentucky.

Western Kentucky did a lot of damage at the free throw line as well, converting 24 of its 34 attempts from the foul line.

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Source:: Daily times

      

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