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December 2, 2012LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Southern Miss had to fight from behind all game, but in the end, it was not enough, as the Golden Eagles fell for the first time this year, 68-60, to New Mexico State, Saturday night at the Pan American Center.
Jonathan Mills led Southern Miss with 12 points and eight rebounds. Michael Craig had 12 points and four rebounds and Neil Watson score 11 points on three three-pointers.
"You have to give a lot of credit to New Mexico State," said Southern Miss head coach Donnie Tyndall. "That's the most talented team we've played so far. We really couldn't do much with their big guys. We tried to front the post, but they just kept throwing inside for easy baskets. But throughout the game, we continued to compete and scrap and never let it get away from us. They were just the better team tonight."
For the first time this year, Southern Miss failed to hold a lead. After two Aggie free throws opened the game, a layup by Mills tied it just 2:05 in. New Mexico State came right back, going on a 7-2 run over the next 2:25 to take a 9-4 lead.
A Dwayne Davis three-pointer pulled the Golden Eagles to within 9-7. The teams then began to trade baskets. But NMSU went on a 14-4 run to take a 36-20 lead with 3:26 to play in the first half. Two Watson three-pointers propelled the Golden Eagles to eight straight points, but a pair of free throws by K.C. Ross-Miller sent the Aggies into the break with a 39-28 lead.
New Mexico State kept the game around 10 points before scoring six straight to take a 50-34 lead with 12:10 to play. Southern Miss would get no closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Southern Miss was held to just 35.1-percent (20-of-57) shooting, including just 5-of-18 (27.8%) from three. New Mexico State shot 56.4-percent (22-of-39). It also outrebounded the Golden Eagles, 34-to-26.
Daniel Mullings led the Aggies with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Sim Bhullar also added 17 points.
Southern Miss will stay on the road as it travels to Tucson, Ariz., to face No. 9 Arizona, Tuesday, Dec. 4. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. CT and will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.
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