HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss shook off a slow start to defeat Truman State, 89-69, in its final tune-up before the regular season, Sunday afternoon at Reed Green Coliseum.
Aaron Brown led all scorers with 17 points. Michael Craig added 16 points and had game-highs of seven rebounds and six assists. Daveon Boardingham had 16 points and five rebounds and Deonte Houston added 14 points, seven boards and three assists.
"I thought our team improved from the first exhibition," said Southern Miss head coach Donnie Tyndall. "We did a better job of taking care of the ball and we did a better job on the glass. I don't think we gave up as many second shots. So I was pleased that we cleaned up a few things."
Southern Miss started off sluggish, as it was just 2-of-12 to start the game. The Golden Eagles led 7-6, but a three-pointer by Andrew Vander Zwaang sent Truman State on a 10-2 run to take 16-9 lead midway through the first-half.
Following a pair of free throws from Houston, Southern Miss hit four of its next five shots to go on a 10-0 run. Mike Carlson hit two free throws to cut the deficit to one, but the Golden Eagles scored seven straight points, including four from Houston to take a 25-18 lead.
The teams traded field goals but the Golden Eagles closed the half on a 17-7 run to take a 44-28 lead heading into halftime.
The teams went back-and-forth for the first five minutes of the second half. After Reed Mells hit three free throws, Brown drained the Golden Eagles' first three-pointer of the game. Following a pair of free throws from Matt Carlson, Matt Bingaya hit a three to give Southern Miss its largest lead of the game, 70-47.
The Bulldogs then went on a 13-2 run to pull within 12 points, but that is as close as they would get.
Southern Miss was 31-of-57 (54.4%) from the field and 4-of-11 (36.4%) from behind the arc. Truman State was held to just 39.6-percent (21-of-53) from the floor and 18.5-percent (5-of-27) from three. Southern Miss outrebounded TSU, 40-26.
Vander Zwaang led Truman State with 16 points and Carlson added 13 points and a team-high three rebounds.
Tyndall added, "Matt Woodley, in just his third year, has done a great job in building the Truman State program. He has a tough, physical team, and they resemble their coach in that they are tough and gritty."
Southern Miss opens the 2013-14 regular season this Friday, Nov. 8, when it hosts in-state foe Jackson State. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT.