basketball

Men and Women down FIU in Hoops Action

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Richardson's buzzer-beater caps two huge Southern Miss comebacks in win

HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- An 11-point deficit with five minutes to play and a six-point margin in overtime paved the way for D'Angelo Richardson to drain a three-pointer in front of his bench with fractions of a second on the clock, and Southern Miss won 69-66 over FIU in overtime on Thursday night.

The Golden Eagles were scoreless in that extra session until Quinton Campbell connected on a three-pointer with 1:27 left that cut the deficit to 66-63. A missed bonus free-throw on the other end led to another Campbell triple, his 28th points of the game (career-high).

FIU turned it over on the following possession, and that is where it all began for the walk-on and his only field goal of the night.

"Cortez [Edwards] was driving and he kicked it, and I knew I had the shot," Richardson said. "I thought the first one was going in, but once it missed I was focused on getting back and keeping them from scoring. Cortez gets the rebound and it hits the back of the rim. Quinton tapped it back and it came back off very slow, so I'm still getting back. But once I saw I could run to it, I went and got the shot, and I knew it was going in. I was then focused again on stopping them from scoring, and once our team stormed the court, I knew it was over."

It was a 52-41 lead for the Panthers until a 15-0 run by Southern Miss. Edwards knocked down a trey with 5:03 left. Bilal Abdur-Rahim's one-handed put-back dunk got the Golden Eagles within 52-48 at the 3:48 mark, and it was all tied up with 2:36 to play after Edwards, for the second time of the night, got a steal at half-court and took it home for a dunk.

Campbell's layup with 1:45 left gave Southern Miss a 56-52 lead, its largest lead of the night.

Richardson, who was perfect on four free-throw attempts, tallied a pair with 29 seconds left that gave his team a three-point lead, but Eric Nottage connected from long-range with 18 seconds left to force overtime.

FIU led 22-15 at halftime, meaning Southern Miss tripled its scoring output in the second half (45-38).

The Golden Eagles have one final home game on Saturday at 4 p.m. against Florida Atlantic. There will be a pregame ceremony honoring Quinton Campbell, Michael Ramey and Raheem Watts as seniors.

"These guys made a decision to come here," head coach Doc Sadler said. "They are all going to leave with a degree. There will be three guys on that basketball court representing this school the way any coach would want them to. They have played their tails off."

NOTES

-Quinton Campbell's 28 points were a career-high and the most by a Golden Eagle on the year. He upped his home Thursday C-USA game average to 24.5 ppg.

-The Golden Eagles were 11-for-12 from the free-throw line (season-high 92 percent), all in the second half.

-Cortez Edwards picked up his third double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds). He now has four double-digit rebounding performances.

-Edwards' four steals were the most by any Golden Eagle on the year.

-He also has 12 games of five assists or more.

-Edwards and Campbell each played 44 minutes, season-highs for the Golden Eagles.

-Southern Miss is 2-0 in overtime games this year after being 0-3 last season.

-The 10 made three-pointers were one off a season-high (11 vs. Tulane).

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MIAMI, Fla. – The Southern Miss Women’s basketball team (17-9, 9-5), fueled by four Florida natives and motivation to win for the absent coach Joye Lee-McNelis, sliced FIU (5-19, 3-10) 75-37 Thursday night.

“Playing in [Florida] felt good,” said freshman Respect Leaphart. “I think that’s one of the reasons why I scored 18. At first it was a lot of adrenaline, so I thought I was going to do too much, but I calmed myself down mentally and tried to not go outside my abilities. I wanted the team and coaches to know that they can count on me through hard times and whenever they need me.”

Leaphart led all scorers with a career-high 18 points that included an eight-of-eight showing from the free throw line, six rebounds, two blocks and a steal.

Transfer Molly Brown also had a career night. Brown tallied a career-high nine points and corralled four rebounds.

“Coach McNelis and I talked a lot before we left,” Brown said. “She talked about how she wanted me to have a good night and, not getting as many minutes, sometimes I do more than I am capable of doing. She told me to relax and that’s what I did tonight. It was a relief to get in [and produce]. It had been a burden on my back and I’m glad that [my night] came.”

Coach McNelis, though not with the team, was not out of the action.

“I haven’t seen my phone, but I bet I have a thousand text messages from Coach,” said interim head coach Kiley Hill. “During pre-game I told our kids be who you are and you’re playing for a bigger purpose. Basketball is just a game, we’re here to entertain, but of course we’re playing for Coach McNelis. She’s the heart and soul of this program. I’m really proud of this team’s effort and our staff has been incredible making sure everything is smooth. We’re keeping [Coach McNelis] in our minds and hearts. We wish she was here tonight.”

Southern Miss held the Panthers to the fewest points allowed since the 2010-11 season when the Lady Eagles held New Orleans to 37 points.

Other Lady Eagle contributors were Cotton Lashyra with nine, Jayla King and Brittanny Dinkins chipped in eight, Shonte Hailes and Brittny Norris added six and Tajanay Veiga had three points.

The Lady Eagles travel to Boca Raton next to face FAU on Saturday Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. CT. Lady Eagle fans can hear Josh West on the radio broadcast for the game on WFOR 1400 AM at 3:30 p.m. CT.

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