The Blazers (21-4, 11-1) won a close, heart-wrencher Thursday night game against the Golden Eagles (7-15, 3-8) in double overtime by a score of 80-77.
The Golden Eagles were almost literally on fire from beyond the arc making 16 threes and shooting 42.1 percent. The Golden Eagles also amassed 12 steals and 19 assists on 28 made baskets. Southern Miss was led by Kourtlin Jackson who scored 19 points. They had three others score in double figures, including Raheem Watts, Khari Price, and Michael O’Donnell who tallied 18, 16, and 13 points respectively. Raheem Watts led the Golden Eagles with 9 rebounds.
The Blazers were led by Chris Cokley in scoring and rebounds with 17 points and 13 rebounds for a much needed double-double. William Lee, Nick Norton, and Robert Brown also scored in double figures accounting for 15, 14, and 13 points respectively. The Blazers tallied 20 assists on 31 made baskets and shot a semi-toasty 48.4 percent from the floor. However, the Blazers committed 15 turnovers and shot only 57 percent from the free throw line.
The Blazers out-rebounded the Golden Eagles offensively and overall 14 to 11 and 41 to 33 respectively. This was a major factor, and in fact probably the deciding factor, in this contest (besides the score). Rebounding gives you extra shot opportunities and prevents second chance points for the other team, which can prove vital to a team’s success.
We won a tough one on the road against a team that is not terribly impressive. Southern Miss was really feeling it tonight from beyond the arc. They statistically shoot around 33 percent from downtown, but they were able to punish our zone and knock down quite a few. I feel our biggest problem all around is three-point shooting teams. However, a win is a win, and a win on the road against a rival is even sweeter.
The Blazers return to the hardwood Saturday at 1 p.m. in Ruston, La. against the Dunkin’ Dawgs of Louisiana Tech.
Its a great day to be a Blazer!