Despite suffering a loss to the pass happy Memphis Tigers, 89-73, Southern Miss showed why they would be a tough matchup in March. The Golden Eagles ran into a buzz saw tonight but showed their resolve in the second half and battled until the final buzzer. While they are not a lock to make March Madness, if they do they will make someone miserable.
USM makes up for their lack of size with huge effort. Despite having only one player on their roster over 6-8 (and he never plays), the Golden Eagles contest every shot, rebound very efficiently and work hard to limit points in the paint. By employing an aggressive zone, that some times extends full court, coach Donnie Tyndall has his team playing at a level that can give even the best teams in the nation a hard time.
Loosing tonight by only sixteen was a display of the grit that coach Tyndall has instilled in his team. After being down by as many as 23 points his team battled in the second half to cut the Memphis lead to as little as 10 points. The Golden Eagles forced 13 turnovers and held their opponent to 7 offensive rebounds. After a half of being forced into bad shots, the Tyndall had his team playing better offensively as well in the second half as they had 8 assists and shot well from behind the arc in order to cut into a large lead. However, the Tigers proved to be too much for the USM team tonight.
In the end the Southern Miss team leaves still in control of second place in Conference USA. With their vaunted defense and the shot making ability of Dwayne Davis many coaches are hoping that the selection committee forgets about the unheralded team in southern Mississippi.