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Hot-shooting SMU defeats USM


From Special Reports



DALLAS -- The Southern Methodist University men''s basketball team shot 69.8 percent from the floor Saturday to defeat Southern Miss 79-65 at Moody Coliseum. 


Papa Dia went 10-for-10 and had 23 points for the Mustangs (11-8, 2-3 Conference USA), whose shooting percentage was the second highest for a Southern Miss opponentm, and second highest in a C-USA game. 


"You have to give SMU credit," said USM coach Larry Eustachy, whose team lost its second in a row and slipped to 14-5 and 3-3. "They shot the lights out of the ball. We knew what we were coming into. Our defense has really slipped. We haven''t been right the last three or four games. We''re trying to fix that, but things are only going to get tougher. 


Junior Angelo Johnson led the Golden Eagles with 16 points, including four 3-pointers. Senior Gary Flowers added 12 points. Seniors R.L. Horton, Sai''Quon Stone, and freshman D.J. Newbill each scored nine points. 


Flowers hit a jumper to give Southern Miss a 2-0 lead 57 seconds into the game. But SMU went on an 11-2 run in the next 5 minutes, 27 seconds. The Golden Eagles pulled to within three points on a Newbill jumper, but the Mustangs extended their lead to 22-12, their biggest of the first half, midway through the half as they connected on their first five three-pointers. 


After trading baskets, Southern Miss went on a 14-5 run, culminating with a Johnson trey with 39 second remaining to tie the game at 31. However, Mike Walker hit SMU''s seventh 3-pointer of the half with four seconds remaining to send SMU into halftime with a 34-31 lead. 


Johnson and Newbill started the second half with a pair of 3-pointers to give Southern Miss a 37-34 advantage. However, the lead would be short-lived, Collin Mangrum and Robert Clinkscales connected on threes to give SMU a 40-37 lead. 


Johnson tied the game at 40 with another trey 4:04 into the second stanza, but SMU went on a 12-2 run in the next 4:34 to take a 52-42 advantage. Southern Miss would get no closer than seven points, as the Mustangs led by as many as 18. 


Southern Miss shot 42.9 percent from the field (21 of 49). The Mustangs connected on 12 of 18 (66.7 percent) from behind the arc.  


Southern Miss will close its two-game road trip at 6 p.m. Wednesday when it plays at East Carolina.



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