USM gets past Herd in C-USA

Published 1:12 am Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Courtney Beasley scored a game-high 24 points to lead Southern Miss to an 84-79 win over Marshall in Conference USA men’s basketball action Tuesday.

Beasley scored 16 of his points in the second half as USM erased a 10-point MU lead early in the second half. USM (13-6, 3-2 C-USA) also received double-digit scoring efforts from Craig Craft, R.L. Horton, Jeremy Wise and Andre Stephens. Stephens recorded 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

Marshall (9-11, 2-4 C-USA) was led by Damier Pitts 18 points. Shaquille Johnson added 16 points, while Chris Lutz added 14 and Tyler Wilkerson 10.

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Chris Lutz broke open a 41-41 tie, and closed out the first half, with back-to-back three-point baskets at the 35-second mark and with just a second to go to give Marshall a 47-41 lead at halftime.

The Thundering Herd shot 69.2 percent (18-of-26) from the field in the first half, while limiting Southern Miss to 43.8 percent (14-of-32) shooting.

A technical foul was charged to USM head coach Larry Eustachy prior to the start of the second half. The Herd’s Damier Pitt hit both free throws to extend the Herd lead to 49-41. The lead would quickly evaporate, however, as Southern Miss went on a 13-4 run to take a 55-53 lead at the 15:23 mark.