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USM’s men’s basketball stays perfect at home after beating Arkansas State

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The Southern Miss men’s basketball team continued its perfect start at home on Thursday night with a 73-57 win over Arkansas State (9-13, 1-8 SBC). The Golden Eagles (18-4, 7-2 SBC) moved to 11-0 at Reed Green Coliseum.

The night can be summed up in one play that came just over five minutes into the game. Leading 13-10, Neftali Alvarezintercepted a pass to start a fast break that ended with a drop pass to a trailing Donovan Ivory who emphatically finished the dunk.

The unselfish play guided four different Golden Eagles to scoring 10-plus points, while DeAndre Pinckney led the bunch with a game-high 18 points.

The pass-first mentality continued not even a minute later when Ivory found Pinckney off a screen for another two-handed slam. Those same two combined three-straight baskets in a stretch where the rest of the Southern Miss offense had gone cold.

Three separate times in the first half the Golden Eagles pushed their lead to eight – the largest of the half – but each time Arkansas State had an answer. The final answer came on a Julian Lual jumper with 18 seconds left in the first half to make it a six-point game.

Southern Miss had a chance to extend the game back to eight or more points, but Alvarez committed one of his two turnovers in the final seconds to make it 33-27 at the break. Despite taking the lead into the locker room, Arkansas State held the shooting advantage with a 42.9 percent clip in the first 20 minutes. The Golden Eagles weren’t far behind at a 41.7 percent clip.

Denijay Harris finished the opening half with just two points but did have six rebounds to his name. Harris caught fire in the second half en route to finishing with the first double-double of his career.

Arkansas State tried to muster some magic early in the second half with a three-pointer out of the gate to cut it to a three-point difference. Thankfully, that is as close as the Red Wolves would get for the rest of the night. Southern Miss embarked on a 7-0 run to make it 40-30 three minutes in.

Southern Miss delivered the dagger with a Pinkney three-pointer to put Southern Miss up 11 after a Red Wolves triple. Alvarez and Felipe Haase then extended it to a 15-point advantage. That lead continued to grow and eventually peaked at 19 on a Harris layup.

A Tyler Morman free-throw down the stretch was the final Southern Miss point before it secured the 16-point win in front of 4,266 Golden Eagle fans.

Pinckney (18), Haase (13), Crowley (12) and Harris (11) all finished in double figures. Harris tied his career mark in rebounds with 10 and Haase added nine. Ivory came off the bench to finish with nine points and Alvarez added another six bench points

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