HATTIESBURG -- Marshall hit six of its first seven field-goal attempts and all three of its free throws. Southern Miss missed six of its first seven shots and all four of its free throws.
The score was 16-3 seven minutes into the game and the home team wasn't winning.
It was so bad that even Neil Watson, who came into the game having connected on 50 straight free throws, missed one.
But the final score is all that counts. And when Southern Miss senior guard Watson nailed a 3-point basket with two seconds remaining in the game, the Conference USA men's basketball game belonged to the Golden Eagles.
After Marshall threw the ball out of bounds, USM's Aaron Brown sank a couple of free throws and the Eagles had a 60-57 victory.
Southern Miss (20-3 overall, 7-1 C-USA) played, for the most part, poorly. And while several Eagles came up with big plays, Watson had the biggest.
Marshall dropped to 8-16 and 2-7.
Despite trailing 16-3 early in the contest, reserve guard Chip Armelin made a steal, got a lay-up and a free throw after being fouled on the play to spark the Eagles for a bit.
Deonte Houston followed with a 3-pointer, Aaron Brown made a steal and fed the ball to Jerrold Brooks for a score and Brown soon two free throws and USM was down only 19-13.
Southern Miss cut its deficit to five points with 8:02 left in the first half but by halftime, Marshall had gone ahead by 11, 35-24.
The Golden Eagles started the second half getting a few steals, and Daveon Boardingham's block of 7-foot-2 Marshall center Yous Mbao's shot was exciting. But they were getting no closer to Marshall for a long while.
USM's Michael Craig, who had 5 points in the first half, scored 8 in a five-minute span and with 12:37 to play in the game, USM trailed only 44-39.
Twice the Eagles cut it to one, and then finally tied the score 55-55 when Brooks nailed a 3-pointer with just less than a minute to play.
Marshall went back up 57-55 with 34 seconds left in the game. The ball changed hands, and then came Watson's shot.
USM is now 7-0 at Reed Green Coliseum this season. The attendance was 4,839.
Former Southern Miss football great Ray Guy -- who was selected last weekend for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame -- got a standing ovation from the crowd at Reed Green at halftime. He gave a little speech and bowed to the crowd, saying, "I honor you" for the fans' dedication.