HATTIESBURG Southern Miss never trailed and held Union to a 24.9 percent clip from three-point range in a 60-44 win on Friday night at Reed Green Coliseum.
The 44 points mark the fewest allowed in the Doc Sadler era. It was also the best three-point defense since holding UTSA to 4-for-21 (.190) in a Jan. 30 win over the Roadrunners.
Southern Miss (2-1) exploded for a 12-0 run over a 5:28 span in the second half, getting up by as much as 56-40 after the final media timeout. Multiple three-point plays in the post contributed to the effort, and Tim Rowe scored the final seven points of that charge.
“I think our ball-screen defense, percentage wise, was much better than it was our last game at LSU,” head coach Doc Sadler said. “If you look at the LSU game, we won about all the major statistical category except for them making five more three-pointers than us. We just didn’t shoot well in that one.”
The first 12 Southern Miss points came from beyond the arc, but Union stuck with it to trail just 12-10 and 14-12. A 10-3 run helped push the lead to 24-15, and Robert Thomas’ first points of the year, a three-pointer too, upped the home team’s lead back to 27-20 just before halftime.