Southern Miss

USM BLOG: Tyndall's Eagles survive season opener

The Southern Miss men's basketball team beat Western Kentucky, 67-64, in overtime tonight at Reed Green Coliseum in the season opener for both teams.

Jerrold Brooks and Michael Craig each had 13 points to lead the way on offense for the Eagles.

What made the win most impressive for USM was the fact that four players fouled out of the game after USM entered the contest with only eight players expected to contribute.

Tyndall had to insert walk-on freshman Jamie Chapman in the final seconds of overtime to close out the game with Craig, Dwayne Davis, Deon Edwin and Rashard McGill fouled out.

"I don't say things just to say it," Tyndall said "It's not my style, but I told our team that I was every bit as proud or more so of this team as the (Morehead State team) that beat Louisville (in the 2011 NCAA Tournament)."

USM had to play the game without two key returning guards, Neil Watson and Cedric Jenkins. Both are expected to return from injuries in the next two weeks.

Watson's absence was evident at point guard, where Brooks and Davis combined to turn the ball over 13 times. As a team, the Eagles had 26 turnovers.

The game was played in front of an announced crowd of 7,097. For the USM fans in attendance, it was the first chance they've had to celebrate in a while with the football team struggling to an 0-10 record.

"It was incredible," Tyndall said of the crowd. "There's absolutely no way we win the game if it wasn't for fans. They were in to the game. It was a great turnout. They were into the game at critical times. They helped with stops and got the momentum going."