It wasn't pretty, but when this Blazers team had to get it done at the end they did. Aaron Johnson hit a jumper just inside the three point line with six seconds left to put the Blazers up by 57-56 and the defense held the Golden Eagles off in the final seconds as they took home a key conference victory before 5,156 fans at Bartow Arena. Jamarr Sanders had a couple of huge threes, one to tie the game at 55 with 1:10 left. R.L. Horton of Southern Miss hit one of two free throws with Elijah Millsap corralling the rebound off the second miss with 32 seconds left. The Blazers called time out with 19 seconds left. Johnson was actually looking to Sanders at the end, but couldn't pass it to him, so Howard Crawford set a screen for Johnson and he drained the shot and the crowd went berserk.
Millsap didn't have his best night, but finished with 14. He was five-of-six from the free throw line. He is now 25-of-28 from the line in conference play. Sanders added 13 and Johnson 12. George Drake had 10. Gary Flowers led the Golden Eagles with 25.
Knew it would be tough. Southern Miss is an athletic physical team and Larry Eustachy, their coach, believes they'll be in the thick of things come tournament time. Good win for Blazers.
Shot 18-of-45 from field, 40%, and only six-of-22 from three, 27%. Need to improve on that. Outside shooting will be critical as the conference play moves along. But this team is finding a way to get it done. Fifteen-of-20 from free throw line, 75%.
The Blazers are now 16-2 overall and 4-0 in C-USA. Southern Miss fell to 10-8 and 0-4.
Huge game Saturday at 6 p.m. at Marshall. Marshall is 15-3 and 4-0 in conference. They lost a tough game to No.12 West Virginia (ESPN-Coaches' Poll) last night, 68-60.
The game will be televised by CSS.