By John Pitts / NEMS Daily Journal
CANCUN, Mexico – That rematch between Ole Miss and Southern Miss for the Cancun Governor’s Cup championship didn’t materialize.
Instead, Ole Miss beat Saint Louis 69-61 in the third-place game, while Southern Miss lost 63-58 to Colorado State in the championship matchup.
The Rebels missed a chance at the rematch – they beat Southern Miss 86-81 earlier this month – with Thursday night’s 68-61 loss to Colorado State, which snapped a five-game winning streak.
Colorado State (8-3) has won four games in a row.
Both Ole Miss and Southern Miss will get in tuneup games at home this week.
Ole Miss (9-3) is home against Alcorn State (0-9) on Thursday night. That will leave the Rebels with two more non-conference games before visiting SEC rival Florida on Jan. 8.
Southern Miss (9-2) is home against Mississippi Valley State (1-10) on Wednesday in the Hardwood Club Holiday Tournament. The Golden Eagles open Conference USA play on Jan. 5 against Houston.
A quick look at Friday’s games:
• Colorado State 63, Southern Miss 58: The Golden Eagles led 56-55 with 2:03 left but the Rams went on a 7-0 run to take control.
“We just couldn’t stop them at the end. We got out-toughed,” said Southern Miss head coach Larry Eustachy. “They did to us what we had been doing to everyone else.”
Travis Franklin had 25 points and nine rebounds to lead Colorado State. Gary Flowers had 22 points and nine rebounds for the Golden Eagles (9-2), who had won four straight.
• Ole Miss 69, Saint Louis 61: Zach Graham scored 19 points, making 11 of 12 free throws for the Rebels. Dundrecous Nelson scored 16 points and Chris Warren added 15.
Ole Miss, which ranks 87th nationally in rebounding, outrebounded Saint Louis 42-23. Graham had a game-high eight rebounds.
The Rebels led 28-24 at halftime. They finished the game 25 of 29 from the free throw line.
The Billikens (5-7) played without coach Rick Majerus, who missed the game because of an illness. Assistant Porter Moser ran the team.
• Game summaries, Page 2B