By Bob Baum/The Associated Press
TEMPE, Ariz. — Darnell Dodson wasted no time in making his presence felt on the Southern Mississippi basketball team.
The 6-foot-7 transfer from Kentucky, reinstated to the team on Friday, sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer in his first game for his new team Monday night to give the Golden Eagles a 64-61 victory over Arizona State.
Arizona State rallied from 11 down in the final four minutes to tie it on two free throws by Keala King with five seconds to go. Dodson took the inbound pass, dribbled downcourt and let it fly from about a foot behind the 3-point line.
Dodson, who played just one minute in the first half, scored all 17 of his points in the second. LaShay Page had all 14 of his points in the second half, too, for the Golden Eagles (9-2), who trailed 30-21 at the break.
“Darnell Dodson is a special player,” Page said. “He came out, first game back, instant offense. He’s going to be real sound on defense and he’s going to make plays for us, just like he did tonight.”
Dodson was declared eligible on Friday. He was dismissed from the Southern Miss team in April after he was arrested on auto and residential burglary charges at a fraternity house. He pleaded guilty but the conviction could be lifted if he serves 500 hours of community service.
The university and coach Larry Eustachy said Dodson had made his amends and was welcomed back to the team.
Dodson did not play Saturday in Southern Mississippi’s victory at home over Ole Miss.
“He’s only practiced once in almost a year,” Eustachy said. “They made great shots, and we made one at the end.”
King had 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Sun Devils (4-7), who lost a second straight game at home on a 3-pointer in the final seconds. They lost to Northern Arizona 69-68 on Saturday.
Sendek was scratching his head about how his team shot 49 percent to Southern Miss’s 34 percent and still lost.
“I thought our guys showed great character coming back. They battled,” Sendek said. “But once again, we’re on the short side of a tough 3-point shot at the end of a game.”
Torye Pelham of Southern Mississippi and Arizona State’s Rusian Pateev were ejected after a flare-up with 12:14 remaining. Pelham had 10 rebounds at the time.
The incident occurred just after Page’s 3-pointer tied it at 34-34.
Sendek wondered why the Southern Miss players weren’t penalized for leaving the bench.
“I don’t understand why there weren’t any repercussions for that,” he said. “It seems to me that everybody I’ve asked has confirmed that their team left the bench. … If you leave the bench, you’re supposed to be ejected from the game.”
The only player ejected for leaving the bench was little-used Ahvare Phillips, who ran all the way to the Arizona State huddle.
Southern Mississippi outscored the Sun Devils 28-9 over an eight-minute span to go up 51-43 on a 3-pointer by Angelo Johnson, his only field goal in 12 attempts.
The Sun Devils shot out to a 14-4 lead on consecutive baskets by King and were up 22-13 when Pateev grabbed his own rebound and scored with 6:51 to play. Southern Mississippi scored the next seven, capped by a three-point play by Neil Watson, to cut the lead to 22-20 with 4:10 before halftime.
But Arizona State outscored the Golden Eagles 8-1 the rest of the half to go up 30-21 at the break. Four players had two points apiece during the spurt, punctuated by a pair of free throws by Kyle Cain with 8.8 seconds to go.
Southern Mississippi, a 40 percent shooting team on the season, shot 23 percent (7 for 30) in the first half. The visitors were even worse on 3-pointers, making just 1 of 10. They entered the game making 39 percent of their 3-point tries.
In the second half, the Golden Eagles made 7 of 14 3-pointers and shot 46 percent from the field.