By The Associated Press
HATTIESBURG — Neil Watson made a game-tying 3-point shot with a half-second left in regulation and Jonathan Mills scored a career-high 25 points as Southern Mississippi outlasted Tulsa 77-69 in overtime Wednesday night.
The victory left the Golden Eagles (22-4, 9-2) tied for first in Conference USA with Memphis (19-7, 9-2).
Tulsa (15-11, 8-4) lost for only the second time in its past 10 games.
Mills, who finished with a double-double after grabbing 10 rebounds, had a near-perfect shooting night, going 6 of 7 from the floor and 13 of 13 from the foul line. Torye Pelham had 11 rebounds as the Golden Eagles outrebounded the Golden Hurricane 39-34.
The Golden Eagles made 31 of 35 free throws, including 5 of 6 in overtime.
Jordan Clarkson’s 3-pointer with 16 seconds left in regulation broke a 63-63 tie, but Watson lofted his own 3-pointer with .5 seconds to play to send the game into overtime.
Watson finished with 18 points, while Maurice Bolden added 11 points. Tulsa got 19 points from Scottie Haralson, while Clarkson added 17 and Steven Idlet had 10.
Mills was perfect in the first half, hitting all three of his shots from the floor and going 7 of 7 from the free-throw line.
His teammates shot just 28.5 percent from the floor (6 of 21), but the Golden Eagles made 14 of 15 free throws.
The Golden Hurricane, which shot 50 percent from the floor in the first half (13 of 26), went just twice to the line, making one.
Southern Miss, which led 34-28 at halftime, built a 15-point lead with 9:09 to play only to see the Golden Hurricane roar back.
Haralson and Clarkson scored seven points apiece to spark an 18-2 run, with the second of Clarkson’s two free throws giving Tulsa a 55-54 lead with 4:17 to go.
From there, the teams dueled down the stretch.
With Tulsa leading 57-55, Bolden hit a jump-hook in the lane, and then dropped in a 3-pointer for a 60-57 Southern Miss lead.
Idlet had a pair of low-post baskets sandwiched around a pair of Mills free throws to get Tulsa within 62-61, and after Watson made a free throw, Clarkson drained a 3-pointer from two steps beyond the arc on at the top of the left wing.
Watson was called for a push-off with and Tulsa’s Eric McClellan followed with two free throws with 6.1 seconds to play.
That proved to be enough time for Watson to streak downcourt, and then pull up off the left arc to send the game into overtime.
Southern Miss took over right away, as Tulsa’s three big men, Idlet, D.J. Magley and Kodi Maduka fouled out on consecutive possessions.
Pelham hit three free throws, and LaShay Page added two more as the Golden Eagles built a five-point lead and never were headed