By The Associated Press
HATTIESBURG – Gary Flowers scored 27 points and Southern Mississippi overcame a two-point halftime deficit to beat Houston 85-73 in both teams’ Conference USA opener on Wednesday night.
Houston (8-6) built a 38-36 lead by halftime, but the Cougars quickly fell behind just 51 seconds into the second half and never led again.
Flowers scored 10 points in just nine first-half minutes due to foul trouble, but scored the first 15 points for Southern Miss to start the second half. The Golden Eagles (12-2) built a 63-48 lead by the 11-minute mark.
Flowers made back-to-back 3s to start the half before putting back an errant R.L. Horton layup to give Southern Miss a 44-41 lead. On Houston’s ensuing trip, he blocked a Maurice McNeil jumper and made another 3.
Maurice Bolden followed Flowers’ lead, and heated up to score 10 of his 23 points in the final 10 minutes.
Flowers also blocked two shots and had 10 rebounds to lead Southern Miss, which won the rebounding battle 26-20 and outscored the Cougars 38-26 in the paint.
Horton added 18 points and six assists for Southern Miss, which is off to its best start in school history.