HATTIESBURG, Miss. --- Tennessee State jumped off to a fast start, but the Tigers could not hold the momentum as host Southern Miss rallied for an 84-74 victory Monday night.
The Tigers built as much as a 14-point lead in the first half, but the Golden Eagles cut the halftime deficit to 39-34. USM took the lead for good 64-62 following a 3-point field goal by Courtney Beasley at the 5:13 mark of the second half. The final margin proved to be the Golden Eagles' largest lead of the contest.
"We have to be much tougher than we were the final seven minutes of the first half and the second half," said TSU head coach Cy Alexander. "We must do a lot better job on the boards."
TSU faced a 41-27 rebounding deficit in the game. After shooting 54 percent (13-of-24) in the first half, the Tigers were 33 percent (10-of-30) in the second half to finish at 43 percent (23-of-54). TSU was 7-of-12 from 3-point range in the first half, but just 1-of-9 in the final half.
USM shot 56 percent (14-of-25) in the second half to finish at 47 percent (25-of-53) for the game.
TSU was led by Bruce Price who tallied 27 points, keyed by 14-of-18 free throws. Kareem Grant added 18 points and Clarence Matthews had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Larry Turner, the Oklahoma transfer, saw his first action of the season after becoming eligible and had eight rebounds and scored one point.
Jarekus Singleton scored a season-high 21 points for USM while Beasley and Jason Forte each had 18.
TSU (2-3) plays at Ohio State on Friday night.