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Armelin, Bingaya lead USM past UTSA

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WTVA/USM Athletics) — Chip Armelin and Matt Bingaya scored 18 of Southern Miss’ 20 points in the final five minutes, as the Golden Eagles rebounded to defeat UTSA, 70-66, Thursday night at Reed Green Coliseum.

Armelin scored a game-high 21 points to lead Southern Miss. Bingaya recorded his fourth double-double of the season, scoring 17 points and recording a career-high 10 assists, while grabbing six rebounds. Shadell Millinghaus added 12 points.

“In the first half, offensively, I thought it was about as good as we’ve played all year,” said Southern Miss head coach Doc Sadler. “We went almost nine minutes without scoring (in the second half), but we found a way. We went from being up 15 to being down five, then finding a way to win the game. I’m really proud of these guys.”

Southern Miss led 37-28 at the half. The first two minutes of the second half were scoreless, as neither team could make a shot. Bingaya finally put points on the board with back-to-back jumpers. After trading baskets, Lewis made a jumper, but Bingaya followed with a three-pointer for a 46-32 lead.

Lewis then converted a three-point play. But, Armelin made a pair of free throws, and Norville Carey made a jumper to give the Golden Eagles its largest lead of the game, 50-35, with 13:56 to play.

The Black and Gold then went ice cold, as it missed its next eight shots and going scoreless for the next 8:57, allowing the Roadrunners to rattle off 20 straight points and turn the 15-point deficit into a 55-50 lead with 5:39 to play.

Armelin snapped the scoreless streak with a three-pointer off an out-of-bounds play. Lewis made one-of two from the line to push the lead to three. Armelin then scored seven straight points. Larry Lewis, Jr. made a layup to pull UTSA within two. But, Bingaya hit a jumper, then connected on four consecutive free throws to give Southern Miss a 66-58 lead with 1:22 to play.

After the teams traded baskets, Gino Littles made one-of-two free throws. Bingaya missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Ryan Bowie went down and converted a three-point layup. Bingaya then threw the ball away, and Lewis made a layup to bring UTSA within two points, 68-66, with 27 seconds to play.

Southern Miss inbounded the ball and Bingaya was immediately fouled, making both free throws to make it a four-point lead. UTSA would have two cracks at the basket, but could not score.

UTSA made five of their first six baskets to take a 10-4 lead just 3:19 into the game. Holland found Blevins for a layup, and following a steal, Holland hit Norville Carey for a dunk to pull the Golden Eagles within two.

Ryan Bowie hit a three-pointer, but Blevins answered with one of his own, as Southern Miss went on a 7-0 run to take its first lead of the game, 15-13, with 13:27 to play in the first half.

Phillip Jones put back Jeromie Hill’s missed jumper to tie the game at 15, but Carey hit one-of-two free throws and Armelin made a jumper to give the Black and Gold an 18-15 lead.

However, Keon Lewis converted a three-point play and Jeromie Hill hit a three to give UTSA a 21-18 lead. With 8:52 to play in the half. But, a Millinghaus three-pointer sent Southern Miss on a 13-0 run over the next 3:26 to give the Golden Eagles a 31-21 lead.

A jumper by Hill followed by a three from Lewis cut the deficit to five. Millinghaus then made his fourth three-pointer of the half. Hill hit a jumper, but Armelin closed the half with a trey, sending Southern Miss into the break with a 37-28 lead.

Southern Miss connected on 46.4% (26-of-56) from the field and 32.1% (9-of-28) from three. UTSA was just 24-of-62 (38.7%) from the floor and 24.0% (6-of-25) from three. The Golden Eagles were also 9-of-11 from the line, including 6-of-7 in the final two minutes.

Bowie led the Roadrunners with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Lewis had 16 points and Hill added 12 points and nine boards.

Southern Miss closes its home schedule this Saturday, February 28, when it hosts UTEP. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT as guard Chip Armelin will be honored before the game for Senior Day.

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