CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Fifth-year senior. No shot clock. Tie game.
Tyree Griffin's three-pointer from the wing with one second on the clock gave Southern Miss a 63-60 win at Charlotte on Thursday night, its third-straight in C-USA play.
"He said that if they opened the lane, try to get fouled and score," Griffin said of head coach Doc Sadler's timeout strategy. "I saw that they overplayed Cortez [Edwards], so I took the shot. A win is great, but on the road is even better."
Sadler added his input on the play as well.
"We actually wanted to go for it with five seconds left, and what we did was put our two shooters right under the free-throw line with the two bigs extended to the corners, and Cortez being one of the bigs," he said. "If he had slipped like he was supposed to, we would have shot the layup instead of the three. You gotta give Tyree credit. He held onto it like he was supposed to and jump in there with a big shot. So many times he's been in a situation where we've asked him to do so much late. You worry about him not having any legs left. It was just a huge shot."
The 49ers led 44-35 with 12:52 left, but the Golden Eagles went on a 15-5 run to regain a 51-49 lead at 8:38, courtesy of two Leonard Harper-Baker free-throws. Kevin Holland's fourth three-pointer of the night pushed the lead to 58-51 with 5:12 remaining.
The Golden Eagles only scored five points the rest of the way. Harper-Baker hit a fastbreak layup off a Holland steal for a 60-54 lead at 2:32, and after Charlotte star Jon Davis connected on a game-tying jumper with 1:15 left, he missed on his go-ahead attempt with 28 seconds on the clock. Davis led Charlotte with 20 points, 16 of which came in the second half.
Southern Miss led 27-22 at the half, the third-fewest points its allowed in a half to a Division I team this season. The 49ers were held without a field goal for the final 4:10. Kevin Holland's three-pointer from the wing gave Southern Miss a 30-22 lead in the opening minute of the second stanza, its largest of the night, before Charlotte went on a 14-0 run through the first media timeout.
"The first half, I thought both teams defended well," Sadler said. "We held them to 26 percent shooting. The first five or six minutes of the second half, everything we did well in the second half was the opposite from the first. On the road, you can't give away a lead that easily. We gave them 10 points in the first 4 1/2 minutes."
Southern Miss will prepare for a Saturday afternoon battle at Old Dominion. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. CT.
-It is the first time Southern Miss has won back-to-back meetings with Charlotte in 36 all-time games. Southern Miss won 72-54 last year in Hattiesburg.
-Kevin Holland had a season and team-high 14 points, also his first double-digit scoring game of the season.
-It is the fourth time of his career he has led the team in scoring.
-Charlotte's 19 made field goals were the fewest Southern Miss has allowed since 18 to South Dakota on Dec. 21.
-This was the second time Southern Miss won a game with five free-throw attempts or fewer while allowing 20-plus (also at South Dakota).
-Southern Miss has won three consecutive C-USA games for the first time in the Doc Sadler era. The squad also won its 2018 regular-season finale before taking the first two at the C-USA Tournament.
-Leonard Harper-Baker is 10-for-14 from the foul line (71.5 percent) his last two games. He was 4-for-21 the previous eight contests.
-Cortez Edwards (seven points) finished one rebound shy of his 12th double-double. His nine boards led the team.
-LaDavius Draine added 10 points off the bench, going 2-for-3 from deep. He is now 20-for-35 (57.1 percent) in C-USA play on three-pointers.