MTSU needed to win every game remaining on its schedule to realistically qualify for the Conference USA Tournament, and after Saturday’s game in Hattiesburg, check one game off the list.
The Blue Raiders cashed in one of its best performances of the season in a massive victory over Southern Miss 61-53 to complete the season sweep of the Golden Eagles.
MTSU (7-21, 3-12 C-USA) seized the lead with ten minutes left in the first half and did not let go, cruising with a comfortable advantage for the remainder of the game.
Southern Miss (9-19, 5-10) committed 18 turnovers which led to a staggering 23 points off turnovers for MTSU which proved fatal as both teams struggled to shoot from the field.
C.J. Jones led all scorers with 18, while Donovan Sims chipped in with 11 points of his own.
Southern Miss was led by Tyler Stevenson with 16 points and six rebounds. Stevenson has helped lead the under-manned Eagles as the team’s academic and injury issues have plagued the depth of the roster.
MTSU, not surprisingly, punished USM’s lack of depth and outscored the home side 14-2 from the bench.
The win moves MTSU two games behind USM for the final spot in the C-USA Tournament bracket with a tiebreaker advantage if the teams are knotted in conference record by the end of bonus play.
MTSU will take a break until a road trip to Rice on March 1st. The Owls topped the Blue Raiders in their last meeting in Murfreesboro.
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