Memphis, TN – Shaq Goodwin led the way with 19 points, five rebounds and five assists, as No. 21 Memphis maintained its unblemished conference mark thanks to an 89-73 victory over Southern Miss on Saturday.
Chris Crawford also tallied 19 points, while D.J. Stephens added 16 and Joe Jackson posted 15 for the Tigers (24-3, 13-0 C-USA), who extended their overall win streak to 18 games and claimed a share of the Conference USA crown.
"To win 18 straight is hard to do. If you ask anyone in the coaching profession, they will say to win that many in a row is very hard. You can't take that and winning a conference championship for granted," Memphis coach Josh Pastner said.
Dwayne Davis poured in a game-high 28 points for the Golden Eagles, (21-7, 10-3), who hadn't lost since an 89-76 home defeat to Memphis on Feb. 9. Jerrold Brooks contributed 16 points in the setback.
"After playing them the second time, I think they're arguably the best passing team in all of college basketball," Southern Miss coach Donnie Tyndall said. "They were an unbelievable passing team the first time we played them. I think they had 27 assists on 31 made field goals, 32 maybe. Tonight, they have 25 assists on 29 made field goals. I mean that's an incredible statistic."
USM led 20-17 with just over eight minutes left in the first half, but Memphis completely flipped the momentum with a 24-8 burst.
Adonis Thomas hit a jumper to start the run, then Goodwin's bucket gave the Tigers a one-point edge. He added two free throws and a Stephens slam pushed the edge to 25-20. Crawford later connected on consecutive threes sandwiched around two USM buckets for a 31-27 game, and a Jackson trey made it 36-28 with 2:41 on the clock.
Goodwin made two from the charity stripe and Crawford capped the surge from beyond the arc and it was 41-28 with 1:45 to play before intermission. Crawford was fouled on a three-point try and made all his free shots to send the hosts into the break up 46-30.
Goodwin's layup and foul shot early in the second half provided a 52-30 edge for the Tigers.
Southern Miss managed to whittle its deficit to 72-60 on a Norville Carey bucket with 8:08 to go, but the hosts reeled off 12 of the next 16 points over the next four-plus minutes to open up an 84-64 lead on a Jackson jumper inside of five minutes to play.
The outcome was decided from there.
The Golden Eagles led 8-5 early on, and the Tigers clawed back to take a 13-10 edge. Davis connected from long range to give the visitors an 18-15 lead, then made a layup to make it 20-17.
Memphis has won 13 straight home games ... Thomas finished with 12 points and six rebounds for the victors ... Stephens added a game-high five blocks and Jackson recorded three steals ... Southern Miss claimed a 39-35 edge on the glass in defeat.