Aaron Brown scored all of his team-high 13 points in the second half and Southern Miss defeated host DePaul 75-68 in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic at Allstate Arena Wednesday night.
Michael Craig finished with 12 points and eight rebounds while Daveon Boardingham had 12 points and seven rebounds. Southern Miss (2-0) didn't start a player taller than 6-7, yet finished with a 36-29 rebounding advantage over the Blue Demons, who started three players taller than 6-7.
Brandon Young led DePaul (1-1) with a game-high 23 points and had a team-high six rebounds in the loss. Cleveland Melvin had 16 points while freshman Billy Garrett had a game-high eight assists.
The Golden Eagles led by as many as 11 points in the second half after falling behind 21-9 to start the game. DePaul made three of its first five 3-pointers but the Southern Miss zone defense worked out in the long run as DePaul finished 7 of 26 behind the arc.
DePaul rallied late, cutting the lead down to 59-57 but a Brown 3-pointer extended it. A Melvin 3-pointer with 5:19 remaining helped DePaul get within one score but the Golden Eagles outscored DePaul 10-3 down the stretch.
Southern Miss fell behind by double figures on several occasions during the first half but a 7-0 run forced DePaul to call a timeout with 4:52 remaining and a 26-22 lead. The timeout didn't help as DePaul failed to score on their next two possessions and Neil Watson tied it 26-26 with 3:30 remaining. The Blue Demons never led again.
Deonte Houston gave Southern Miss the lead with a three-point play and Boardingham helped the Golden Eagles take their biggest lead of the first half, 31-26, after he grabbed an offensive rebound and muscled in a putback.