Southern Miss’ 17-game home winning streak snapped by South Dakota State

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The Southern Miss men’s basketball team’s 17-game home winning streak has come to an end.

On Wednesday night, the Golden Eagles fell to the South Dakota State Jackrabbits 65-54 at Reed Green Coliseum, marking the program’s first loss at home since the 2022 season.

A stagnant offensive performance paired with a lackluster rebounding night catapulted Southern Miss head coach Jay Ladner’s group to fall short in the midweek contest.

The Jackrabbits jumped on the scoreboard to an early 16-11 lead before the first timeout with 11:03 left in the first half. USM did not counter SDSU’s scoring run and trailed 34-22 at the midway intermission.

Forward Victor Hart sparked a Golden Eagles rally in the second half when he faked a jumper and drove to the rim for a thunderous dunk, cutting the Jackrabbits’ lead to eight and riling up the home crowd.

South Dakota State answered and Donovan Ivory again cut the margin to eight on a pair of made free throws.

William Kyle III. then put an exclamation on the game with a two-handed dunk under the hoop that put the Summit League team up 14 with 5:45 left on the clock. The Golden Eagles would go on a run to make it a seven-point game with two minutes left. Crowley’s free throw to cut it to seven would be the last points Southern Miss would score on the night.

Summit Preseason Player of the Year Zeke Mayo went for 16 points and eight rebounds while battling foul trouble. South Dakota State shot 43.1 percent from the floor and 47.8 percent from deep. The Jackrabbits knocked in 11 triples, including eight in the first half.

Hart had his first collegiate double-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds, four steals, and a block, but didn’t cure any of the offensive woes. The forward went 7-18 from the floor, 0-5 from the three-point line, and 2-9 at the free-throw line.

SunBelt Preseason Player of the Year Austin Crowley scored a team-high 18 points, but his 4-18 highlighted shooting difficulties showcased throughout the game.

“I think our confidence level is down a little bit. I love our effort and am encouraged. We are just struggling, pressing, and trying to make things happen,” Ladner said. “I’m proud of them, not proud that we lost the game but our non-conference schedule is tough.”

USM struggled from the floor, shooting 29.1 percent on 55 attempts. It was the lowest shooting percentage the Golden Eagles have recorded under Jay Ladner. USM was also outrebounded 48-32 by SDSU.

The Golden Eagles will play at Milwaukee on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

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