Akeem Richmond made an ECU-record eight 3-pointers, but Dwayne Davis scored seven of his 23 points in overtime, including the go-ahead basket, to lift Southern Miss over East Carolina, 86-82, inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
Davis gave the Golden Eagles (20-6, 9-2 C-USA) their first lead, 80-79, since 14-12 with 1:45 to play in overtime. He then scored USM's next four points as it held an 84-82 lead with 15 seconds to play.
ECU (14-10, 5-6) had a chance to win or tie on its final possession, but Paris Roberts-Campbell's errant pass went out of bounds and Southern Miss took over with just over a second to play. Cedric Jenkins then made two free throws for the final margin.
"Paris had [a shot], and he passed it," ECU Head Coach Jeff Lebo said. "It's a tough situation when he hadn't played a whole lot there at the end, and I think he was a little nervous to take it. He made a good move, and he should have shot it, but instead he passed it."
Richmond scored a career-high 25 points to lead the Pirates, while Paul added 22 points. Sampson posted his fifth double-double of the year with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Senior Maurice Kemp, who leads Conference USA in scoring, was limited to just nine points, but grabbed seven rebounds, handed out a career-best six assists while blocking two shots and getting two steals.
East Carolina connected on 15-of-37 3-pointers, while Southern Miss dominated inside and outscored the Pirates in the paint, 54-18. The Golden Eagles also converted 15 ECU turnovers into 21 points compared to just 10 points on 12 turnovers by the Pirates.
ECU held a 10-point lead with 4:37 to play in regulation, but was outscored 14-4 and was forced into an extra five-minute period.
"We had a chance to win the game there in the last three minutes, but couldn't finish it out," Lebo said. "That's a frustrating thing. If we could make two plays in the last three minutes, we'd win the game.
"I'm proud of my team. We scored points on them. You score 15 3s to one and you lose. You don't see that too often."
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