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Pirates bested by Southern Miss in defensive battle

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

Four players scored in double figures to carry Southern Miss to a 60-46 win over East Carolina Saturday night in the final Conference USA meeting between the old rivals.

Akeem Richmond led the Pirates (11-9, 0-5) with 18 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Caleb White scored all 13 of his points in the first half.

Daveo Boardingham led the Golden Eagles (18-3, 5-1) with 15 points connecting on all seven of his field goal attempts and his lone foul shot. Michael posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds with Jerrold Brooks scoring 11 and Neil Watson 10.

Despite surrendering the first basket of the game, East Carolina followed up with an 8-0 scoring run, which included back-to-back threes by White and Paris Roberts-Campbell. The Pirates continued their hot shooting from beyond the arc, hitting five of their first seven attempts, to take a 17-11 lead into the first media timeout with 13:22 remaining in the half.

ECU went on to make seven of its first 12 shots from downtown and opened up its largest lead of the night at 28-18 with 4:33 to go in the period. The Pirates held Southern Miss without a field goal for more than seven minutes to move from a 19-17 lead out to a 10-point advantage.

East Carolina took a 30-23 lead into the halftime locker rooms, going 11-of-26 (.423) overall from the floor and 7-of-18 (.389) from three. Southern Miss (18-3, 5-1 C-USA) shot just 9-for-26 (.346) from the field, but owned a 14-2 scoring advantage in the paint in the first half.

The Golden Eagles came out of the break with an aggressive demeanor, racing out on an 11-3 run to take a 34-33 lead just two minutes in - their first since the opening basket of the game.

ECU's first four shots of the second half were conversions from beyond the three-point line, three of which came off the hot hand of Richmond, who finished the game with six 3-pointers to retake the Division I lead with 94 total 3s made this season.

Trailing 38-36, Roberts-Campbell put the Pirates back on top with a triple, before Richmond knocked down his third of the period to give East Carolina a four-point edge with 13:25 to go.

Following the Richmond three, Southern Miss countered with an 18-1 run over the subsequent nine and a half minutes to produce its first double-digit lead of the game at 56-43 with just 2:21 on the clock.

ECU endured a span of 11:20 without a field goal, until a layup by Roberts-Campbell with 2:05 left in the game, but the Golden Eagles closed out the game on a 22-3 run en route to its 14-point victory.

The Pirates shot just 5-of-24 (.208) in the second half and finished the game 16-of-50 (.320) overall, 12-of-34 (.353) from 3-point range and took just five free throws. Southern Miss hit 52 percent of its second-half shots, while totaling a 22-of-51 (.431) performance overall from the floor, despite hitting just 4-of-16 attempts from beyond the 3-point line.

East Carolina will return to action Thursday, Jan. 30 when it travels to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to take on Middle Tennessee State at 8 p.m., before continuing on to Birmingham, Ala., for a 3 o'clock EST tip at UAB on Saturday, Feb. 1.

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