UAB outlasts Southern Miss in overtime

Published 6:54 pm Saturday, February 23, 2019

HATTIESBURG — Lewis Sullivan’s heave from the deep wing banked in with less than seven seconds left in regulation, and UAB made all its shots down the stretch in overtime to defeat Southern Miss 76-72 on Saturday.

Lewis Sullivan scored 17 points, and Tavin Lovan had six of his 16 points in overtime to lead UAB (17-11, 9-6 Conference USA).

The Blazers also got a 3-pointer from Zack Bryant with 44 seconds left to pull them within one. LaDavius Draine made two free throws for Southern Miss (17-10, 9-6) with 22 seconds left for a 64-61 lead, but Sullivan’s late trey sent it to overtime.

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“As I just told the team, every game at this point is going to come down like that,” Southern Miss coach Doc Sadler said. “You can’t make the defensive mental mistakes and give up easy baskets and expect to win. We didn’t make them work for their baskets once we got to the last few minutes of overtime. You have to make them score with you between them and the basket. You have to give them credit. Between the one that forced overtime and Zack Bryant’s, it doesn’t get tougher than that.”

Southern Miss beat the Blazers on Jan. 12 in Reed Green Coliseum, a 73-68 affair that featured 28 lead changes and 14 ties. This one, which needed five more minutes to decide, had seven of each.

Southern Miss didn’t get up a shot in regulation after Sullivan’s basket. The Golden Eagles were ahead 70-68 midway through overtime before Jalen Perry hit a jumper and Lovan followed with consecutive dunks to put UAB on top 74-70 with 44 seconds left.

After Leonard Harper-Baker cut the deficit to two with 28 seconds left, Bryant clinched the win with two free throws at 22 seconds while the Golden Eagles were missing their last two shots.

Tyree Griffin had 20 points and 10 assists for the Golden Eagles, whose six-game winning streak ended with the loss. Cortez Edwards added 17 points and nine rebounds. Harper-Baker had 13 points.

“The thing that we have to take away from this one is that you can’t get comfortable,” Sadler said. “You can get a five or six-point lead and the next thing you know, they make a 3 and you miss a shot. If you’re down, it’s not over, and if you’re up, you have to finish.”

Southern Miss will not play again until March 3 at 2 p.m., on the road at Western Kentucky.