Iwuakor’s game-winner caps Southern Miss’ huge comeback win vs. Troy

Published 8:41 pm Saturday, January 20, 2024

HATTIESBURG — Even when it looks down and out, Southern Miss’ men’s basketball team just can’t lose at home these days.

Victor Iwuakor’s twisting basket in the lane with 2.9 seconds left capped the third-largest comeback in Southern Miss history, and gave the Golden Eagles a wild 64-63 victory over Troy on Saturday.

Southern Miss trailed by 18 points with just under 14 minutes remaining after Troy exploded for a 22-3 run early in the second half.

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Southern Miss countered with a 16-2 run, bookended by a 3-pointer and conventional three-point play by Donovan Ivory, to get back in it. The latter cut Troy’s lead to 58-54 with 8:45 remaining.

The Golden Eagles didn’t get the lead, though, until Iwuakor’s game-winner in the final seconds.

Iwuakor got a pass from Austin Crowley at the 3-point line and drove through the key between two defenders. Troy’s Thomas Dowd was in the way in front of the basket, but Iwuakor switched the ball from his left hand to his right and scooped an awkward, off-balance floated that hit off the backboard and dropped through the net.

The 64-63 lead was the first for USM since it was ahead 4-2 early in the first half.

Iwuakor finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots. Austin Crowley also had 11 points for Southern Miss (11-8, 5-2 Sun Belt Conference), and Cobie Montgomery scored 13. Ivory had a team-high 20 points.

Nine players scored for Troy (11-8, 5-2), but Christyon Eugene was the only one in double figures with 19 points.

Southern Miss remained undefeated at home against Sun Belt opponents since joining the league in 2022. It has won 13 consecutive conference games at Reed Green Coliseum, including two this week when it had to come from behind in the second half.

The Golden Eagles’ next four games are all on the road, beginning Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Coastal Carolina. The game will stream on ESPN+.