Bulldog basketball loses to Southern Miss in the second round of 2013 NIT 63-52.
Monday night in front of 5,952 fans, redshirt senior guard Brandon Gibson and the Bulldogs watched as their season ended against Southern Mississippi with 63-52 loss at Reed Green Coliseum in Hattiesburg, Miss.
The 2012-13 season saw the Bulldogs build the nation’s longest win streak at 18 games, enter the AP Top 25 polls and claim a share of the Western Athletic Conference title.
Even all the praise the Bulldogs received this year did not help them on Monday as the Southern Miss zone defense caused problems for head coach Mike White and the Bulldogs, who shot only 35 percent from the field.
“We weren’t able to score consistently,” White said. “Even Southern Miss did not shoot it great from the outside. They outplayed us and outrebounded us. They were tremendous defensively.”
Bulldogs led early in the game, 9-8, after a 3-pointer by Gibson. But the Golden Eagles went on a 9-0 run to take a 17-10 lead.
The ’Dogs got a four-point play by freshman guard Alex Hamilton with 9:04 left in the first, to cut the Golden Eagles lead down to 19-16.
However Southern Miss swung back with 14-0 run to push their lead 33-16 in the first half.
Despite the blow the Bulldogs took before the first half ended, the ’Dogs gave themselves life as Hamilton scored 7 points and the Bulldogs ended on an 11-2 run. The Bulldogs went into halftime down 35-27.
The ’Dogs remained down in the second half after sophomore forward Michale Kyser’s free throw cut the lead to 44-33, but Southern Miss increased its lead to 61-44 with 5:42 to play.
The Bulldogs tried to close the Golden Eagles lead to 61-52 after junior guard Kenyon McNeail’s free throw with 1:04 left in the game but Southern Miss managed to prevail.
“I’m nauseated right now with (this) loss,” White said. “It’s a year I hope all of our kids remember. Although we are honored to be in the NIT, hopefully we can get in that other tournament next year.”
Sophomore guard Raheem Appleby led the Bulldogs with 17 points and Hamilton poured in 15 points.
“We’ve accomplished a lot, but we’ve got to go back to work,” Hamilton said. “We’re not finished. We’ve still got something to prove.”
Despite the loss the Bulldogs suffered on Monday to Southern Miss, the 27 wins this season were the second most in school history behind Hall of Fame forward Karl Malone’s 1984-85 team that registered 29 wins.
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