The North Dakota State men's basketball team erased a 14-point first-half deficit and tied the game on five different occasions in the second half, but the Bison were never able to take the lead, falling 70-69 at home in the Bison Sports Arena on Monday, Nov. 18.
NDSU (1-2) and Southern Miss were tied for the final time at 65-65 with 3:44 to play, but a basket by Michael Craig and a final three-pointer from Neil Watson were enough for the Golden Eagles to hold on for the 70-69 victory.
The Bison had one final attempt down 70-69 with 1.8 seconds to play, but Watson stole the ball from TrayVonn Wright following the inbounds pass and time expired.
Wright led all scorers with 21 points and also recorded a game-high 12 rebounds for the double-double. Senior Mike Felt scored 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc.
Southern Miss (3-0), a 2013 NIT quarterfinalist, was led by 18 points from Aaron Brown. The Golden Eagles shot 26-of-50 (52 percent) from the floor.
Southern Miss went on an 18-0 run to open up a 36-22 lead with under two minutes to play in the first half, but the Bison used three-pointers from Felt and Taylor Braun to trim the halftime margin to 11 points at 39-28. NDSU scored the first 11 points of the second half to knot the game at 39-39.
The Bison committed 12 first-half turnovers after making only 10 turnovers in the first two games of the season combined.
The contest was tied at 44, 49, 63 and 65 over the final 15 minutes, but NDSU never regained the lead. The Bison comeback was keyed by 6-of-9 shooting from three-point range in the second half and a pair of high-flying dunks by Wright.
NDSU will play at Western Michigan in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Wednesday, Nov. 20. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. (CT).