Altron Jackson and B.B. Waldon combined for 54 points on Senior Night Tuesday to help torch Houston 88-57 at the Sun Dome. On Saturday, Southern Miss turned the tables.Seniors Pete Meneses and Elvin Mims totaled 55 points in their final game at Southern Miss as the Golden Eagles drilled the Bulls 92-75 Saturday in Hattiesburg.
“We were beat in every aspect of the game and beat at every position,” coach Seth Greenberg said. “We were outcoached and outhustled.”
Greenberg had plenty of reasons to be disgusted with the Bulls’ play against Conference USA’s lowest scoring team. Southern Miss, averaging 59 points in league play, shot 63 percent from the floor and 50 percent (9-of-18) from behind the three-point arc.
“We didn’t guard, (and) we didn’t compete,” Greenberg said. “We just were awful.”
Once again, the Bulls’ (18-11, 8-8 in C-USA) timing could not have been worse. South Florida, with a win against Southern Miss, could have moved up to the No. 5 seed in the upcoming C-USA Tournament (March 6-9). Instead, USF dropped to No. 8 and will play UAB in the first round Wednesday. More importantly, should the Bulls get by the Blazers, No. 1 seed Cincinnati will be waiting for them Thursday. USF has lost 10 straight to the Bearcats.
“It was one of those games,” Greenberg said. “You hope it’s just not the last game of the season.”
Bolstered by the emotion of playing in their final game, Meneses and Mims one-upped Waldon and Jackson’s efforts Tuesday against Houston. Mims posted four-year-bests in points (35) and rebounds (14), while Meneses, who came in averaging 3 points per game, lit up the Bulls for a career-high 20.
“It was like when sharks see blood,” Greenberg said. “(Southern Miss) saw blood, and they went after it.”
Meneses’ 14 consecutive points fueled a 21-8 Southern Miss’ run at the end of the first half to send the Golden Eagles (10-17, 4-12 in C-USA) into the locker room with a 40-29 lead. Southern Miss, one of only two teams not to qualify for the C-USA Tournament, extended its advantage to as many as 23 points in the second half, and the Bulls would get no closer than 12.
USF shot 40 percent from the field as the Bulls dropped to 1-10 all-time in Hattiesburg. Jackson led the way with 17 points but shot just 4-of-13 from the field. Reggie Kohn (12 points) was the only other USF player in double digits.
The Bulls started the season 7-0, but have played .500 basketball since as they limp their way into Wednesday’s first-round matchup with UAB. After watching his team disintegrate against National Division doormat Southern Miss Saturday, perhaps Greenberg summed up the game best.
“We stunk,” he said. “Plain and simple. There’s no other way around it.”
- Brandon Wright covers men’s basketball and can be reached at email@example.com