Gazebo Gazette

The Southern Miss men’s basketball team dominated William Carey on the defensive side of the ball on Monday night to cruise to a 75-42 win in the season opener. The Golden Eagle (1-0, 0-0 SBC) defense held its opponent to the fewest points allowed in a game since November 18, 2016, when they allowed 42 to Union.
“William Carey had a lot of reasons to do with our offensive struggle to start the game,” said Southern Miss Head Coach Jay Ladner. “But I was so proud of the way the guys responded. They play with tremendous effort and intensity on the defensive end. I thought we didn’t move the basketball as much — I think we just lacked patience. We have to clean our execution up and the execution is always the head coach’s responsibility.
“I was very proud of our defensive execution, though. Our numbers speak that. We have a lot of guys playing and we’re working to develop chemistry. Our defensive pressure eventually tired William Carey down and we did a good job taking the guards out of what it was trying to do.”
Southern Miss forced 30 turnovers for the second time under head coach Jay Ladner and grabbed 19 offensive rebounds: the second-most by a Ladner team.  Jay Ladner is former head basketball coach of the St. Stanislaus College Prep for over 20 years and a Pass Christian resident.
Eight different Golden Eagles forced a steal, with Austin Crowley posting a game-high four steals. Crowley also had a strong Southern Miss debut by going for 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field. Eleven of his points came in the second half.
The first half was a low scoring affair as William Carey gave the Southern Miss offense fits trying to score. The visiting school held Southern Miss to 12-of-33 shooting in the first half and didn’t allow the Golden Eagles to knock down a 3-pointer on nine attempts. William Carey got off to a quick start on the Golden Eagles, jumping to an 8-2 lead. A Crowley jumper sparked a 9-0 run to pump some momentum into Reed Green Coliseum.
Another Crowley basket extended the lead to five with a little under seven minutes to play in the opening half. William Carey once again cut the score to one as the minutes ticked down, but a quick Mo Arnold floater and Marcelo Perez step-back basket ultimately pushed the lead back to five heading into halftime.
Southern Miss came out firing on all cylinders in the second half after not getting much going offensively over the first 20 minutes. The Golden Eagles scored 48 second-half points to tie for the fifth-most in a single half under Ladner’s watch.
The 20 second-half points allowed to the Crusaders is tied for the fewest a Southern Miss team under Ladner has allowed in a single half. Crowley’s 11 points in the second half paced a Golden Eagle team that had 10 different players score over the final 20 minutes.
Ladner’s team enjoyed a 23-0 run over nine minutes that included 14 consecutive stops on the defensive side of the ball. The Southern Miss defense forced eight turnovers during that stretch of scoreless basketball from the Crusaders.
Not to be outdone by Crowley’s 15 points, Denijay Harris poured in a career-high 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Harris’ previous career high was 12, which he had done in two separate games as a Golden Eagle. Southern Miss also got eight points from both Felipe Haase and Donovan Ivory, while Ivory’s production was part of 42 bench points from the Black and Gold.

It also scored 30 points off William Carey turnovers and outscored the fellow Hattiesburg school, 50-12, in the paint. ¬†William Carey’s 30 turnovers is tied for the most a Jay Ladner team has forced in his four seasons at Southern Miss

The 20 second-half points by the Crusaders is tied for the fewest allowed in a single half under Ladner
The Golden Eagles only went 3-of-15 from deep and didn’t get any deep magic going until Crowley knocked down a deep ball in front of the Southern Miss bench. Tate Ryder and Ivory knocked down the other two deep balls. FIU transfer Victor Hart pulled down nine rebounds off the bench to add to the 20 bench rebounds the Golden Eagles accumulated.
Southern Miss finished the game shooting 47 percent from the floor, but only 47 percent from the charity stripe. Its defense limited William Carey to 31 percent shooting from the floor and 28 percent from deep. The Crusaders were led by Cole Chapman’s 10 points.
The Golden Eagles travel to Vanderbilt on Friday, Nov. 11. Tip off against the Commadores at Memorial Gymnasium is scheduled for 6 p.m.