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Southern Miss hands No. 19 James Madison first loss

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Victor Hart tallied 16 points and seven rebounds to lead Southern Miss to an 81-71 Sun Belt Conference upset of No. 19 James Madison on Saturday in Hattiesburg, Miss.

Andre Curbelo added 15 points and nine assists as Southern Miss (8-7, 2-1) pulled off its first win over a ranked opponent since 2011 when it toppled No. 22 UCF.

Curbelo, a transfer from St. John’s who missed the first 10 games before he was granted an eligibility waiver by the NCAA, had a key basket with 1:40 left as the Golden Eagles held off the Dukes’ late surge.

Austin Crowley had 15 points and eight rebounds while Cobie Montgomery (12 points) hit all four of his shots from the floor for Southern Miss.

T.J. Bickerstaff had a double-double by halftime (10 points, 10 rebounds) on his way to collecting 14 points and 16 rebounds to lead James Madison (14-1, 2-1), which saw the end of its program-record 14-game winning streak.

Terrence Edwards scored 15 points while Noah Freidel added 13 points and 10 rebounds for James Madison, which lost in Hattiesburg for the second straight year.

Southern Miss gained its biggest lead less than five minutes into the second half when Victor Iwuakor (nine points, three blocks) scored on an alley-oop, making it 53-38.

James Madison answered with an 11-point run, which was triggered by a dunk by Julien Wooden and fueled by five points by Jaylen Carey as the Dukes sliced the deficit to 53-49 with 11:54 left.

But that’s as close as the Dukes got. A 3-pointer by Hart with 6:02 to go ignited a nine-point run that stretched Southern Miss’ lead to 73-60.

In the first half, James Madison struggled from 3-point range, hitting just 1 of 11 attempts on its way to finishing 2 of 17 (11.8 percent) from deep.

Southern Miss took its first lead, 9-6, on a trio of free throws by Crowley with 15:57 left in the half. The Golden Eagles stayed in front the rest of the first half.

When the Dukes hit a dry spell, missing six straight shots late in the first half, the Golden Eagles went on an 8-1 run, fueled by putback buckets from Donovan Ivory and Iwuakor.

With the run, Southern Miss pushed its lead into double digits for the first time on its way to a 44-35 lead at the break.

–Field Level Media

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