HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) -- Darius Washington Jr. is becoming
Washington scored 11 of his 20 points in the final 8 minutes,
helping the fourth-ranked Tigers pull away for an 85-68 victory
over Southern Mississippi on Saturday night.It was the second time this season Washington dominated a second
half -- he had 15 of his 20 points after halftime in a win over
Providence -- and it left coach John Calipari wondering how
effective the sophomore could be if he could find his rhythm
earlier."It's unbelievable how he finishes games off," Calipari said.
"We're running an offense that's all based on reads, and I've got
to do a better job of training him so those reads are easier for
him. The offense is a driving offense -- we're going to get in the
lane at some point. And it's been really good for us."The bigger, deeper Tigers (17-2, 3-0 Conference USA) never
trailed and withstood a strong second half by the Golden Eagles'
Jarekus Singleton to win their sixth straight.Singleton had all 19 of his points after halftime and was
10-of-14 from the free-throw line. He scored 14 straight points for
Southern Miss to pull the Golden Eagles within 10 on a basket with
5:52 remaining."I was just trying to make something happen," Singleton said.By then, Washington had taken over at both ends of the court. He
kept the pressure on the Golden Eagles' guards, and Memphis held
Southern Miss to two field goals the rest of the way in winning its
fourth straight in the series."I got layups here and there from being aggressive,"
Washington said. "Being aggressive on defense, things opened up."Robert Dozier and Chris Douglas-Roberts had 14 points apiece,
and Rodney Carney -- who entered averaging a team-best 18.1 points --
had all 11 of his points in the first half for Memphis.Carney broke the school's career 3-point shooting record early
in the game, then ran into foul trouble in the second half and
fouled out with 7:50 to play.He entered tied with Anthony Rice with 242 career 3-pointers,
then surpassed that mark with his first of three straight 3s in the
opening minutes."That's what I bring to the team -- spurts, runs like that,"
Carney said.Memphis led by as many as 14 in the first half, taking a 35-21
lead after Andre Allen's basket capped a 12-2 run with about 5
minutes left. The Tigers led 45-35 at halftime.Southern Miss got no closer than eight in the second half.
Singleton's first basket made it 47-39 with 19:03 remaining."They're going to make runs. They see Memphis on their
schedule, they're going to make some shots they usually don't
make," Washington said. "But I was telling the guys that sooner
or later, they were going to break down. Just keep going and going
at them until they're like 'Whoa, we can't take it anymore.'"Memphis then held the Golden Eagles without a field goal for
more than 7 minutes and used a 13-5 run to build a 60-44 lead."They are the fastest team I have ever coached against,"
Southern Miss coach Larry Eustachy said. "As a collection of
runners, they really come at you."Courtney Beasley had 16 points, sixth-man David Cornwell added
12 points and Mildon Ambres finished with 10 for Southern Miss
(7-12, 1-3), which has lost three straight and five of six.Eustachy was called for a technical foul with 10:25 remaining
for arguing with an official.Southern Miss fell to 1-21 all-time against ranked opponents at
home. The Golden Eagles haven't beaten a ranked team at Reed Green
Coliseum in nearly 20 years, a 69-66 victory over No. 20 Virginia
Tech on Feb. 22, 1986.