Southern Miss ends with 4 players, loses 73-71 to FIU in OT

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — Ray Rodriguez scored 14 points and hit a key 3-pointer in overtime to help Florida International beat short-handed Southern Mississippi 73-71 on Thursday night.

Southern Miss played the final 48 seconds of the game with just four players on the floor. The Golden Eagles dressed only seven players and three fouled out — including Matt Bingaya in the final minute.

Rodriguez made his third 3-pointer with 2:49 left in overtime, giving the Golden Panthers a 70-66 lead. The Golden Eagles missed their next five shots before Keljin Blevins made a pair of free throws to pull Southern Miss within 72-71 with 20 seconds left. FIU’s Dennis Mavin then split a pair of free throws, and Chip Armelin’s potential game-tying jumper rimmed out to seal it for the Golden Panthers.

Daviyon Draper and Mavin scored 16 points apiece for FIU (12-12, 5-6 Conference USA).

Armelin scored 24 points, and Bingaya had 22 to lead Southern Miss (6-17, 1-11), which has lost five straight.

It’s been a difficult season for the Golden Eagles and first-year coach Doc Sadler. The program is dealing with an ongoing NCAA investigation stemming from previous coach Donnie Tyndall’s tenure.

Two Southern Miss players — Jeremiah Eason and Rasham Suarez — were ruled ineligible by the school in January, further depleting an already thin roster. The university didn’t specify why Eason and Suarez were ineligible.

Tyndall is now the coach at Tennessee.

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