Arizona's game against Southern Miss was not supposed to be as difficult as it was.
Despite Arizona's struggles, however, the Wildcats were able to come out with the 63-55 home win.
Jonathan Mills started the scoring for Southern Miss with a jumper that was answered with a three-pointer by Solomon Hill. Neil Watson then hit a three of his own, Michael Craig made two from the line, and a three by Jerrold Brooks made it 8-3. After a Kaleb Tarczewski free-throw, Hill made a three-pointer before an offensive rebound by Mills made it 12-7 with about 11 minutes left in the first half.
Kevin Parrom made one of two free-throws out of a timeout and Jordin Mayes added two of his own to bring the Wildcats to within two points. A basket by Nick Johnson tied the game at 12 with under ten minutes left before he added a three-pointer to give the Wildcats the lead. Norville Carey responded with a layup and a three by Rashard McGill have the Golden Eagles the 17-15 lead with about seven minutes left in the half.
Angelo Chol was able to hit one of two free-throws before Craig hit a jumper to put Southern Miss up three. Johnson got to the line, but only hit one of his two attempts to bring Arizona within 19-17 with 6:29 left in the first half. Brandon Ashley got to the line and he too only made one of his two free-throw attempts before McGill hit a jumper. Craig then hit one the next time down court and Arizona was down 23-18.
Johnson was able to make a floater coming out of a timeout, but Mills answered right back with an offensive rebound and put back. Cedric Jenkins was able to get his first points off a turnover to put the Golden eagles up 27-20 with 2:12 left. Tarczewski made both of his free-throws to bring the Wildcats within five, but a jumper by Watson got the seven-point lead right back.
Johnson answered with jumper of his own, but Jenkins hit a three-pointer to go up 32-24. Watson was then able to nail desperation three, but Johnson answered at the buzzer to cut the Southern Miss lead to 35-27 at the half.
Watson started the half with a layup, but Parrom got one of his own shortly after. Johnson then got a steal and breakaway dunk and forced a turnover on a five-second call before a dunk by Tarczewski made it 37-33 and forced a Southern Miss timeout. Out of the timeout, Tarczewski scored on an offensive rebound, but Watson answered with a three-point play to make it 40-35 with about 17 minutes left.
Watson then came down and hit another jumper, but Johnson was able to get into the lane and hit a layup. Coming out of a timeout, Johnson found an opening on the baseline and dunked it home to bring the Wildcats within 42-39, but Carey had an answer. Parrom then scored seconds later to cut the lead right back to three and Mayes got fouled, knocking down both free-throws to make it 44-43 in favor of Southern Miss.
Mayes came up with another steal and fed Johnson for a layup to give the Wildcats the 45-44 lead with 13 minutes left. Mark Lyons made two free-throws coming out of a timeout to put Arizona up three and Parrom got an offensive rebound and scored to make it 49-44 with about ten minutes left in the half. Jenkins was able to answer with a three-point play to bring the Golden Eagles within two.
Craig was able to tie the game with a basket in the paint and Brooks gave the Golden Eagles the two-point lead not too long after. Parrom was able to score shortly after to tie the game and then hit a three to give the UA the 54-51 lead with 4:30 left.
Both teams went scoreless for the next two minutes until Hill hit a three-pointer out of a timeout to put Arizona up six.
Arizona was able to get the ball back and Parrom got to the line, as he knocked down both free-throws and Arizona went up 59-51 with about a minute left.
A layup by Watson brought the Golden Eagles to within six points, but Johnson hit two ensuing free-throws to put Arizona up eight and basically end the game.