HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) -- LaShay Page scored 20 points and Darnell Dodson added 17 to push Southern Mississippi past East Carolina 78-76 in the Conference USA opener for both teams Wednesday night.
The Golden Eagles (14-2) never trailed, but had to fight off a late East Carolina rally sparked by Pirates forward Darrius Morrow, who scored 12 of his game-high 23 points in the second half.
Southern Miss won the rebounding battle 35-25, including three out of the four rebounds after the 1:28 mark in the second half when East Carolina (9-5) was making its push.
Torye Pelham, then Rashard McGill pulled down rebounds after teammates missed the front end of two 1-and-1 opportunities in the final minute.
Miguel Paul scored 19 for East Carolina, including a final free throw that pulled the Pirates within two with 2.8 seconds left, but Pelham rebounded his second shot and cleared it out as time expired.
Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.