Wacky USM men's basketball season continues after finishing game - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Wacky USM men's basketball season continues after finishing game with four players

UNDATED (WLOX) - Perhaps the strangest occurrence to happen to first-year head coach Doc Sadler and the Southern Miss men's basketball team developed in last night's 73-71 overtime loss at home against FIU.

USM finished the game's final 42 seconds with only four of its players on the court. Matt Bingaya, Michael O'Donnell and Jamie Chapman all fouled out for a Golden Eagles team that dressed only seven players to begin the game. 

The Golden Eagles' third-leading scorer, Norville Carey, was sidelined with a foot injury, and Davon Hayes sat out due to "athletic department policy."

Southern Miss actually led by 12 points in the second half before FIU battled back. 

Chip Armelin scored a game-high 24 points and had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but he missed a layup. 

USM then came very close to playing a second overtime with four players, but Armelin's last-second bid went in and out of the hoop.

"It's tough to play when you got seven dudes active in a game and it's not always going to go our way," Bingaya said. "We had the lead, yeah, but things happen in the game. It gets lopsided, but I give credit to my team because they went out there and fought hard."

With a record of 6-17 this season, a self-imposed postseason ban and already assured the first losing season since 2009, the program has taken a turn for the worst. Thirteen players were listed on the roster at the beginning of the 2014-15 season, which followed up a USM squad that won 29 games and lost only seven the season prior.

Khari Price, a Dayton transfer, was required to sit out due to NCAA transfer rules. Rasham Suarez and Jeremiah Eason were ruled academically ineligible and released from the team. Freshman Eddie Davis is out for the season with a shoulder injury, and Dallas Anglin left the program in December.

Because of Carey's injury and Hayes sitting out, that adds up to only seven players being available to play. 

It could've been only six players to suit up for Thursday's game if Shadell Millinghaus, who left the program in December along with Anglin, hadn't been reinstated by Sadler.

Despite the mountain that Southern Miss has been unable to climb, Sadler refuses to use depth as an excuse.

"At the end of the ballgame, we can talk about Chip getting in there and, you know, this or that," Sadler said. "But the game was decided when we got up 11, had the ball and just went nuts and took some bad shots and let them back in the ballgame."

The self-imposed postseason ban for Southern Miss includes the Conference USA tournament March 11-14 in Birmingham, Ala. However, only the top 12 teams in the 14-team league qualify.

With six games remaining in the regular season, Southern Miss (6-17, 1-11) sits in last place in the Conference USA Standings. 

The Golden Eagles return to action Sat., Feb. 14, against Florida Atlantic. Tip off in Hattiesburg is set for 7 p.m.
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