Last week’s narrow victory over Marshall taught Southern Miss a lesson.

“Don’t come out like the game is going to be given to us,” senior guard Jerrold Brooks said. “It’s hard to win in the NCAA, period.”

But when the Golden Eagles fell behind 9-2 against Charlotte on Sunday at Reed Green Coliseum, it appeared as though that lesson went unheeded.

So when timeout was called, Southern Miss coach Donnie Tyndall delivered a reminder.

“We knew we had to pick it up defensively,” forward Aaron Brown said. “That’s where it starts.”

And that’s what happened. The Golden Eagles outscored the 49ers 39-13 over the final 16 minutes of the first half, propelling them to an 81-64 victory at Reed Green Coliseum.

Southern Miss improved to 21-3 overall — its best start since the 1960-61 season — and 8-1 in Conference USA. The Golden Eagles remain undefeated at home this season (11-0), and are now 65-7 since 2009.

Tyndall admitted the “here we go again” notion entered his mind when the 49ers got off to a hot start.

“We talked for two straight days about (Ben Cherry), the one kid that can really shoot the ball on their team,” he said. “First possession, we don’t get to him and he knocks in a 3 (pointer). But our guys responded and held them to 13 points over the last 15 or 16 minutes of the first half.”

On the final play of the first 20 minutes, Southern Miss’ leading scorer Neil Watson suffered a right ankle injury that kept him on the bench the rest of the game — enter Brooks.

Tyndall called Watson’s injury a mild sprain, and said he’ll undergo an X-ray today “just to be safe.”

Watson said he intends to be back in action at UAB on Thursday.

“It’s nothing that’s going to hold me back for too long,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to practice (today) and Tuesday.”