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Men's Hoops Hosts Houston in Conference Opener

Jan. 3, 2011

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss men's basketball team will open 2011 with its first conference game of the year when it hosts Houston this Wednesday, Jan. 5. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. CT, and will be televised on CSS.

Fans who arrive early will receive a schedule poster featuring senior guard Sai'Quon Stone.

Southern Miss and Houston will meet for the 31st time, with the Cougars holding a 16-14 advantage. In Hattiesburg, Southern Miss leads 8-3. UH has won 10 of the last 15 meetings, but Southern Miss has won the last two regular season meetings. Last year, the teams split a pair of games. The Golden Eagles won, 57-55, in Houston, before UH won, 74-66, in the Semifinals of the Conference USA Tournament.

Southern Miss enters conference play with an 11-2 record after defeating Savannah State, 64-54, to win the Hardwood Club Holiday Tournament.

Senior forward Gary Flowers was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player after recording 28 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, while also blocking three shots. It was his second double-double of the year. Senior guard R.L. Horton scored 13 points and was named to the All-Tournament Team. Senior guard Sai'Quon Stone added nine points, including 7-of-8 free throws, and six rebounds.

Flowers is currently second in Conference USA with 20.8 points. He also leads the league in three-point field goal percentage (.511), is third in blocks (186), seventh in field goal percentage (.525) and seventh in rebounding (7.7). Horton is second on the team with 11.8 points. Freshman D.J. Newbill is averaging 9.2 points and is ninth in the league with 6.9 rebounds. Senior forward Josimar Ayarza is scoring 8.8 points per game and while grabbing 4.8 rebounds. Junior guard Angelo Johnson is adding 7.3 points and is fourth in the league with 4.9 assists while pulling down 4.8 rebounds.

As a team, the Eagles are second in Conference USA in scoring (78.5 ppg) while giving up 61.4 points. Southern Miss is connecting on 45.6-percent of its shots, while allowing its opposition to hit just 36.1-percent, which is also second in the league. The Black and Gold are also leading the league with 42.3 rebounds, while recording 12.5 assists and 4.6 blocks.

Head coach Larry Eustachy is in his seventh season at the helm of the Southern Miss men's basketball program. He has compiled a 106-96 (.525) record during his time as head coach. In 19 years, Eustachy has an overall record of 366-241 (.603).

Houston is 8-5 entering its Conference USA opener. The Cougars are looking for their first three-game winning streak of the season after defeating Rogers State, 85-48, last Thursday.

Senior forward Maurice McNeil led the Cougars with 25 points and 13 rebounds. Freshman forward Alandise Harris recorded his first career double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 12 boards. Junior guard Darian Thibodeaux and senior guard Adam Brown each added 13 points and five assists.

Houston is led by Brown with 14.2 points, while grabbing 4.8 rebounds. He is also tied for second in the league in three-point field goal percentage (.448). McNeil is second on the squad with 13.5 points while ranking third in C-USA with 9.3 rebounds. He is also connecting on 52.8-percent from the field, good for sixth overall in the conference. Freshman forward Kendrick Washington is averaging 11.5 points per game. Senior guard Zamal Nixon is leading Conference USA with 2.4 steal per game and is second in assists with 5.2.

As a team, the Cougars are scoring 71.1 points per game while allowing 66.7. UH is shooting 45.7-percent from the floor while its opposition is hitting 40.0-percent of its shots. From behind the arc, Houston is hitting 36.7-percent of its shots, and are third in C-USA in three-point field goal percentage defense (28.6%). The Tigers are also being outrebounded, 34.1-to-32.0.

Head coach James Dickey is in his first season at the helm of the Houston men's basketball program. He has compiled an 8-5 (.615) record this year as head coach. In his 11th season as a head coach, Dickey is 172-128 (.573) as a head coach.

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