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Men's Basketball returns home to face UTEP on Thursday night

Jan. 3, 2018

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Southern Miss, undefeated at home, is set for its first game of the 2018 calendar year when it hosts UTEP on Thursday night at 7 p.m. CT.

The game can be found on beIN Sports, with Mike Gleason and Jason Capel on the call. John Cox, the Voice of the Golden Eagles, will have the action on the Southern Miss IMG Sports Network (Rock 104.5 in Hattiesburg/Laurel).

-- The Golden Eagles last year were 4-0 in C-USA home Thursday contests, and will look to continue that trend. The squad is seeking its first C-USA home-opening victory of the Doc Sadler era.

-- Sadler was the UTEP head coach from 2004-06, leading the team to a WAC Championship and NCAA trip his first season before an NIT trip the following campaign. He was also an assistant for Billy Gillespie during the 2003-04 season. Omar Thomas, serving his first year as the Director of Basketball Operations, played for Sadler at UTEP and averaged 18 ppg over his two seasons. He was the WAC Tournament MVP in 2005 as well. Southern Miss guard Kevin Holland's father, James, was also an assistant at UTEP for two seasons with Sadler's staff.

-- The all-time series with the Miners has been heavily-favored by the home team in recent years, as the host has won each of the last six meetings. Last year, the Golden Eagles pulled out a 73-65 win on Jan. 7 before falling 80-50 on Feb. 11 in El Paso. Quinton Campbell was the star in that first bout, registering career-highs of 24 points and 10 rebounds for his first-career double-double.

-- Southern Miss has most recently finished a grueling stretch of four consecutive road games, taking on No. 24 Florida State and (RV) Mississippi State as well as two prime C-USA contenders in Marshall and WKU.

-- The Golden Eagles against WKU had 14 offensive rebounds, a season-high, compared to the Hilltoppers' five. Tyree Griffin finished with a team-high six assists. Only Michigan has held him to fewer than five. Kevin Holland made three deep balls, the ninth-such time of his career and sixth time this season. Clay Weatherspoon also played 11 minutes of solid defense in the post, just the third game of his career with double-digit minutes.

-- Southern Miss has risen to sixth and 14th nationally for fewest turnovers per game (9.7) and assist-turnover ratio (1.54). Against WKU, the squad committed no turnovers in the second half. Florida State has been the only team so far to edge the Black and Gold in the turnover battle.

-- In each of the last five games, the Golden Eagles have shot better in the second half (47.2 percent) than in the first (30.5). Included in that mark is a 19-for-29 performance at Marshall over the final period (65.5 percent).

-- UTEP is second in C-USA to Old Dominion for both scoring defense (66.9 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (40.1 percent). Keith Frazier, a grad transfer from SMU, is the team's leading scorer (14.5 ppg) and second-best rebounder (6.2 rpg). Omega Harris is another big threat to the opposition and has been one of the top performers in C-USA. Matt Willms, a 7-foot-1 center, is their leading rebounder, but has started just four games with seven appearances.

-- The Miners also made a season-high 12 three-pointers in Saturday's 80-62 win over Rice. Last year, UTEP made seven in Hattiesburg and eight in the El Paso rematch.

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