Senior Josimar Ayarza
Jan. 14, 2011
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss men's basketball team begins a two-game homestand this Saturday, Jan. 15, when it hosts 22nd-ranked UCF. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. CT at Reed Green Coliseum.
Southern Miss and UCF will meet for just the eighth time, with the Golden Eagles holding a 4-3 advantage. Southern Miss has won three of the last four meetings. In Hattiesburg, the Golden Eagles lead 2-1. Last year, USM won the only meeting, coming back from a 16-point deficit with 11 minutes remaining to win 68-58, in Hattiesburg.
The Golden Eagles are just 6-84 all-time against teams ranked in the Top 25, including just 1-26 at Reed Green Coliseum. They are looking to snap a 16-game losing streak against ranked opponents, dating back to 2004.
Southern Miss enters the game with a 13-3 record, 2-1 in Conference USA. The Golden Eagles defeated Rice, 81-78, in overtime, Wednesday night. Senior forward Gary Flowers had game-highs of 24 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four blocks. Sophomore guard LaShay Page scored 15 points, and senior guard R.L. Horton and freshman guard D.J. Newbill added 11 points apiece.
Flowers currently leads Conference USA with 21.4 points. He is also tied for second in the league in three-point field goal percentage (.462), is third in blocks (2.0), sixth in field goal percentage (.511) and seventh in rebounding (7.7). Horton is second on the team with 12.1 points.
Newbill is averaging 8.9 points and is 13th in the league with 6.1 rebounds. Senior forward Josimar Ayarza is scoring 7.9 points per game and while grabbing 4.4 rebounds. Junior guard Angelo Johnson is adding 6.9 points and is fourth in the league with 4.4 assists while pulling down 4.4 rebounds. Page is also adding 7.2 points.
As a team, the Eagles are second in Conference USA in scoring (78.2 ppg) while giving up 65.2 points. Southern Miss is connecting on 45.5-percent of its shots, while allowing its opposition to hit 39.1-percent. The Black and Gold are also leading the league with 40.8 rebounds, while recording 11.9 assists and 4.4 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 108-97 (.527) record during his time as head coach. In 19 years, Eustachy has an overall record of 368-242 (.603).
UCF enters today's game ranked 22nd in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and 23rd in the Associated Press. They are 14-1 overall, 1-1 in conference play. The Knights won their first 14 games of the year before falling at Houston, 76-71, last Saturday.
Sophomore forward Keith Clanton led UCF with 13 points and nine rebounds. Senior center Tom Herzog also had 13 points. Junior guard A.J. Rompza and sophomore guard Marcus Jordan added 10 points apiece.
The Knights are led by Jordan with 16.3 points, good for tenth in Conference USA. He is also averaging 3.1 assists. Clanton is scoring 15.7 points per game, and is fourth in C-USA with 8.8 rebounds and fifth in field goal percentage (.517). He is also second in the league in blocks with 2.2. Junior guard Isaac Sosa is adding 9.0 points and is sixth in C-USA in three-point shooting at 41.6-percent.
As a team, UCF is scoring 75.9 points per game while allowing a league-low 58.1. The Knights are shooting 48.9-percent from the floor while its opposition is hitting just 36.6-percent of its shots, tops in the league in both categories. From behind the arc, UCF is hitting just 36.4-percent of its shots, and allowing its opponents to hit 36.6-percent. The Knights are outrebounding their opponents, 38.1-32.8, and also lead the league in blocked shots at 7.1 per game.
Head coach Donnie Jones is in his first season at the helm of the UCF men's basketball program. He has compiled a 14-1 (.933) record this year as head coach. In his fourth season as a head coach, Jones is 69-42 (.622) as a head coach.
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