Jan. 22, 2014
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - For the second straight game, the Southern Miss men's basketball team will face the Conference USA leader, as it travels to Norfolk, Va., this Thursday, January 23, to face Old Dominion. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT.
Southern Miss and Old Dominion will meet for just the seventh time and the first time as conference opponents. The Golden Eagles are looking for their first victory in the series, as ODU has won the previous six meetings. When played in Norfolk, Old Dominion leads, 3-0. This will be the first meeting between the two schools since 1993.
Southern Miss enters the game with a 16-3 record and 3-1 in Conference USA. The Golden Eagles are coming off an 80-71 victory over Louisiana Tech on Sunday afternoon.
Senior guard Neil Watson leads the team with 11.6 points. He also leads Conference USA and is third in the country (as of Jan. 19) in free throw percentage, connecting on 93.1-percent from the charity stripe while adding 3.8 assists, good for eighth in the league. Senior forward Michael Craig is adding 11.3 points and a team-high 7.8 boards, which is eighth in C-USA. He is also is fourth in the league in field goal percentage, connecting on 60.0-percent from the floor.
Senior forward Daveon Boardingham is averaging 11.2 points per game and is pulling down 4.7 rebounds per game. He is also connecting on 55.4-percent from the field, which is ninth in C-USA. Junior forward Aaron Brown is scoring 9.8 points and senior guard Jerrold Brooks is averaging 9.1 points.
Southern Miss is averaging 74.0 points per game and is leading C-USA by allowing just 63.4. The Golden Eagles are connecting on a league-best 46.7% from the field and 33.6% from three while allowing just 42.4% from the floor and 33.2% from behind the arc. Southern Miss is also outrebounding its opponents, 36.7-to-28.5 and is second in the league and 26th in the country (as of Jan. 19) with 8.4 steals per game.
Old Dominion enters the game with a 9-9 record and leads Conference USA at 3-0. The Monarchs have won four straight after defeating Florida Atlantic, 65-60, Saturday night.
Sophomore guard Aaron Bacote is fourth in Conference USA with 17.5 points. He is also eighth in free throw percentage (.807) and is adding 3.4 assists. Junior guard Dimitri Batten is averaging 11.6 points and sophomore guard Keenan Palmore is scoring 11.3 points. Junior forward Richard Ross is scoring 9.1 points and leads the team with 7.4 rebounds. He is also 2nd in Conference USA with 2.7 blocks and is tied for ninth in minutes played (33.2).
Old Dominion is averaging 65.5 points while allowing just 64.5, good for third in C-USA. The Monarchs are connecting on 43.6-percent from the floor and 32.0-percent from three and along just 41.3-percent from the field and 34.9-percent from three. ODU is outrebounding its opponents, 36.8-to-34.2.
Head coach Jeff Jones is in his first year as the head of the Old Dominion program, where he has a 9-9 (.500) record. In 22 years as a head coach, Jones is 362-295 (.551).