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Southern Miss Looks to Snap Skid at East Carolina

Josimar Ayarza

Josimar Ayarza

Jan. 24, 2011

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss men's basketball team looks to snap a two-game losing streak when it travels to Greenville, N.C., this Wednesday, Jan. 24, to face East Carolina. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. CT from Minges Coliseum.

Southern Miss and East Carolina will meet for the 16th time on the hardwood, with the Golden Eagles holding a slim 8-7 advantage. Southern Miss has won the last three meetings and eight of the last nine meetings. In games played in Greenville, ECU holds a 5-3 lead. Last year, Southern Miss swept the season series, taking a 68-53 victory in Hattiesburg before winning, 75-65, in Greenville in the regular-season finale.

Southern Miss enters tonight's conference game with a 14-5 record, 3-3 in Conference USA. The Golden Eagles are looking to snap a two-game losing streak after falling, 79-65, at SMU last Saturday.

Junior Angelo Johnson led the Golden Eagles with 16 points, including four three-pointers. Senior Gary Flowers added 12 points. Seniors R.L. Horton, Sai'Quon Stone and freshman D.J. Newbill all scored nine points.

Flowers currently leads the league in points with 20.6, which is also 14th in the nation (through 1/23). He is also fourth in blocks (1.8), seventh in three-point field goal percentage (.429), eighth in field goal percentage (.500) and ninth in rebounding (7.2).

Freshman guard D.J. Newbill is averaging 9.2 points and is 11th in the league with 6.1 rebounds. Ayarza is scoring 7.8 points per game and while grabbing 4.0 rebounds. Johnson is adding 7.6 points and is sixth in the league with 4.1 assists while pulling down 4.0 rebounds. He is also fifth in C-USA in free throw percentage (.828). Sophomore guard LaShay Page is also adding 6.7 points.

As a team, the Golden Eagles are second in Conference USA in scoring (77.7 ppg) while giving up 66.5 points. Southern Miss is connecting on 45.9-percent of its shots, while allowing its opposition to hit 41.4-percent. The Black and Gold are also leading the league with 39.4 rebounds and allowing 31.6 to the opposition, a rebound margin of 7.8, which is 11th in the country (through 1/23). Southern Miss is also recording 12.2 assists and 4.0 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 109-99 (.524) record during his time as head coach. In 19 years, Eustachy has an overall record of 369-244 (.602).

East Carolina enters tonight's game with an 11-8 record overall, and 2-3 in conference play. The Pirates have won their last two games after defeating Marshall, 82-81, Saturday night in Huntington.

Junior forward Darius Morrow scored a career-high 33 points while leading both teams with eight rebounds. Senior guard Jontae Sherrod scored 19 points, and senior guard Brock Young added 16 points and a season-high eight assists.

The Pirates are led by Sherrod with 14.8 points. He is also third in the conference in three-point field goal percentage, connecting on 44.2-percent of his shots. Morrow is averaging 12.0 points and leads the team with 5.5 rebounds. He is also connecting on 53.7-percent from the field. Senior guard/forward Jamar Abrams is scoring 10.6 points and is eighth in C-USA in three-point shooting, hitting 42.2-percent. Young is fourth in the league in assists at 4.4 per game, while averaging 9.6 points.

As a team, ECU is scoring 70.0 points per game and allowing just 65.6. The Pirates are shooting 44.8-percent from the floor, while its opposition is hitting 41.7-percent of its shots. From behind the arc, East Carolina is third in the conference at 38.0-percentas well as three-point percentage defense (30.5%). ECU is barely outrebounding its opponents, 34.3-to-34.1.

Head coach Jeff Lebo is in his first season at the helm of the East Carolina men's basketball program. He has compiled an 11-8 (.579) record as its head coach. In 12 years as a head coach, Lebo owns a 222-164 (.575) record.

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