Men's Basketball begins Sunshine State swing Thursday at FIU
MIAMI -- The Southern Miss men's basketball team has arrived in South Florida in preparation of its Thursday 6 p.m. CT game against FIU.
Live streaming of the game can be found on CUSA.tv, while John Cox will have the radio call on the Southern Miss IMG Sports Network (Rock 104.5 in Hattiesburg/Laurel) and the USM Gameday app.
FIU (9-13, 3-6 C-USA) is coming off a pair of defeats in Texas to Rice (73-64) and UNT (69-67, overtime). The Golden Eagles (11-11, 4-5 C-USA) are looking to avenge a Saturday night loss at LA Tech.
– The last meeting between the teams was one for the ages. Southern Miss trailed by 11 with five minutes to play, forced overtime, then trailed by six in the final 90 seconds of the extra session. Quinton Campbell connected on back-to-back three-pointers, and D’Angelo Richardson picked up a loose ball and fired one from well beyond the arc in the final second to seal a crucial 69-66 win.
– Southern Miss is also seeking its second-straight victory inside this facility. The Golden Eagles rallied from a four-point halftime deficit to win 66-60 on Jan. 16, 2016. Kourtlin Jackson scored 23 points and FIU was held to 3-for-17 shooting beyond the arc.
– The Golden Eagles have four C-USA victories at the halfway mark of the league season. Seven wins in conference play would continue the trend of Doc Sadler improving the team’s C-USA win total in each season he has been at the helm.
– Five of FIU’s nine conference games have been decided by six points or less, including an overtime loss to first-place Middle Tennessee. By comparison, Southern Miss has only one game within that range, a 70-64 defeat to Mississippi State. The last three meetings between the Panthers and Golden Eagles have been decided by an average of 3.7 points.
– A secret weapon to the Golden Eagles’ success this season has been its free-throw shooting. The squad rebounded from a 5-for-14 shooting at Marshall to post an active seven-game streak of 80 percent shooting or better, currently ranking No. 2 in C-USA action with a 77.5 percent clip. The LA Tech game is Southern Miss’ only loss when getting at least 20 attempts in a game (5-1).
– Tyree Griffin’s 122 assists already puts him 10 away from having the most of any player in a single season of the Sadler era. He is currently No. 7 against C-USA foes for scoring (18.7 ppg), fifth in assists (5.2 apg), fourth in steals (2.2 pg) and seventh in assist-turnover ratio (2.0).
– Cortez Edwards had six steals against Rice (Jan. 18), tying for seventh-most in school history. Neil Watson also had six against ECU on March 8, 2012. He is No. 12 nationally with 49 swipes and has scored in double-figures in all but two games this season. His 15.7 ppg is second on the squad. As a team, Southern Miss has a 163-67 advantage in steals. It’s the first time it’s been in the positives in the Sadler era (145-184 last season). The Golden Eagles need 55 more to crack the top-10 list in school history.
– The Jan. 18-20 weekend saw Edwards record two kinds of double-doubles, first posting 13 points and 10 assists against Rice and then recording 19 points and 10 rebounds versus North Texas. The last Golden Eagle to accomplish that feat in the same season was Khari Price in 2015-16. Edwards leads this year’s team in rebounding (6.2 rpg), steals (49) and field goal percentage (48.8) while ranking second in scoring (15.7 ppg), blocks (7) and assists (61). Edwards has 744 points in his career and is seeking to become the first 1,000-point scorer since Watson (2011-14).
– Southern Miss has moved to third and fifth nationally for fewest turnovers per game (9.4) and assist-turnover ratio (1.60). Florida State has been the only team so far to edge the Black and Gold in the turnover battle. Southern Miss’ 23 assists versus Rice were its most against a Division I team since Nov. 27, 2004 versus McNeese State (26). It also had 32 versus Rust on Dec. 3, 2017. The Golden Eagles lead C-USA in turnover margin (+5.0) while FIU is third (+3.3).