Feb. 14, 2011
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss men's basketball team begins a three-game homestand this Wednesday, Feb. 16, when it hosts conference leader UTEP. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT from Reed Green Coliseum.
The game is also designated as a Blackout Game. Fans are encouraged to show up to the game wearing all black.
Southern Miss and UTEP will meet for the 16th time on the hardwood, with UTEP holding an 11-4 advantage. In Hattiesburg, the series is tied 3-3. Southern Miss is looking for its first win over UTEP since 2008, as the Miners have won the last four meetings and 11 of the last 13. Last year, UTEP swept the season series, taking a 56-49 victory in El Paso before winning, 59-56, in Hattiesburg.
Southern Miss enters tonight's conference game with an 18-6 record, 7-4 in Conference USA. The Golden Eagles had their four-game winning streak snapped last Saturday when they fell, 67-61, at Memphis.
Senior forward Gary Flowers and freshman guard D.J. Newbill finished with 14 points to lead the team. Flowers also had six rebounds, while Newbill pulled down five. Junior Maurice Bolden added 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Flowers is currently second in Conference USA in points with 19.9, which is also 21st in the nation (through 2/6). He is also fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.438), fifth in blocks (1.7), seventh in rebounding (7.6) and seventh in field goal percentage (.480). Senior guard R.L. Horton is second on the team in scoring with 11.6 points.
Newbill is averaging 9.6 points and is 11th in the league with 6.3 rebounds. He is also connecting on 52.7-percent from the field. Johnson is adding 8.0 points and is fifth in the league with 4.3 assists while pulling down 3.8 rebounds. He is also seventh in C-USA in free throw percentage (.809). Ayarza is scoring 7.8 points per game while grabbing 4.0 rebounds. Sophomore guard LaShay Page is also adding 6.4 points.
As a team, the Golden Eagles are tops in Conference USA in scoring (76.3 ppg) while giving up 66.5 points. Southern Miss is connecting on 45.4-percent of its shots, while allowing its opposition to hit 41.5-percent. The Black and Gold are also leading the league with 39.3 rebounds and allowing just 31.4 to the opposition, a rebound margin of 7.9, which is tops in the conference and ninth in the country (through 2/6). Southern Miss is also recording 12.2 assists and 4.1 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 113-100 (.531) record during his time as head coach. In 19 years, Eustachy has an overall record of 373-245 (.604).
UTEP enters tonight's contest with a 19-5 record overall, and 7-2 in conference play. The Miners have won their last two games after defeating SMU, 67-57, Saturday night.
Senior guard Christian Polk led both teams with 18 points, while also pulling down five rebounds. Senior guard Randy Culpepper had 14 points. Senior guard Julyan Stone added 11 points and a game-high seven assists and senior forward Jeremy Williams had 10 points and six rebounds.
The Miners are led by Culpepper, who is third in Conference USA in points with 19.0. He also leads the league with 2.2 steals, is fourth in minutes played (35.2) and sixth in three-pointers made (2.1).
Polk is second on the team with 12.1 points and second in three-point field goal percentage (.450), 11th in C-USA in field goal percentage (.454), 13th in assists (3.2). Williams is third on the team with 10.6 points. Stone is contributing 9.1 points, while placing second in the league with 5.4 assists and eighth with 7.3 rebounds.
As a team, UTEP is fourth in Conference USA in both scoring (71.6 points per game) and scoring defense (62.8). The Miners are shooting 46.7-percent from the floor, and allow 39.6-percent, both of which are good for second in the league. From behind the arc, UTEP is connecting on 36.6-percent, but are allowing just 31.2%. The Miners are being outrebounding by its opposition, 36.3-to-34.7. UTEP also leads C-USA in assists (15.5) and are second in steals (7.2).
Head coach Tim Floyd is in his first season at the helm of the UTEP men's basketball program. He has compiled a 19-5 (.792) record as its head coach. In 17 years as a head coach, Floyd is 347-185 (.596).