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Eagles Close Season Against South Florida

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Eagles Close Season Against South Florida
Hattiesburg, Miss. - Southern Miss closes the 2001-02 season with a 1 p.m., Saturday ESPN Plus television game against a South Florida team that has caused the Golden Eagles problems in recent years.

Four Golden Eagle players will end their Southern Miss careers in the Bulls' game. Elvin Mims, Brad Richardson, Bernard Duncan and Pete Meneses all have made significant contributions to the Southern Miss program. Mims has led the team in scoring and rebounding throughout the season, Richardson has been a steadying influence at a guard spot, and Duncan and Meneses have contributed valuable minutes off the bench.

Thanks to an earlier-week loss at UAB, the Eagles were eliminated from the upcoming Conference USA Tournament field, a field that will take only 12 of the 14 league teams. DePaul also did not make the tournament field, and South Florida is already assured of a spot in the field.

This time last season, the two teams were playing in Green Coliseum with the Eagles needing a victory to clinch a share of the regular season C-USA title. USM won that game 83-77, went two games deep into the C-USA Tournament and earned an NIT spot.

This season has been considerably different, with injuries and a lack of experience causing problems throughout the year. The result is a 9-17 record, that has been disappointing to both the coaches and players. Injuries plagued the team even prior to the start of the season, ending the seasons for both Kilavorus Thompson and Jasper Johnson, and a variety of players missed games during the course of the season, including Mario Myles, Clement Carter and Mims.

Veteran Altron Jackson is one of three Bulls averaging double figures. He's at 18.9 points a game. The Bulls average 77.8 points a game, compared to the Eagles' 60.9 points a game.

Mims leads the Eagles at 18.2 points a game, and Carter is the only other USM player in double figures, at an even 10 points a game.

South Florida beat the Eagles, 74-54, in the earlier-season game between the two in Tampa, Fla.. True to form, Jackson led all scorers with 20 points in that game. Richardson led the Eagles with 11. Southern Miss leads the series with the Bulls, 13-9.

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