HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss men's basketball team hosts conference leader UAB in a battle for first place this Wednesday, Mar. 2, Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. CT from Reed Green Coliseum and will be televised on CSS.
Southern Miss and UAB will meet for the second time this season and the 36th time overall, with the Blazers holding a 22-13 advantage. Southern Miss has won the last two games after dropping the previous five. In Hattiesburg, the Golden Eagles hold an 8-7 advantage, but have lost four of the last six. Earlier this year, Southern Miss defeated UAB in Birmingham, 75-71.
Senior forward Gary Flowers led the team with 22 points and five rebounds. Senior guard R.L. Horton scored 14 points and had five rebounds. Freshman guard D.J. Newbill contributed 11 points and seven rebounds and senior forward Josimar Ayarza added 10 points.
Southern Miss enters tonight's home finale with a 21-7 record, 9-5 in Conference USA. The Golden Eagles are coming off a 65-64, last second loss at UCF last Saturday.
R.L. Horton led Southern Miss with 20 points and four rebounds. Junior guard Maurice Bolden added 15 points and six rebounds. Gary Flowers, who came into the game second in Conference USA with 19.8 points, was held to just six points on 1-of-9 shooting, his lowest output of the year.
Flowers is currently third in Conference USA in points with 19.3, which is also 35th in the nation (through 2/27). He is also fifth in blocks (1.6), sixth in rebounding (7.6), sixth in three-point field goal percentage (.420), and eighth in field goal percentage (.476). Horton is second on the team in scoring with 12.2 points.
Newbill is averaging 9.3 points and is 10th in the league with 6.5 rebounds. He is also connecting on 53.0-percent from the field. Junior guard Angelo Johnson is adding 7.8 points and is fifth in the league with 4.4 assists while pulling down 3.5 rebounds. He is also 13th in C-USA in free throw percentage (.766). Ayarza is scoring 7.6 points per game while grabbing 3.9 rebounds and Bolden is adding 7.3 points.
As a team, the Golden Eagles are tops in Conference USA in scoring (75.3 ppg) while giving up 65.5 points. Southern Miss is connecting on 45.4-percent of its shots, while allowing its opposition to hit 42.0-percent. The Black and Gold are also leading the league with 39.0 rebounds and allowing just 30.6 to the opposition, a rebound margin of 8.4, which is tops in the conference and eighth in the country (through 2/27). Southern Miss is also recording 12.3 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 116-101 (.535) record during his time as head coach. In 19 years, Eustachy has an overall record of 376-246 (.605).
UAB enters today's game with a 20-7 overall record, and 10-4 in conference play, which is good for first place in Conference USA. The Blazers have won two straight and seven of their last nine games after defeating Houston, 68-55, Saturday night.
Senior guard Jamarr Sanders led both teams with 18 points. Sophomore forward Ovie Soko and freshman guard Preston Purifoy had 17 points apiece. Freshman forward Anthony Criswell added 10 points and senior guard Aaron Johnson contributed 10 assists.
The Blazers are led by Sanders with 17.9 points, good for fifth in Conference USA. He is also sixth in free throw percentage (.824) and 10th in three-point field goal percentage (.386). Junior forward Cameron Moore is 12th in C-USA in scoring with 15.0 points per game, second in rebounding with 9.5 rebounds, seventh in blocked shots (1.4) and ninth in field goal percentage (.471).
Johnson is third on the team with 11.2 points. He also leads the country in assists with 7.6, and is second in the league in minutes played (36.0), ninth in steals (1.5) and tenth in free throw percentage (.783).
As a team, UAB is scoring 69.0 points per game while allowing 62.3, good for second in Conference USA. The Blazers are shooting 44.3-percent from the floor while its opposition is hitting just 41.1-percent of its shots.
From behind the arc, UAB is hitting 34.9-percent of its shots, and allowing its opponents to hit just 30.9-percent. The Blazers are outrebounding their opponents, 35.3-to-33.4, and are also second in the league in three-pointers made at 7.8 per game.
Head coach Mike Davis is in his fifth season at the helm of the UAB men's basketball program. He has compiled a 105-55 (.656) record as its head coach. In 11 years as a head coach, Davis owns a 220-134 (.621) record.
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