Second Team All-Conference member Neil Watson leads Southern Miss into the C-USA Tournament.
March 6, 2012
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The second-seed Southern Miss men's basketball team will open the 2012 Conference USA Tournament this Thursday, Mar. 8 at FedExForum in Memphis Tenn. The Golden Eagles will face the winner of No. 7 Rice and No. 10 East Carolina at 12 p.m. The game will be nationally-televised on CBS Sports Network.
With its second seed, Southern Miss tied the 2001 squad for its highest seed earned. USM also earned a bye in the tournament for just the third time ever.
Southern Miss enters the Conference USA Tournament with a 24-6 record, and 11-5 in Conference USA. The Golden Eagles fell 79-75 at Marshall in the regular season finale last Saturday afternoon.
Jonathan Mills led Southern Miss with 17 points. Maurice Bolden scored 13 points and had five rebounds, while Darnell Dodson had 13 points and four boards. LaShay Page added 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Watson is leading the team with 12.1 points per game. He is connecting on 85.6-percent of his free throws, which is third in C-USA and is also third in assists (4.6). LaShay Page is second on the team with 11.8 points. He is also second in the league in minutes played (36.3), is third in three-pointers made (2.4) and is 10th in three-point field goal percentage (.362). Darnell Dodson is scoring 10.9 points while pulling down 4.7 rebounds.
Maurice Bolden is scoring 10.0 points while grabbing 5.4 rebounds. He is also 10th in the league with 1.1 blocks per game. Jonathan Mills is also scoring 9.8 points and leads the team with 6.2 rebounds.
As a team, Southern Miss is scoring 71.6 points and is allowing just 64.2. The Golden Eagles are hitting just 41.8-percent of their shots and 36.4% of their three-pointers. Their opposition is connecting on 43.8% from the field and 33.6-percent from behind the arc. The Golden Eagles hold the advantage on the boards, as they are outrebounding their opponents 36.8-to-32.1, a difference of 4.7 per game, good for third on Conference USA. The Golden Eagles are also leading the league in free throw percentage (.740).
Head coach Larry Eustachy is in his eighth season at the helm of the Southern Miss men's basketball program. He has compiled a 141-111 (.560) record during his time as head coach. In 21 years, Eustachy has an overall record of 401-256 (.610).
Rice comes into the Conference USA Tournament with a 17-14 record, 8-8 in C-USA. The Owls are coming off a 76-75 loss against Houston Saturday night.
Junior Arsalan Kazemi led Rice with 19 points and six rebounds. Senior forward Lucas Kuipers scored 12 points sophomore center Omar Oraby recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
The Owls are led by Kazemi with 12.5 points and 10.3 rebounds, which is second in Conference USA. He also leads the league in steals (2.1) and is third in field goal percentage (.592). Junior guard Tamir Jackson is second on the team with 10.5 points and senior guard Connor Frizzelle is scoring 9.3 points. Oraby is fifth in the league with 1.7 blocks and freshman guard Dylan Ennis is sixth in C-USA with 3.9 assists.
As a team, Rice is scoring 69.7 points per game and is allowing 66.0. The Owls are shooting 44.4-percent from the floor while allowing their opponents to connect on just 41.0-percent, second in the league. Rice is also connecting on 34.4-percent from three-point range and is allowing 35.6%. The Owls are pulling down 35.9 boards per game and giving up 35.0. Rice is also third in C-USA in assists (14.5).
Head coach Ben Braun is in his fourth season at the helm of the Rice men's basketball program. He has compiled a 49-77 (.389) record as its head coach. In 35 years as a head coach, Braun is 601-496 (.548).
Southern Miss and Rice have met 10 times on the hardwood, with the Golden Eagles holding a 6-4 advantage. USM has won five of the last six games. The teams have met just once in the C-USA Tournament, with USM earning a 59-50 victory in 2008. Earlier this year, Southern Miss defeated Rice, 58-56, in Hattiesburg.
East Carolina comes into the Conference USA Tournament with a 14-15 record, 5-11 in Conference USA. The Pirates have won their last two games after defeating Tulane, 66-49, last Saturday night.
Junior guard Erin Straughn recorded a double-double with game-highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds. Senior forward Darrius Morrow added 19 points and seven boards.
ECU is led by junior guard Miguel Paul with 15.0 points, which is tied for sixth in the Conference USA. He also leads the league in assists with 5.8 and is third in assist/turnover ratio (2.0), fourth in three-pointers made (2.2), sixth in three-point field goal percentage (.366) eighth in steals (1.) and eighth in free throw percentage (.767). Morrow is second on the team with 13.9 points and 6.2 rebounds. Junior forward Maurice Kemp is averaging 10.2 points while leading the team with 6.3 boards. Junior guard Shamarr Bowden is third in the league in three-point field goal percentage (40.4%) and fifth in three-point field goals made (2.1).
As a team, East Carolina is scoring 68.6 points per game while allowing 64.6. The Pirates are shooting 43.5-percent from the floor while allowing their opponents to connect on 43.1-percent. ECU is pulling down 34.4 boards per game, while allowing 34.7. East Carolina is also connecting on 34.0-percent of its three-point attempts while holding its opposition to just 31.5%. East Carolina also leads the league in steals (8.0) and assists (14.5) and is second in three-pointers made (7.3).
Head coach Jeff Lebo is in his second season at the helm of the East Carolina men's basketball program. He has compiled a 32-31 (.508) record as its head coach. In 14 years as a head coach, Lebo owns a 243-187 (.565) record.
Southern Miss and East Carolina have met on the hardwood 19 times with the Golden Eagles holding a 12-7 advantage. USM has won the last seven meetings and 12 of the last 13. The teams have never met on a neutral court. Earlier this year, USM defeated the Pirates, 78-76, in Hattiesburg and 72-60 in Greenville.
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