Men's Basketball begins C-USA Tournament play Wednesday versus FIU
FRISCO, Texas -- Hundreds of teams across the country are beginning their dream journey toward postseason play, and that rings true for the Southern Miss men's basketball team as it prepares for its C-USA Championships, first-round matchup against No. 8 FIU on Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT.
The games will take place inside the Ford Center at The Star, the Dallas Cowboys' official practice and training facility. Video streaming can be found on Facebook.com/StadiumCollegeBasketball, and links will be shared via Southern Miss social media channels. Ron Thulin, Tim Scarborough and Rachel Lindsay are the broadcast talent.
John Cox, the Voice of the Golden Eagles, will have the call on the Southern Miss IMG Sports Network (Rock 104.5 in Hattiesburg/Laurel) and the USM Gameday app at 5:30 p.m. With a win, No. 9-seeded Southern Miss would play No. 1 Middle Tennessee at 6 p.m. CT on Thursday.
-- Southern Miss is coming off a 72-64 win over LA Tech, avenging a 89-66 defeat in Ruston earlier in the season. The Golden Eagles led by as much as 24, then by just two in the final minutes. Cortez Edwards broke the school's single-season steals record and scored 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting. Tyree Griffin also added 15 points and nine assists. The Bulldogs, who entered the day as the C-USA leader in three-point shooting (38 percent) went 1-for-15 in the first half and 7-for-30 for the game.
-- The Golden Eagles went 8-for-19 at the three-point line against LA Tech (.421), its most efficient performance since going 8-for-12 at FAU on Feb. 3. The 23-point halftime lead was its largest of the season, besting those of the Rust and Alabama A&M games (21 points).
-- Speaking of efficiency, the game against the Bulldogs was only the third all season that Southern Miss took fewer than 50 shots. It also did so against Michigan and FAU.
-- The win over LA Tech allowed Southern Miss to continue its trend of improving its C-USA win total in each season Doc Sadler has been in charge (3-5-6-7). The 14 overall victories are the most by a Golden Eagle team since the 2012 NCAA Tourney squad.
-- The Golden Eagles went 10-for-27 on three-pointers against FIU in a 76-70 defeat on Feb. 1, the sixth time they had registered double-digit triples but only the first loss when doing so. The Panthers led for the final 22 minutes and also made nine of 10 free-throws over the final 1:39 to stave off any rally by the road team.
-- This is Southern Miss' second-straight trip to the C-USA Championships after being left out the previous two years due to NCAA sanctions. Last year in Birmingham, the No. 12 Golden Eagles held an early 12-2 lead over Rice that formed into a slugfest the rest of the way. All 18 of Rice's points in the final 6:25 came at the free-throw line, leading to an 86-75 final.
-- Edwards, a junior, now has 882 points for his career. He is seeking to become the 37th member of Southern Miss' 1,000-point club, and the first to have played under Sadler. Neil Watson was the most recent addition (1,157 points from 2011-14). Edwards now has nine, 20-point games for his career after Saturday's win over LA Tech.
-- As it stands now, Kevin Holland (.442) has the highest three-point percentage in a season since Neil Watson had the same mark in the 2012-13 season. Prior to that, the next-best clip was David Haywood (.452) from 2002-03. The master's student (sport management) has upped his mark seven and 10 points each year he has played.
-- Griffin has 183 assists (third-most in single-season history), which serves as the most by a Golden Eagle since Dallas Dale's 222 in the 1991-92 season. Griffin is currently No. 11 against C-USA foes for scoring (16.0 ppg), fourth in assists (6.0 apg) and fifth in steals (1.9 spg). The team's 44.6 percent shooting is its best of the Sadler era.
-- Southern Miss ranks third and 11th nationally for fewest turnovers per game (9.7) and assist-turnover ratio (1.51). 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.