Southern Miss in Birmingham and preparing for Rice matchup on Wednesday afternoon
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Southern Miss men's basketball team arrived in Birmingham on Monday evening and is enjoying its final preparation before Wednesday's 2 p.m. game against No. 5-seed Rice inside Legacy Arena.
The contest will be broadcasted on CampusInsiders, available both on its website and Twitter, the same platform as Southern Miss' game at Charlotte on Jan. 14.
The Voice of the Golden Eagles, John Cox, will also have the call on the Southern Miss IMG Sports Network, available locally on Rock 104.5. Fans looking to still acquire tickets can do so here or by visiting the arena's pregame box office. Further updates about the game, including live scoring and stats, can be found on twitter via @SouthernMissMBB.
– It is an emotional time for teams all over the country, but few can have the same feeling Southern Miss has. The Golden Eagles are in the conference tournament for the first time since facing a postseason ban the previous two years due to violations committed from 2012-14. Head coach Doc Sadler has improved Southern Miss’ league win total each year he has been at the helm (3-5-6).
– The Golden Eagles are the only team in the 2017 C-USA Basketball Championships presented by MetroPCS to not have a player with any prior experience in the league tournament. UTSA is next-closest with seven while Rice has 14. UTEP leads the pack with 33.
– Southern Miss is 3-1 all-time in the C-USA tournament’s first round when playing as a double-digit seed. The Golden Eagles are looking for their first overall win over the Owls since Jan. 16, 2014. The last five meetings, despite all defeats, have been decided by 15 total points.
– Southern Miss will look to get revenge on Rice after two difficult losses, the second one being the toughest. The first meeting came on Jan. 21 and saw Rice gain a 42-18 lead with 16 minutes to play. Southern Miss came roaring back and were within an inch of forcing overtime, as Quinton Campbell’s 70-foot shot hit off the rim as time expired. Rice had scored the final nine points of the first half to produce a 34-16 advantage, helped by a buzzer-beater from inside half-court that proved to be a less-than-conspicuous difference.
– The second loss hurt the most. Southern Miss rallied from 18 points down with 13 mnutes to play to nearly knock off Rice, only to fall 72-71 in overtime. Rice, owners of the league’s second-best scoring offense, was held without a field goal for the final 7:24 of regulation (the Golden Eagles finished on a 14-5 run), and had one in overtime until Marcus Jackson’s layup with a second left for the win.
– The Golden Eagles maintained their composure and headed north to Denton, hanging a 23-point win at North Texas. It was their largest road margin of victory in the Doc Sadler era and first away from Reed Green Coliseum since Jan. 16, 2016 at FIU. Four scored in double-figures, led by Quinton Campbell’s 24 points (10-of-13 shooting that included recording the first 11 points for the Black and Gold) and 13 rebounds. That performance helped him earn his first-career Conference USA Player of the Week honor, which was also the first for Southern Miss since Jan. 5, 2015.
– Michael Ramey, a day after turning 24, was white-hot from beyond the arc in the first half against UNT, connecting on six consecutive three-pointers to give the Golden Eagles a 47-30 lead it would maintain the rest of the way. He was the first Golden Eagle to make that many in a row in one game since Neil Watson went 7-for-7 vs. East Carolina on March 2, 2013. One other person to watch for Southern Miss is another senior, Raheem Watts, who went 8-for-10 from the field (2-for-2 each on three-pointers and free-throws too) over 40 minutes in the last three road games.
– Cortez Edwards’ sophomore season has been truly remarkable. He made his second career start on Dec. 22 and has not looked back. Edwards, until this past weekend, was the only one in the league’s top-six (C-USA play only) for steals, assists, assist-turnover ratio and minutes. Campbell has been the other star for the team, as his scoring, rebounding and free-throw averages have all been higher since league play began. Eddie Davis III in that Saturday game at North Texas went 8-for-9 from the field and added seven rebounds, all off the bench. That marked the best FG percentage by a Southern Miss individual since Kourtlin Jackson in Dec. 2015, and his other 17-point games came in a big win over Marshall (91-76) and also at top-15 Florida State.