March 12, 2014
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss men's basketball teams enters the 2014 Conference USA Tournament as the fourth-seed. They will face the winner of No. 5 UTEP and No. 12 East Carolina or No. 13 UTSA on Thursday, March 13. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.
Southern Miss enters the Conference USA Tournament as the fourth-seed with a 26-5 record. The Golden Eagles have won five straight after defeating Tulane, 68-51, last Thursday night to win the Conference USA Championship.
Senior guard Neil Watson leads the team with 10.8 points. He leads Conference USA and is fourth in the country (as of Mar. 6) in free throw percentage, connecting on 93.3-percent from the charity stripe. He is also eighth in assists (4.1) and is ninth in steals (1.6). Senior forward Michael Craig is scoring 10.7 points and 7.2 boards, which is 10th in C-USA. He is also seventh in the league in field goal percentage, connecting on 57.6-percent from the floor.
Senior forward Daveon Boardingham is averaging 10.7 points per game and is pulling down 4.6 rebounds per game. He is also connecting on 58.5-percent from the field, which is fifth in C-USA. Junior forward Aaron Brown is scoring 9.8 points and is 10th in the league in three-point field goal percentage (.383) and senior guard Jerrold Brooks is adding 9.6 points.
Southern Miss is averaging 72.6 points per game and is leading C-USA in scoring defense, allowing just 62.4 points per game. The Golden Eagles are connecting on 46.5% from the field and 35.4% from three, which are both second in the conference, while allowing 42.4% from the floor and 34.2% from behind the arc. Southern Miss is also outrebounding its opponents, 35.5-to-29.1, a rebound margin of +6.4, which is 17th in the NCAA (as of Mar. 6). The Black and Gold is second in the league and 15th in the country (as of Mar. 6) with 8.5 steals per game.
East Carolina enters the Conference USA Tournament as the 12th-seed. It finished the regular season with a 16-15 record. The Pirates have lost two straight after falling at Old Dominion, 68-47.
Senior guard Akeem Richmond is second in Conference USA with 17.9 points. He is also tops in three-pointers per game (4.5), third in free throw percentage (.858) and fourth in minutes played (35.0). Freshman guard Caleb White is averaging 12.8 points. Junior guard Paris Roberts-Campbell is scoring 11.8 points. He is sixth in C-USA in steals (1.7) and seventh in minutes played (34.2). Freshman forward Brandan Stith is leading the team with 6.5 rebounds.
East Carolina second in the conference in scoring, averaging 73.3 points per game while allowing 70.5. The Pirates are connecting on 44.2-percent from the floor and leads the league hitting 36.5-percent from three. They are allowing just 44.4-percent from the field and 31.0-percent from three. ECU is being outrebounded, 35.8-to-34.4. East Carolina also leads C-USA in free throw percentage (.714) and three-pointers made (8.4).
Head coach Jeff Lebo is in his fourth year as the head of the East Carolina program, where he has a 72-59 (.550) record. In 16 years as a head coach, Lebo is 283-215 (.568).
UTSA enters the Conference USA Tournament as the 13th-seed. It finished the regular season with an 8-21 record. The Roadrunners have lost five straight and nine of 10 after falling, 61-51, to UTEP last Thursday.
Junior guard Keon Lewis is leading the team with 12.7 points. He is fourth in Conference USA in free throw percentage (.835). Senior guard Devon Agusi is averaging 11.9 points. Senior guard Jordan Sims is scoring 10.4 points and is third in C-USA in three-pointers made (2.6). Freshman forward Phillip Jones leads the team with 6.1 rebounds and senior forward Edrico McGregor leads C-USA in field goal percentage (.610).
UTSA is averaging 68.6 points per game while allowing 76.7. The Roadrunners are connecting on just 42.1-percent from the floor and 32.4-percent from three. They are allowing 46.9-percent from the field and 36.6-percent from three. UTSA is outrebounding its opponents, 34.7-to-33.7.
Head coach Brooks Thompson is in his eighth year as the head of the UTSA program, where he has a 114-134 (.460) record.