HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Louisiana State University will make a two-game appearance on The University of Southern Mississippi basketball schedule, starting with a Dec. 20, 2003 game in Baton Rouge, La., Head Basketball Coach James Green and Director of Athletics Richard Giannini announced today.
That first game is set for 3 p.m., at the 14,164-seat Maravich Center on the LSU campus. The second game of the series will be played at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, on Dec. 18, 2004.
Giannini says the games will benefit the Golden Eagle program. "We work continually to enhance our schedule, and this two-game addition will draw national attention," he said. "And in the second year, the game will give Hattiesburg-area fans the opportunity to gather with our Gulf Coast students, faculty, alumni and fans to continue and enhance the success we enjoyed with the Houston game there last season."
Southern Miss and LSU have played three times previous to this year's game, with the Tigers winning all three games. The most recently meeting was in the first game of the 1989-90 season in the opening round of the preseason Big Apple NIT Tournament. The Golden Eagles lost that game 91-80, against a team that featured such players as Shaquille O'Neal, (then) Chris Jackson and Stanley Roberts, all futue NBA standouts.
O'Neal was limited to 10 points in that game, while Jackson led all scorers with 37 points. Southern Miss put four players in double figures, led by center Daron Jenkins, who had 25. Future NBA standout Clarence Weatherspoon contributed 17 points and a game-high 14 rebounds as a sophomore.
The two teams first played in 1930-31 in a game won by LSU, 46-35. LSU also posted a 107-79 victory in a 1972-73 game, Dale Brown's first year as head coach of the Tigers.
Green says the game will be good for Golden Eagle fans. "This is another addition of another tough regional opponent," Green said. "But, we felt the Houston game on the Gulf Coast last season was an unqualified success. With this announcement, we should be well on the way to establishing a successful tradition on the coast, and our fans, both in Hattiesburg and throughout south Mississippi, will benefit from this and such future games."
The complete 2003-04 Southern Miss schedule will be released once the non-conference portion of the Golden Eagle schedule is completed. The Southern Miss C-USA schedule shows the Golden Eagles playing Charlotte, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Houston, Marquette, Memphis, Tulane and UAB at home, and DePaul, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Saint Louis, TCU, Tulane and South Florida on the road.
The league's new scheduling format this season has each league team playing all other league teams once, along with league-assigned second games against three other "rival" teams. Southern Miss will play Houston, Memphis and Tulane twice each.