Men's Basketball opens season Friday night versus SUNO
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Welcome to the 99th season of Southern Miss men's basketball. The Golden Eagles' 2017-18 campaign begins Friday night at 7 p.m., when they host Southern-New Orleans as part of Military Appreciation Day.
Military personnel get one complimentary ticket with their military ID, and additional tickets can be purchased at a discount rate. The same promotion goes for the women's basketball game at 11 a.m. against William Carey, which also includes Education Day.
The action will air on the Southern Miss IMG Sports Network and Southern Miss Gameday app, as John Cox enjoys his 40th year on the call. Fans can also tune in to CUSA.tv for live video of the game.
-- There is a considerable amount of optimism in this year's team, all starting with an August trip to the Bahamas for three games and some tropical team-bonding experiences.
-- This year's squad features a pair of probable starters who boast plenty of talent. Redshirt-juniors Dominic Magee and Tyree Griffin sat out the 2016-17 season upon transferring from Grand Canyon and Oklahoma State, respectively, and each had blue-chip high school careers in New Orleans before heading their separate ways (Magee began his career at Memphis).
-- Cortez Edwards is the returnee to watch. After playing sparingly over 29 games as a reserve his freshman year, the junior blew up in 2016-17 to finish as the team leader in assists, steals and even blocks. His 11 ppg were also second to since-graduated Quinton Campbell. One of his best performances was an 11-rebound, eight-assist line at UTSA, the highest-such combo by a Golden Eagle since 2013.
-- The post will have a slightly-newer look for the Golden Eagles. Tim Rowe, a sophomore by eligibility, earned a medical redshirt after playing only eight games last year (broken foot). His 9.9 points and 6.4 rebounds were twice his freshman output (2015-16).
-- Last season, Southern Miss made its first C-USA Tournament since 2014, following a two-year postseason ban due to NCAA sanctions that head coach Doc Sadler's staff inherited. In each of his three years at the helm, Southern Miss has improved its C-USA win total. The Golden Eagles have nine scholarships this year and will add two more next season.
-- SUNO is the only team in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference to have not played a game yet this season. The Knights are looking to right the ship after two consecutive last-place finishes in the league. The Knights are led by first-year head coach Brian Gibson, who took over in July. He boasts an impressive resume in the New Orleans HS ranks, coaching 28 seasons at O.P. Walker, John F. Kennedy and most recently, Landry-Walker HS, where Golden Eagle point guard Tyree Griffin was one of his most prominent alumni. LWHS won state titles in 2014, 2015 and 2017.
-- The schools' only previous meeting came in 2006, where the Golden Eagles won 70-45. That victory gave Southern Miss its fourth 7-0 start in school history. Jeremy Wise scored a game-high 17 points, and Craig Craft's eight-point streak in the first half marked the early decisive blow.