Eagles Play In Albuquerque, N.M.
Hattiesburg, Miss. - The Southern Miss basketball Golden Eagles get an early-season acid test when they play in the Hispanic College Fund Classic in Albuquerque, N.M., Nov. 23-24.
The Golden Eagles opened the current season with an easy 83-58 victory over intrastate rival Jackson State (Nov. 17). In that game, five Southern Miss players earned double-figure scoring totals, led by senior guard Brad Richardson with 21 points, one shy of his career high. Senior forward Elvin Mims added 14, senior guard Bernard Duncan and sophomore forward Clement Carter had 11 each and junior center Ben Lambert added 10 in his first game as a Golden Eagle.
The tournament is being played in the famed Pit (18,018), noted as being one of the toughest venues in the country for visiting teams.
In the opening round of the Albuquerque tournament, Head Coach James Green's team meets a West Virginia team that posted a 17-12 record a year ago, a Mountaineer team that returns four starters and 10 lettermen. West Virginia opened its regular season with an 83-57 win over UNC Asheville.
The two teams have played just once previously with the Mountaineers winning the game, 105-69 in the Birmingham Classic in Birmingham, Ala., in 1956.
Pacific and New Mexico play the other first-round game, and the Golden Eagles will play one of those teams in second-night action. Should the Eagles meet Pacific in the second round, it would be the first-ever game between the two teams, and a matchup with New Mexico would mark just the second time those two teams have played. New Mexico posted a 53-51 victory in a 1950 game between the two.
After dropping an 81-66 decision to No. 13 Stanford, New Mexico (1-1) rebounded to beat Texas Southern, 97-51, last Sunday. Pacific enters the tournament with a 1-0 record after defeating Santa Clara, 85-83, last Saturday. The Tigers posted an 18-12 record last year in the Big West Conference and advanced to the title game of the league tournament.
Southern Miss' recent early-season tournament experience has been positive. The Eagles won a season-opening tournament at Arkansas last season, split two games in another early-season event at Iowa State, and used that success to run out to an early 10-1 mark.
Following the New Mexico tournament, the Golden Eagles end November play with a home game against another intrastate rival, Alcorn State, on Nov. 27.