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Southern Miss Takes Part in BVI Tropical Shootout

Dec. 19, 2013

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss men's basketball team travels to Tortola, British Virgin Islands for the BVI Tropical Shootout. The Golden Eagles open the tournament against Coppin State on Friday, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m. CT.

Southern Miss will face either UALR or Jacksonville State on Saturday.

This will be the first-ever meeting between Southern Miss and Coppin State.

Southern Miss enters the BVI Tropical Shootout with a 9-2 record. The Golden Eagles are coming off a 68-65 loss at Western Kentucky Wednesday night.

Senior guard Neil Watson is leads the team with 11.4 points. He is second in Conference USA with in free throw percentage (.900) while also adding 3.6 assists. Senior forward Daveon Boardingham is averaging 10.6 points per game. He is pulling down 4.0 rebounds per game and is seventh in Conference USA in field goal percentage, connecting on 57.4-percent from the floor. Junior forward Aaron Brown is scoring 10.2 points. Senior forward Michael Craig is adding 9.5 points and a team-high 6.7 boards and senior guard Jerrold Brooks is averaging 9.1 points.

Southern Miss is averaging 72.0 points per game and is leading C-USA by allowing just 62.3. The Golden Eagles are connecting on 46.5% from the field and 34.9% from three while allowing just 42.1% from the floor and 34.1% from behind the arc. Southern Miss is also outrebounding its opponents, 34.1-to-30.1 and is second in the league with 9.7 steals per game.

Coppin State comes into tonight's game with a 4-5 record. The Eagles are coming off a 71-49 defeat at Richmond last Saturday.

Senior forward Michael Murray leads the Eagles with 14.8 points and 5.0 rebounds. Sophomore guard Sterling Smith is scoring 14.1. He is fourth in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in three-point percentage (.449), tied for fifth with 1.8 steals and tied for third in minutes played (34.0). Junior guard Taariq Cephas is scoring 12.2 points per game. He is also third in the MEAC in assists (4.6) and free throw percentage (.879).

Coppin State is averaging 70.4 points while allowing 78.4 points. CSU is connecting on just 40.1-percent from the floor and 31.6% from three while allowing 46.3-percent from the field and 37.6-percent from three. The Eagles are also being outrebounded, 38.7-to-33.7 per game.

Head coach Ron Mitchell is in his 28th year as the head of the Coppin State program, where he has a 428-402 (.516) record.

UALR comes into the BVI Tropical Shootout with a 3-6 record. The Trojans are coming off a 73-59 defeat at 15th-ranked Memphis last Friday.

Senior forward Will Neighbour is seventh in the Sun Belt Conference with 17.8 points and 7.2 rebounds. He is also fifth in steals (1.4) connecting on 55.8% from the floor. Sophomore guard Josh Hagins is scoring 12.2 points and sophomore forward James White is averaging 8.6 points and 6.4 boards.

UALR is averaging 72.4 points while allowing 77.4 points. The Trojans are connecting on just 40.8-percent from the floor and 34.0% from three while allowing 44.0-percent from the field and 34.6-percent from three. UALR is outrebounding it opponents, 37.8-to-37.2, while leading the Sun Belt in free throw percentage (.737).

Head coach Steve Shields is in his 12th year as the head of the UALR program, where he has a 167-149 (.528) record.

Jacksonville State comes into the BVI Tropical Shootout with a 5-8 record. The Gamecocks are coming off an 82-73 over Central Michigan on Tuesday.

Junior guard Darion Rackley leads the team with 12.3 points. Junior guard Avery Moore is scoring 10.0 points. Senior forward Nick Cook is leading JSU with 6.2 rebounds.

Jacksonville State is averaging 67.2 points while allowing 72.2 points. The Gamecocks are connecting on just 42.8-percent from the floor and 35.0% from three while allowing 47.1-percent from the field and 35.7-percent from three. JSU is being outrebounded, 33.2-to-32.4.

Head coach James Green is in his sixth year as the head of the Jacksonville State program, where he has a 64-98 (.395) record. In 17 years as a head coach, he is 231-258 (.472), including 123-109 as the head coach at Southern Miss from 1996-04.

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