Dec. 22, 2006
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -
Southern Miss plays its last men's basketball game prior to Christmas when they travel to Peoria, Ill., Saturday, for a 7:05 p.m., contest against a Sweet Sixteen team from a year ago, Bradley, at the 11,300-seat Carver Arena.
The Golden Eagles enter the game with an 8-1 record after beating Reinhardt College, 80-56, at Green Coliseum earlier this week. The contest marked the fifth time this season that Southern Miss had converted over 50 percent of its shots from the floor. The nation's No. 3 team in rebounding margin outboarded the visitors, 39-23, in the contest and now holds a plus-13.0 over the nine teams they have played this season.
Sophomore Craig Craft (Raleigh, Miss.) scored in double figures for the second straight game as he tallied a career-best 17 points in leading five Southern Miss players in double-figure scoring. Despite a season-low three points from the team's leading scorer, freshman Jeremy Wise (Jackson, Miss.), the Golden Eagles found offensive production from elsewhere against Reinhardt.
Freshman Jarvis Hill (Starkville, Miss.) tallied 15 points for his fourth double-digit scoring performance of the year, raising his scoring average to 8.6 points per game. Fellow freshman Sai'Quon Stone (Brooklyn, N.Y.) poured in 13 points as he has upped his scoring average to 9.1. Junior Demar Dotson (Alexandria, La.) also saw his points per game output rise to 9.1 after tallying 11 points against Reinhardt and freshman Andre Stephens is now at 6.8 points a game after chipping in 11 points.
Wise, though, continues to pace the team in the scoring ledger at 15.6 per contest, which ranks No. 8 in Conference USA. Sophomore Courtney Beasley (Huntsville, Ala.) is next on the club at 10.6 points per tilt.
This will be the third meeting between the two schools, with the Braves winning both previous contests. The two teams first met in Tokyo, Japan, in a tournament, Dec. 16, 1988, with BU taking a 94-86 triumph. The two teams renewed the series last season, with the visiting Braves taking a 56-43 decision
BU enters the contest with an 8-3 mark, which includes victories over DePaul (78-58), Rutgers (101-72), Iowa State (76-66) and Loyola-Chicago (82-73). The Braves are 6-0 this season and have won 13 straight on their home floor.
Four Braves are in double-figure scoring including Jimmy Church who ranks first at 16.3 points per contest. Church is followed by Will Franklin (13.9), Daniel Ruffin (12.3) and Zach Andrews (11.1) in the scoring average column as the Braves tally 81.4 points per game as a team.
The Braves will use a long-range attack on the Golden Eagles as they average 11.5 3-pointers made per game and are hitting them at a percentage of 47.2 (126-of-267).
Following the Christmas holiday, the Golden Eagles return home to face McNeese State, Dec. 28, in a 7:30 p.m. contest. The game will be a part of a doubleheader with the women's squad, who will play an exhibition contest against the Houston Jaguars. Game time for that event is 4:30 p.m.