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Men's Basketball closes non-conference slate against Mississippi State in Jackson

Dec. 22, 2017

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Southern Miss is headed back to the capital for the second-straight season when it takes on Mississippi State at 6 p.m. on Saturday inside the Mississippi Coliseum.

Fans can tune into the game via the Southern Miss IMG Sports Network (Rock 104.5 in Hattiesburg/Laurel), as well as with the USM Gameday app. Live stats and other updates can be found via Twitter (@SouthernMissMBB).

– The Golden Eagles are closing out their non-conference campaign with two of their toughest opponents yet over a three-day stretch, first falling to No. 24 Florida State (first game against a ranked opponent since No. 9 Louisville on Nov. 29, 2013) on Thursday.

– Southern Miss’ recent four-game winning streak was its longest of the Doc Sadler era, and the squad is already two wins away from matching its most in four years since inheriting NCAA sanctions. The Golden Eagles have faced three defending conference champs this season, and among that mark is a halftime lead at defending Big Ten champ Michigan and an 18-point win over Sun Belt champ Troy.

– Southern Miss ranks No. 7 in the nation for fewest turnovers per game (9.8) and No. 12 for assist-turnover ratio (1.56), as well as sixth for turnover margin (+5.9). It has won the turnover battle in every game this season, and the four errors at Alabama A&M were its fewest since having two against FAU in the 2016-17 home finale.

– The Golden Eagles shot just 62.7 percent from the free-throw line for the first seven games, but have since gone 55-for-69 at the charity stripe (79.7 percent) over the last five.

– Southern Miss’ last win came the previous Saturday (Dec. 16) against crosstown foe William Carey, 75-58. Cortez Edwards (28 points, 12 rebounds) finished just short of the program’s first 30-10 game since Gary Flowers in Feb. 2011, and Dominic Magee’s 19 points and 11 boards gave Southern Miss its first double-double pair since Dec. 2011 (Jonathan Mills and Darnell Dodson).

– Magee has flipped a switch over the three-game stretch from Dec. 10-16, averaging 32.7 minutes, 17.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Prior to that stretch, he had never played 30 minutes in his 30 career games. Magee averaged 2.1 boards for Grand Canyon in his only prior season of college basketball, and is now leading his team in that category.

– Magee, Edwards and Tyree Griffin give Southern Miss its first trio of double-digit average scorers since the 2014-15 season.

Kevin Holland ranks sixth in C-USA with a 49.0 percent mark (24-for-49). However, nobody ahead of him has more than 16 makes. He began the year 1-for-5 and then made 10 of his next 13 attempts. Only 20 of his shot attempts for the season have been inside the arc. Holland also began the previous year with an 11-for-18 long-range clip.

– Last year’s meeting between the schools was the first between the schools since the 2001 NIT, and the last regular-season one since 1995. The Golden Eagles got a few hours’ sleep after that 8 p.m. contest and then flew out before sunrise to the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu. This is the second installment of a four-game series in Jackson where the two programs will split home-team duties.

– The 2016 bout also marked the first for Southern Miss inside the Mississippi Coliseum since a 1997 win over Mississippi Valley State.

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