Southern Miss (13-4) at SMU (11-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 16, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Moody Coliseum (8,000) -- Dallas, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: USM 6-0, SMU 6-2. Away Record: USM 5-3, SMU 3-3. Neutral Record: USM 2-1, SMU 2-2. Conference Record: USM 2-0, SMU 1-2. Series Record: Southern Miss leads, 6-4.
GAME NOTES: Larry Brown and his SMU Mustangs have a tough task ahead of them as they host the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at Moody Coliseum in a Conference USA tilt on Wednesday evening.
Donnie Tyndall is doing a stellar job in his inaugural season at the helm of the Southern Miss program. The Golden Eagles picked up their fifth consecutive victory on Saturday as they completed a 73-54 rout of Houston at home. The decision over the Cougars lifted USM to a 13-4 overall record including its 2-0 standing in C-USA play. Although the Golden Eagles are adept enough on the offensive end to rank fifth in the league with 73.1 ppg, their defensive stopping power is fueling their success. Southern Miss leads the C-USA and has the 25th best scoring defense in the nation with only 58.3 points allowed per contest.
Brown made an immediate impact in his return to college basketball, leading the Mustangs to a 8-1 start than included wins over Loyola Marymount, Rider, and Utah. SMU then fell off to go 2-6 before its 59-53 win over Tulane on Saturday. The decision over the Green Wave bumped SMU up to an 11-7 overall record and a 1-1 mark in league play. Brown does not have any of his own recruits at his disposal, but he is found a leader in sophomore guard Jalen Jones, who paces the squad with 14.7 points and 8.2 boards per game. Nick Russell is also a regular contributor with 13.9 points and 4.2 assists per outing while Ryan Manuel adds 11.8 ppg.
This will be the 11th meeting between these schools on the hardwood in history. Southern Miss owns a narrow, 6-4, all-time series lead after its 67-60 decision on Feb. 29, 2012 in last season's lone encounter.
The Golden Eagles caught fire versus Houston on Saturday as they used a 19-0 run towards the end of the first half to earn a 36-15 advantage at the break. Southern Miss controlled the boards, 45-36, and points in the paint, 44-26 in the contest. Jerrold Brooks scored a game-high 16 points, Daveon Boardingham netted 12 points and five boards, Norville Carey scored 11 points off the bench. Dwayne Davis, who leads the squad with 12.7 ppg, was held to eight points after going 3-of-11 from the field. Brooks and Michael Craig are chipping in 10.3 and 10.1 points per outing while Neil Watson gets everyone involved with 5.1 assists per tilt.
SMU had a very strong showing against Tulane, as it hit 46.8 percent of its field goal attempts and led for the entire second half. Russell pushed the team with 13 points and seven assists while Jones, Manuel, and London Giles added 10 points apiece to help the Mustangs reach a 6-2 record at home. The low-scoring affair was nothing unusual, as SMU averages 64.2 points per game and lets up only 60.2 ppg to its opposition.
Although both sides are capable of stifling defensive performances, USM is a better team overall. The Golden Eagles have a few players capable of leading them in scoring on any given night, which makes them very difficult to prepare for. While Brown is a Hall of Famer for his previous work on the pine, he may continue to find wins difficult to come by with the team he inherited.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern Miss 70, SMU 60
01/16 10:47:14 ET