Houston Baptist (1-3) vs. Southern Miss (4-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 23, 4:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mitchell Center (10,041) -- Mobile, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: HBU 1-0, USM 1-0. Away Record: HBU 0-2, USM 3-0. Neutral Record: HBU 1-0, USM 0-0. Conference Record: HBU 0-0, USM 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: The Mobile regional of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic continues on Saturday afternoon, as the Houston Baptist Huskies tangle with the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.
Houston Baptist, a member of the Southland Conference, has gotten off to a 1-3 start, with its only win coming against Crowley's Ridge College on Nov. 11, 76-61. In the opening round of the Classic on Friday night, the Huskies fell to Wright State, 75-59. Although they led early in the second half, the Raiders went on a 20-5 run to pull away. HBU had a solid night shooting from the field (.435) and the foul line (.700), but it was ultimately done in by 22 turnovers. Cody Joyce led the way with 11 points, and Caleb Crayton added 10 points, but no one else reached double figures.
The Golden Eagles have gotten their season off to a flying start with wins in each of their first four games, which includes a 66-59 triumph over regional host South Alabama on Friday night. Things looked dire for USM in the opening round, as it trailed by 13 with under 10 minutes to play, but it caught fire at the right time by ending the game on a 26-6 run to capture the seven-point victory. It wasn't its most effective shooting night (.396), but they drained 21-of-29 from the foul line and won the turnover battle, 15-11. Neil Watson and Aaron Brown paced the effort with 17 points apiece, Jerrold Brooks chipped in 13 points, while Michael Craig logged 10 points and eight rebounds.
These two teams met for a pair of games in the mid-1970s, with each winning once.
The Huskies have had a rough go of it early on, as they are shooting just 40.6 percent from the field for 64.0 points per game, and they aren't playing particularly well on the defensive end of the court either (.453, 75.2 ppg). Despite making just one start through four games, Tyler Russell is the leading scorer with 12.8 points per game, although he does so on less than 40 percent field goal shooting. Joyce (11.3 ppg) has been impressive from the field (.567), but not so much from the charity stripe (11-of-18), while Rob Lewis rounds out the double-digit scorers with 11.0 points per contest.
The Golden Eagles also haven't been especially impressive with their offensive production thus far (69.5 ppg), but where they separate themselves from most teams is with their performance on defense, where they yield only 61.8 points per game to opponents on less than 41 percent field goal shooting. Aaron Brown is USM's go-to option with 15.0 points per game, and he has been especially strong from 3-point range (8-of-14). Craig (9.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and Daveon Boardingham (9.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg) are both impressive rebounding guards, while Brooks' scoring output (10.5 ppg) should go up if he can improve upon his lackluster field goal percentage (.371).
USM has answered the call early on this season with a handful of impressive, albeit close victories, and its unblemished record should be safe against an inferior Houston Baptist squad.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern Miss 71, Houston Baptist 56
11/23 10:35:37 ET