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UCF (20-10) at Southern Miss (22-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday. March 9, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reed Green Coliseum (8,095) -- Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Television: None. Home Record: UCF 15-5, SM 11-1. Away Record: UCF 5-5, SM 9-7. Neutral Record: UCF 0-0, SM 2-0. Conference Record: UCF 9-6, SM 11-4. Series Record: Southern Miss leads, 7-5.
GAME NOTES: The UCF Knights have made the trek to Hattiesburg to take on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in a Conference USA battle at Reed Green Coliseum.
The Knights have won three of their last four games, including a 74-70 verdict at UAB on Wednesday. They are currently tied with UTEP for third in the conference standings.
Southern Miss fell to Marshall, 88-69, on Tuesday night. They are in second place in the conference and have locked up the No. 2 seed in the upcoming conference tournament.
Southern Miss and UCF will meet for just the 13th time in a series that dates back to 2006. The Golden Eagles hold a 7-5 advantage and have won five of the last seven meetings. In Hattiesburg, USM holds a 4-1 lead. Earlier this year, UCF topped Southern Miss in Orlando, 60-58.
Junior guard Isaiah Sykes led all players with 21 points and 11 rebounds in the Knights' recent victory over UAB. Junior guard Calvin Newell tallied 18 points and sophomore forward Kasey Wilson finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Sykes leads UCF with 15.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per contest, which rank him eighth and ninth in Conference USA, respectively. He also leads the league in steals (2.3) and is sixth in assists (4.6). Keith Clanton is averaging 15.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per tilt, which is 10th and fifth in C-USA, respectively. He is also second in the conference in blocks (2.1) and fifth in field goal percentage (.545) and minutes played (35.2). Newell is averaging 11.5 points and junior forward Tristan Spurlock nets 11.4 ppg while also pulling down 5.8 rpg. Wilson leads the league in 3-point field goal percentage (.513). As a team, the Knights are scoring 71.1 ppg while allowing 67.0 ppg. UCF is connecting on 45.7 percent from the field, while the opposition is connecting on 42.6 percent from 3-point distance. UCF is outrebounding its opponents, 36.4-to-34.3 rpg, and the team ranks second in the league in blocks (4.6), and third in 3-point field goals made (7.1)
The Golden Eagles are coming off an 88-84 loss at Marshall on Tuesday. Senior guard Dwayne Davis scored a career-high 35 points, while adding five rebounds, five assists and four steals. Senior forward Jonathan Mills had 13 points and a game-high eight rebounds, and junior guard Jerrold Brooks tacked on 12 points and five rebounds.
Davis is leading the team with 15.3 ppg, which is ninth in C-USA. He is also pulling down 4.5 rpg and is seventh in the league in 3-point field goal percentage (.425). Brooks is second on the team with 10.8 ppg. Junior guard Neil Watson is averaging 9.6 ppg and is tied for third in the conference in steals (1.7) and is fourth in both assists (4.9) and 3-point field goal percentage (.468). Mills is scoring 9.3 ppg and grabbing a team-high 7.3 rpg, including 3.4 offensive rebounds per outing, which is second-best in C-USA. Southern Miss is scoring 73.8 ppg but allowing just 62.0 ppg. The Golden Eagles are shooting a league-best 48.2 percent from the floor, while allowing its opponents just 40.7 percent success. The Golden Eagles pace C-USA in 3- point field goal percentage (.391) and are fourth in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.330). Southern Miss is also outrebounding its opponents, 35.6-to-28.9 rpg. The Golden Eagles also lead the league and are third in the country in steals with 10.5 per tilt.
UCF is playing for tournament seeding, so expect the Knights to have a little more motivation and come away with a hard-fought victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCF 68, Southern Miss 64
03/09 10:49:47 ET
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