Tigers to throw down with Golden Eagles
D.J. Stephens and the Tigers look to extend their win streak to 14 games Saturday when they take on Southern Miss on the road. PHOTO BY DAVID C. MINKIN | SPECIAL TO THE DAILY HELMSMAN
The University of Memphis men's basketball team (19-3, 8-0 Conference USA) looks for their 14th straight victory when they head to Hattiesburg to take on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles (18-5, 7-1 C-USA). With a win, the Tigers will stay atop the C-USA standings.
Memphis comes into the game on a 13-game winning streak after defeating SMU 60-52 on Wednesday.
"We've won 13 straight, and 17 of 18," head coach Josh Pastner said. "We are playing a really well-coached, a really good team in Southern Miss."
The Golden Eagles are second in the conference behind Memphis, and are coming off their first conference loss of the season at the hands of UCF 60-58. However, the Golden Eagles are a deep team with loads of experience and are undefeated at home with an 8-0 mark. Southern Miss comes into the game with an RPI of 42.
Senior forward Dwayne Davis, who averages 12.9 points per game and ranks second on the team with 4.5 rebounds per game, leads the Golden Eagles. Junior guards Jerrold Brooks and Neil Watson average 10.9 and 9.3 points per contest. Watson also leads the team in assists with 5.0 per game. Forward Jonathan Mills leads the Golden Eagles with 6.8 rebounds per game.
The Tigers are 5-0 on the road and look to continue that success against the Golden Eagles. However, Memphis needs to limit turnovers and points in transition, as both teams are averaging around 73 points per game.
Memphis looks to protect the perimeter against Southern Miss, which has three players that shoot over 42 percent from behind the arc.
"Everyone we play is good," Pastner said. "There are no "gimmes," and Southern Miss has good players."
The winner of the game will be in first place in the conference, but Pastner stressed that this game is no bigger than any other. The Tigers continue to play one game at a time.
Starting forward Shaq Goodwin has been cleared to play by C-USA officials after being called for a Flagrant 2 foul. The foul occurred when Goodwin went to block a lay-up attempt by SMU and both players hit the deck hard. The officials immediately called a Flagrant 2 foul. However, the league reduced the foul to a Flagrant 1 after seeing that Goodwin was playing the ball.
"He made a play on the ball, it was not malicious," Pastner said. "He was just trying to block the shot. It was a good decision by the league."
Junior guard Geron Johnson and sophomore guard-forward Adonis Thomas hit double-figure points last game and will continue to look to score against the Golden Eagles.
The Tigers must limit turnovers against Southern Miss, as the Golden Eagles possess one of the best players in the conference in steals in Wright, who averages 2.0 steals per game.
"We will fight and claw like we have all season," Pastner said. "We have to play a tremendous game." Game time is slated for 3 p.m.
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