Tulsa (15-10) at Southern Miss (21-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 15th, 8:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reed Green Coliseum (8,095) -- Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Television: None. Home Record: Tulsa 9-4, Southern Miss 12-0. Away Record: Tulsa 5-4, Southern Miss 7-3. Neutral Record: Tulsa 1-2, Southern Miss 2-1. Conference Record: Tulsa 8-3, Southern Miss 8-2. Series Record: Tulsa leads, 6-3.
GAME NOTES: The Golden Eagles will look to remain perfect in Hattiesburg tonight, when Southern Miss hosts the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in a Conference- USA showdown at Reed Green Coliseum.
Tulsa head-coach Doug Woljcik recorded his 138th-career win in a 72-48 rout of Houston over the weekend, becoming the all-time winningest coach in the school's history in the process. The Golden Hurricane enter this affair just a half-game behind the first-place Golden Eagles in the Conference USA standings, and own an 8-2 mark in league play. Overall, Tulsa is 15-10 this season, a ledger made possible by a strong turnaround that has saw the club post wins in eight out of its last nine outings.
As for Southern Miss, the Golden Eagles had a five-game win streak snapped back on February 8th at UAB (71-61), but the squad bounced back on Saturday afternoon, earning a hard-fought 78-74 decision over UCF to improve to 21-4 overall on the year. Tonight's contest closes out a brief two-game homestand for the Golden Eagles, who own a pristine 12-0 record on their own hardwood this season.
Tonight marks just the 10th all-time meeting between the two programs, a series in which Tulsa leads, 6-3.
Tulsa led just 26-22 heading into the break against Houston, but a second-half fueled by an impressive 59.1 percent shooting pace broke the contest wide open. The Golden Hurricane hit 17-of-18 at the foul line during that stanza as well, and outscored Houston by a 46-26 margin over the final 20 minutes. Tulsa connected on 49.0 percent of its attempts from the floor overall, and controlled the glass to the tune of 35-22 as well. Jordan Clarkson registered a game-high 21 points to lead all scorers in the victory, while Steven Idlet helped pace the Golden Hurricane with a 15-point effort from off the bench. Idlet also collected a team-high nine rebounds, and Scottie Haralson chipped in 13 points. The Golden Hurricane average a somewhat underwhelming 66.1 points per game this season, despite the fact the club is shooting at a solid 45.1 percent pace that includes a respectable 38.0 percent conversion rate from beyond the arc. Tulsa has struggled at the foul line (67.3 percent), however, and owns just a pair of players with a double-digit scoring average. Clarkson paces the squad (16.1 ppg), with Haralson following courtesy of an 11.3 ppg contribution. The Golden Hurricane owe the majority of their success to prowess at the defensive end of the court, where they have yielded just 62.2 ppg to the opposition on 41.1 percent shooting. Tulsa also has a 36.1 - 30.0 rebounding advantage over its adversaries, and has forced 310 turnovers through 25 games.
Southern Miss needed every bit of its 22-for-30 effort at the charity stripe during the second frame against UCF, as the Knights shot at a blistering 59.3 percent clip to close a 10-point halftime deficit and take a 54-51 lead with seven minutes left to play. Fortunately, a 9-1 Southern Miss run over the following minute and a half earned the Golden Eagles a 60-55 lead they would not relinquish. The Knights pulled to within three points five times over the final five minutes, but Southern Miss sunk 15-of-19 free throws to stave the rally. Jonathan Mills scored 18 points and collected eight rebounds to lead the way for the Golden Eagles, while Page LaShay and Neil Watson added 15 points. Torye Pelham got into the mix as well, checking in off the bench to chip in 12 points. The Golden Eagles are a well-rounded offensive club, chock- full of depth. The squad averages a healthy 72.1 ppg this season, and is shooting at a 42.2 percent clip that includes a respectable 36.6 percent team mark from long rang. Page leads the Golden Eagles in scoring on the year, registering 12.6 ppg, while Darnell Dodson checks in at 12.6 points to go with 5.3 rebounds per contest. Watson has been responsible for 11.4 ppg while converting 89.1 percent of his free throws, a mark good enough to lead C-USA. Maurice Bolden has also achieved a double-digit scoring average for Southern Miss this year, netting 10.4 ppg while also leading the team on the boards with a 5.7 rpg tally.
The Golden Eagles have been nothing short of dominant on their homecourt this season, and that should continue tonight against Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane have played very well over the past month or so though, so expect a tightly- contested affair.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern Miss 73, Tulsa 68
02/15 10:53:34 ET