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November 9, 2012

The Donnie Tyndall Era Begins Saturday

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss men's basketball team opens its 2012-13 regular season this Saturday, Nov. 10, when it hosts Western Kentucky. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT from Reed Green Coliseum.

Southern Miss opens its season at home for the 39th time and the second straight year. In those games, the Golden Eagles are 32-6, and have won the last 16. In season openers the Golden Eagles are 42-25 and have won 14 of the last 15, including the last seven. In home openers, the Black and Gold is 55-12 and have won 18 of 19, including the last six.

Southern Miss and Western Kentucky will meet for just the fourth time. The Golden Eagles are looking for their first-ever victory in the series, as the Hilltoppers have won the previous three. WKU won the only other meeting in Hattiesburg, 74-50, in 2001.

The Golden Eagles are coming off a 72-58 victory over Charleston (W.V.) in their exhibition finale on Tuesday. Jerrold Brooks led the Golden Eagles with 16 points. Jonathan Mills and Daveon Boardingham pitched in 10 points, while Boardingham pulled down a game-high nine rebounds. Michael Craig added nine points to go along with seven rebounds.

Southern Miss returns just four letterwinners from last year's squad that went 25-9 and made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Heading the list of returnees is junior guard Neil Watson. Watson will run the point for the Eagles after spending most of last year coming off the bench. The Kansas City, Kan. native was named Preseason All-Conference USA, and is the league's reigning Newcomer and Sixth Man of the Year. Watson was the team's leading scorer last year, averaging 12.3 points and 4.4 assists. He was also second in Conference USA with an 84.3 free throw percentage.

Senior forward Jonathan Mills returns after being named Third Team All-Conference USA and earning All-Defensive Team honors. Mills averaged 9.5 points and led the Golden Eagles with 6.1 rebounds. Senior Rashard McGill will see action on the wing as well as a forward. McGill averaged 2.6 points 2.9 rebounds. Junior Cedric Jenkins also returns to the squad. Jenkins started five games, averaging 2.6 points and 2.0 rebounds.

Eight newcomers will don the black and gold for the first time this year. Junior college transfers Dwayne Davis (Philadelphia, Pa.,/Midland CC), who sat out last year as a non-qualifier, Daveon Boardingham (Newark, N.J./Seward County CC), Michael Craig (Phoenix, Ariz./South Mountain CC) and Jerrold Brooks (Rochester, N.Y./Casper College). They will be joined by freshmen Deon Edwin (British Virgin Islands/Red Lion Christian Academy), Norville Carey (British Virgin Islands/Red Lion Christian Academy) and Christian Robbins (Foxworth, Miss.), who redshirted last year and walk-on Jamie Chapman (Mobile, Ala./St. Paul's Episcopal). Transfers Chip Armelin (Sulphur, La./Minnesota), Aaron Brown (Hackensack, N.J./Temple) and Johnny Zuppardo (Metarie, La./Arkansas State) must sit out this season due to NCAA Transfer rules.

Head coach Donnie Tyndall enters his first season at the helm of the Southern Miss men's basketball program. He has compiled a 114-85 (.573) record in six years as a head coach.

Western Kentucky finished 16-19 last year, but won the Sun Belt Conference and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

WKU returns four starters and nine letterwinners from last year's team. Sophomore forward George Fant is the leading returning scorer and rebounder for the Hilltoppers. Fant was second on the team last year with 10.4 points and 6.1 rebounds. He also led the team with a 47.6-field goal percentage and was 10th in Sun Belt with 1.2 blocks per game.

Western Kentucky scored 64.9 points per game last year, while allowing 68.1. WKU connected on just 39.4-percent from the floor, and 30.6-percent from behind the arc. The Hilltoppers also pulled down 36.4 rebounds.

Head coach Ray Harper enters his second season at the helm of the Western Kentucky men's basketball program. He has compiled an 11-8 (.579) record after taking over midway through last season. In 13 years overall, Harper has compiled a 353-71 (.833) record.


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