HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss enters the 2013 Conference USA Tournament as the No. 2 seed. They will face the winner of the No. 7 UAB on Thursday, March 14. Tip-off is scheduled for 12 p.m. CT and will be televised by CBS Sports Network.
UAB defeated 10 seed SMU 53-52 on Wednesday evening in game that wasn't decided until Jordan Swing hit a lay-up with 9 seconds to play to give the Blazers the win.
Southern Miss comes into the Conference USA Tournament with a 23-8 record, 12-4 in Conference USA. The Golden Eagles are coming off a 70-62 victory over UCF in their regular season finale on Saturday.
Senior guard Dwayne Davis scored 34 points to lead Southern Miss. It is the second straight game that Davis has scored 30 points, the first Golden Eagle to do that since Charles Gaines in 2002. He was 9-of-15 from the field, including 4-of-7 from three, and was a perfect 12-of-12 from the free throw line. Senior guard Rashard McGill scored 10 points and senior forward Jonathan Mills added nine rebounds.
Davis is leading the team with 15.9 points, which is ninth in Conference USA. He is also pulling down 4.4 rebounds and is sixth in the league in free throw percentage, hitting 80.6% and seventh in the league in three-point field goal percentage, connecting on 43.4%. Junior guard Jerrold Brooks is second on the team with 10.5 points. Junior guard Neil Watson is averaging 9.5 points and is fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.464), fifth in assists (4.9) and sixth in steals (1.7). Mills is scoring 9.2 points and grabbing a team-high 7.4 boards a game, including 3.4 offensive rebounds per game, which is second in C-USA. He is also seventh in the league in field goal percentage (.534).
Southern Miss is scoring 73.7 points per game but allowing just 62.0, which is second in Conference USA. The Golden Eagles are shooting 48.0-percent from the floor, which leads the league, while allowing its opponents to just 40.4-percent. The Golden Eagles lead C-USA in three-point field goal percentage (.387) and are fourth in three-point field goal percentage defense (.326). Southern Miss is also outrebounding its opponents, 35.5-to-29.3. The Golden Eagles are also leading the league and are third in the country in steals with 10.4.
Head coach Donnie Tyndall is in his first season at the helm of the Southern Miss men's basketball program. Tyndall is 23-8 (.742) as head coach of the Golden Eagles. He has compiled a 137-93 (.596) record in seven years as a head coach.
Heading into the C-USA tournament junior forward Jordan Swing led the team with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Junior forward Rod Rucker had 16 points and six rebounds and junior guard Quincy Taylor scored 12 points. Junior guard Robert Williams added eight boards.
Rucker leads UAB with 14.5 points and 8.3 rebounds, which is sixth in Conference USA. Swing is scoring 14.1 points while pulling down 5.7 boards. He is also eighth in the league in free throw percentage, connecting on 80.2-percent from the line. Junior center Fahro Alihodzic is adding 9.9 points and Williams is grabbing 6.1 rebounds. Senior guard Terence Jones is eighth in the conference in assists (3.7).
As a team, the Blazers are scoring 72.2 points per game while allowing 71.5. UAB is connecting on 43.5% from the field, but allowing the opposition to connect on 44.3%. From three-point distance, the Blazers are connecting on 33.6%, and are allowing 35.4-percent. UAB is outrebounding its opponents, 37.2-to-34.9. The Knights are also second in the league in free throw percentage (.729) and third in assists (16.3).
Head coach Jerod Haase is in his first season at the helm of the UAB men's basketball program. Haase is 15-16 (.484) as head coach of the Blazers.
Southern Miss and UAB have met 40 times in a series that dates back to 1979. The Blazers hold a 24-16 advantage, but Southern Miss has won five of the last seven meetings. On neutral courts, the Blazers hold a 2-1 lead. The teams have met twice before in the Conference USA Tournament, with both teams winning once. Southern Miss swept the season-series this year, winning 74-59 in Hattiesburg and 79-75 in Birmingham.