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January 4, 2010HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss men's basketball team looks to get back on track when it travels to Huntington, W.V., to open conference play against Marshall. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. CT.
This is the ninth meeting between Southern Miss and Marshall, and the teams have split the previous eight meetings. However, Southern Miss has won the last three games. In Huntington, Marshall leads 3-2. Last year, the Golden Eagles took an 84-79 decision in Hattiesburg.
Southern Miss enters Tuesday night's conference opener with a 9-4 record after dropping its third game in four tries, 82-46 at Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Junior forward Gary Flowers led the way for the Golden Eagles, scoring 17 points while grabbing a game-high eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Angelo Johnson and senior guard Buchi Awaji added eight points apiece.
Flowers is tied for ninth in Conference USA with 14.8 points. He is ninth in field goal percentage, connecting on 51.3-percent of his shots, third in rebounding with 8.8 boards per game and fourth in blocks (2.2).
Maurice Bolden is second on the team with 12.4 points per game and 7.1 rebounds. He is also seventh in the league in free throw percentage, hitting 82.0-percent from the line. Johnson is scoring 9.3 points, while junior forward Josimar Ayarza and junior guard R.L. Horton are also contributing 8.7 points apiece.
As a team, Southern Miss is scoring 70.1 points per game, while allowing 61.9. The Golden Eagles are third in the conference in rebounding, pulling down 40.8 boards per game, while giving up just 31.7 to the opposition. The Black and Gold are connecting on 43.9-percent of their shots, while their opponents are hitting just 39.0-percent.
Head coach Larry Eustachy is in his sixth season at the helm of the Southern Miss men's basketball program. He has compiled an 84-84 (non I-A games included) record during his time as head coach. In 18 years, Eustachy has an overall record of 344-229 (.600).
Marshall enters Tuesday night's game with an 11-2 record. The Thundering Herd have won their last two games after defeating St. Bonaventure, 80-61, last Saturday.
Freshman forward led Hassan Whiteside Marshall with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore guards Shaquille Johnson and Dago Peno each had 11 points, while senior forward Tyler Wilkerson had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Wilkerson leads the team with 13.2 points, and is seventh in the conference with 7.3 rebounds. Whiteside is scoring 12.6 points, and is grabs 9.5 boards per game, good for second in C-USA. Johnson is contributing 11.8 points per game.
As a team, Marshall is averaging 82.4 points per game, which is second in the conference, while allowing 64.9. The Herd is grabbing 41.0 rebounds per game, also second in C-USA, while giving up 36.7. MU is tops in the league, connecting on 48.6-percent of its shots, while the opposition scores 37.7-percent of the time.
Head coach Donnie Jones is in his third season leading the Marshall men's basketball program. He currently holds a 42-33 (.560) record.