Denver (1-3) at Southern Miss (5-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 27, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reed Green Coliseum (8,095) -- Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Television: None. Home Record: Denver 1-2, USM 1-0. Away Record: Denver 0-1, USM 2-0. Neutral Record: Denver 0-0, USM 2-0. Conference Record: Denver 0-0, USM 0-0. Series Record: Denver leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: Off to a 5-0 start for the third time in the last four seasons, the Southern Miss Golden Eagles try to keep their record unblemished on Tuesday as they host the Denver Pioneers in non-conference play at Reed Green Coliseum.
The Golden Eagles recently returned from Texas where they ripped off three wins in as many days against the likes of Sam Houston State, UC Irvine and Liberty and part of subregional action in the Legends Classic. Prior to that hectic run, USM also posted overtime wins against Western Kentucky and Georgia in order to be perfect as it heads into just the second home game of 2012-13.
As for the Pioneers, they have only one win through their first four outings of the season, defeating Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at home back on Nov. 14 by a score of 68-51. Since then Denver has stumbled in two games, losing to California (72-61) and then Colorado State six days ago in a 60-53 final.
In terms of the all-time series, Denver has won all three previous encounters, although not one of them was played in Hattiesburg.
Chase Hallam and Royce O'Neale scored 19 and 16 points, respectively, against Colorado State at home last week, but at the same time the other three starters for the Pioneers combined to shoot only 2-of-19 from the floor and finish with a collective six points. Overall, Denver shot just 29.5 percent from the field, including 5-of-29 (.172) behind the three-point line. If not for his seven rebounds, tying reserve Cam Griffin for the team lead, Chris Udofia might have been completely overlooked versus the Rams as he finished with only two points on 1-of-6 from the field. A starter in all four games who is playing almost 34 minutes per outing, Udofia is still the leading scorer for the program with his 13.8 ppg and is also first on the glass with 7.5 rpg, but as the Rams proved, it is possible to shut him down. O'Neale (11.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4.3 apg) might be the most well-rounded contributor for the group right now.
Although they didn't necessarily need it, the Golden Eagles scored a season- high 74 points in the 18-point win over Liberty the last time out, shooting a sizzling 60.4 percent from the floor even while turning the ball over 16 times. Jonathan Mills accounted for a game-high 18 points and pulled down eight rebounds, followed by Dwayne Davis and reserve Norville Carey who accounted for 14 and 13 points, respectively. Defensively, USM limited the Flames to only 34.0 percent from the field and 8-of-30 beyond the arc. Through five games, opponents are shooting not only a paltry 36.3 percent from the floor against the Golden Eagles, those squads have also squandered plenty of looks from behind the three-point line where they are a collective 38-of-132 (.288), then again USM is only 29.2 percent accurate from the outside so it pretty much balances out. Davis leads in scoring with 15.0 ppg, followed by Mills with his 10.6 ppg to go along with a team-best 7.6 rpg as well.
Southern Miss has come up empty in previous meetings against the Pioneers, but this might be the time for the Golden Eagles to finally break through, especially since they are at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern Miss 68, Denver 61
11/27 10:33:51 ET