Southern Miss (8-3) vs. Wichita State (10-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 22, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Intrust Bank Arena (15,004) -- Wichita, Kansas. Television: None. Home Record: USM 3-0, WSU 6-0. Away Record: USM 3-3, WSU 2-1. Neutral Record: USM 2-0, WSU 2-0. Conference Record: USM 0-0, WSU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Southern Miss Golden Eagles look to fly past the shorthanded Wichita State Shockers when the two schools meet for non-conference action at Intrust Bank Arena.
The Golden Eagles began the season with six consecutive victories before losing three straight on the road to New Mexico State (68-60), Arizona (63-55), and Louisiana Tech (65-55). USM has since won two in a row as it completed a 93-45 rout of Grambling State before stealing a 69-67 decision at Georgia State. Coach Donnie Tyndall has to be pleased with his team's defensive effort this season with just 59.3 points allowed per game on 38.9 percent field goal shooting. The Golden Eagles are netting 66 ppg on the offensive end while averaging 6.1 more rebounds per contest than their opposition.
Gregg Marshall's Shockers have been bit by the injury bug already as Carl Hall, Evan Wessel, and now Ron Baker are all sidelined. Wichita State has managed get through its first 11 outings with just one loss and a few impressive decisions over Virginia Commonwealth (53-51), Iowa (75-63), and Air Force (72-69). It rebounded from its first setback of the season on Thursday by defeating Charleston Southern 65-53 at home. The Shockers have been dominant so far with a 12.2-point average margin of victory . They have converted 45.6 percent of their field goal tries and held their foes to just 38.6 shooting from the floor.
This will be the first meeting in history between these schools on the hardwood.
Junior guard Jerrold Brooks poured in a career-high 23 points to lead Southern Miss past Georgia State on Tuesday. Dwayne Davis added 12 points off the bench and Jonathan Mills grabbed nine rebounds to help the winning effort. The Golden Eagles shot very well, converting 50 percent of their field goal attempts including six from distance. They also owned a 31-22 edge on the glass and scored 20 points off of turnovers. Davis is pacing the team in the scoring column with 13.9 ppg and Mills is the top rebounder with 7.2 boards per contest. Mills and Brooks are both tallying just under 10 ppg as well.
Junior forward Cleanthony Early registered his first double-double as a Shocker his last time out with 20 points and 10 rebounds in their win over Charleston Southern. Nick Wiggins added 11 points for Wichita State, which shot 41.1 percent from the field and held a 46-29 advantage in the rebounding battle in the bout. The Shockers were even more impressive on the defensive end, holding the Buccaneers to 34 percent shooting and just six assists to 16 turnovers. With Hall still unavailable as he recovers from a broken thumb, Early is the team's active leading scorer with 13.4 ppg.
The Golden Eagles will be poised to take advantage of Wichita State without a few of its key players, but USM will still have trouble due to Early's presence in the post. Mills will really need to step it up on both the defensive end to give his team a chance.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wichita State 65, Southern Miss 61
12/22 10:31:12 ET