The UTEP Miners (13-13, 6-6) square off against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles (22-5, 9-3) in a huge Conference USA matchup at the Don. The Miners hold an 11-5 advantage in the series, including winning four of the last five. Also the Miners have a 4-0 advantage in C-USA games at the Don against USM. Tipoff for tonight's ballgame is slated for 7:05 p.m. MT.
These two teams last met on February 16, 2011 in Hattiesburg, MS. That night the Miners held a 41-28 advantage in the second half, but a Golden Eagle run propelled by R.L. Horton led Southern Miss to the 64-51 come from behind victory. Miner senior Claude Britten led the Miners with 20 points of his own.
The Golden Eagles enter the contest at 22-5 overall, and 9-3 in Conference USA action, but they are coming off a terrible road loss to the Houston Cougars. USM has had a fantastic year, and is currently working on improving their resume for an NCAA tournament at large bid. For them, tonight is a must win.
Southern Miss is led by sophomore G Neil Watson who averages 12.2 points and 4.6 assists per game. Junior G LaShay Page averagaes 12.1 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, and senior G Darnell Dodson averages 11.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per contest.
The Miners come into tonight's game at 13-13 overall, and 6-6 in conference play. They are riding a three game win streak that peaked Saturday in a road win over Memphis. That win marked the first road win for the Miners this season, and hopefully provided the much needed spark this team could use to finish out the season strong.
The Miners are led by sophomore G Michael Perez who averages 12.2 points, and 2.0 assists per game. Senior F Gabriel McCulley averages 11.6 points and 5.3 rebounds a contest, and both freshman G/F Julian Washburn (11.1 points and 3.0 rebounds) and sophomore C John Bohannon (11.1 points, 7.4 rebounds) also average double figure scoring.
From UNLV to Kansas St., Tulsa to Memphis, our young Miners have proven that can hang with just about anybody. I would expect today to be no different, especially in the Don. Now, this means a lot more to USM than it does to UTEP, so I'd expect the Golden Eagles to give their best shot, but I still expect our guys to play tough and give us a chance to win it. We'll see how it goes. Go Miners!!