Tucson, AZ (Sports Network) - The Southern Miss Golden Eagles look to slow
down the No. 8 Arizona Wildcats as the two teams meet at the McKale Center for
a non-conference bout on Tuesday.
The Golden Eagles are coming off of a 68-60 setback to New Mexico State. The
loss was the first of the season for Southern Miss, which won its first six
games to start the 2012-13 campaign. The team outlasted Western Kentucky and
Georgia for overtime victories in Mid-November before taking down UC Irvine,
Liberty, and Denver. Head coach Donnie Tyndall is in his first season at the
helm of the Southern Miss program. He has compiled a 120-86 (.583) record in
seven years as a head coach. USM is averaging only 64.9 ppg this season.
Sean Miller's Wildcats have been impossible to tame this season. Arizona
reeled off its fifth win in a row on Saturday by completing an 85-57 rout of
the previously unbeaten Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock. The team has
outscored its opponents by an average of 24.6 ppg and ranks in the top 10 in
Division I in points per game (85.2), assists (18.2) and field-goal percentage
(.523). Arizona has been held under 80 points just once this season.
Southern Miss and Arizona will meet for just the third time ever and the first
time in 58 years. Arizona won the previous two meetings. The Wildcats won the
only other meeting in Tucson, 90-56, in 1950.
The Golden Eagles fell behind early at NMSU and never managed to overcome a
double-digit deficit they allowed their opponents to create in the opening
half. Southern Miss was held to just 35.1 percent shooting, including just 5-
of-18 from three-point range. Jonathan Mills and Michael Craig scored 12
points each in the loss. Senior forward Dwayne Davis is pacing the team with
15.1 ppg. Mills is the team's top rebounder with 7.6 rpg. Craig, Jerrold
Brooks, and Neil Watson are all big contributors while Rashard McGill sees his
fair share of playing time due to his defensive capabilities.
Arizona is not only efficient on the offensive end. Last time out it won the
rebounding battle 41-26 and held the Red Raiders to 34.9 percent shooting
from the field. Still, the high-octane offense was on display as well. The
Wildcats converted 15-of-24 field-goal attempts after halftime and finished
17-of-21 at the charity stripe in the contest. Sophomore guard Nick Johnson
paced the team with 18 points, while Mark Lyons and Solomon Hill netted 14
points each. Hill and Johnson are tied for the team lead with 14 ppg. Johnson
(11.8 ppg) and Brandon Ashley (11 ppg) are both contributing scoring averages
in double figures as well. Although he does not score as frequently as his
teammates, freshman seven-footer Kaleb Tarczewski impacted the game with his
interior presence and rebounding ability.
The Sports Network