TU faces significant challenge in Southern Miss
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Saturday, January 26, 2013
1/26/13 at 7:17 AM
On Wednesday night, there was a University of Tulsa victory - 87-72 in a Conference USA basketball game at Houston.
In the Golden Hurricane locker room, during a celebration of what had been the team's most complete performance of the season, coach Danny Manning and his players were provided with updates from the Marshall-Southern Miss contest in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Actually, it was no contest.
With 3:33 remaining in the first half, Southern Miss led 49-9.
The halftime score was 53-17.
With 12 minutes left to play, the Golden Eagles led by 51 points.
Final score: Southern Miss 102, Marshall 46.
"Tonight just happened to be our night," Southern Miss coach Donnie Tyndall said.
With a margin of 56 points, it was the most one-sided league game in Conference USA history.
Tulsa guard Scottie Haralson, mindful that Marshall defeated the Hurricane 79-61 on Jan. 9, had this reaction to Southern Miss' obliteration of the Thundering Herd: "I was shocked."
At 3 p.m. Saturday, in what qualifies as the most significant game thus far on the Hurricane schedule, TU (12-8 overall, 4-2 C-USA) hosts Southern Miss at the Reynolds Center.
"This is a big game," Manning said. "All conference games are big. Marshall beat us, and Southern Miss beat Marshall pretty bad. That should get your attention. This is a chance to get ourselves involved in the conference race."
Last season, Larry Eustachy-coached Southern Miss was a 25-win, NCAA Tournament team. This season, the Tyndall-coached Golden Eagles may be even better. Southern Miss is 16-4 overall, 5-0 in conference play and leads Conference USA in scoring margin (plus-17.2 points per game), 3-point percentage (.394) and rebounding margin (plus-6.1 per game).
The Golden Eagle offense is driven not by one or two stars, but by balanced production. Six players average at least 7.7 points. Against Marshall, Jerrold Brooks totaled 20 points and Dwayne Davis 19. From their bench, the Golden Eagles got 39 points.
Southern Miss has C-USA's highest RPI standing (No. 40) and ranks No. 2 nationally in steals at 12.4 per game.
If Tulsa was staggered by UTEP's full-court pressure, how will the young Hurricane guards respond to Southern Miss' attacking defense?
"They're talented. They play with a chip on their shoulder," Manning said of the Golden Eagles. "Really good and really tough. Aggressive on both ends of the court. You have to match that."
"It's going to be a battle," said Haralson, who scored 19 points during TU's victory at Houston.
Against the Cougars, the Hurricane shot 51 percent from the field and 12-of-25 from 3-point range while totaling only 11 turnovers. During a two-minute span of the second half, after Houston had rallied to within six points, Haralson answered with an 11-point barrage that included three 3-point baskets.
"The Houston game helps us a lot," said TU redshirt freshman forward Brandon Swannegan, who had a season-high total of nine points against the Cougars. "We took a tough loss at Tulane (75-72 last weekend), so to play as well as we did at Houston - it gives us a lot of momentum heading into Southern Miss."
TU up next
Vs. Southern Miss 3 p.m. Saturday
Radio: KRMG am740, fm102.3
Original Print Headline: Significant test awaits TU
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397
Jerrold Brooks and Southern Miss put a monumental beating on Marshall on Wednesday night. RYAN MOORE/The Hattiesburg American/AP
TU's Kauri Black prepares to shoot while guarded by UTEP's John Bohannon (right) during their game earlier this month. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World
TU head coach Danny Manning signals to his players during their game against UTEP. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World