USM Prepares for Conference Game Against FIU

The Southern Miss men’s basketball team will look to win its second conference game tomorrow against Florida International University at Reed Green Coliseum.

In the last meeting between the two teams, the Golden Eagles defeated the Panthers, 78-66, to stay perfect at home last season.

Coming off a loss against UAB, Southern Miss (6-16, 1-10) struggled to grab offensive rebounds, limit second chance opportunities for the Blazers and found itself in foul trouble, sending UAB players to the free throw line.

However, the Golden Eagles look to minimize their mistakes, maximize offensive production, crash the boards and play tough, but smart on defense against FIU.

Riding a two-game losing streak, FIU (11-12, 4-6) sits in eighth place in Conference USA, coming off a tough loss against UTEP, 67-64.

The Panthers feature three prominent scorers in guard Dennis Mavin and forwards Adrian Diaz and Daviyon Draper.

Mavin averages nearly 18 points per game, leading the conference in scoring and serves as the leading scorer for the Panthers.

Diaz, a 6-feet, 11-inch forward,  averages close to 14 points per game and ranks seventh in the conference in rebounding, averaging nearly seven per game. He also records at least four blocks per game and set a school record for blocks in a single season with 62.

Draper, another forward, shoots 30 percent from behind the arc, recording 8 points per game.

As a team, FIU averages 63 points and 35 rebounds per game. The Panthers rank third in the league in field goal percentage, shooting 45 percent from the floor, fourth in scoring offense, 12th in free throw percentage and 13th in three-point field goals made.

The Golden Eagles will have their hands full in terms on offense as FIU ranks third in the league in blocks, sixth in steals and fifth in defensive rebounding.

The Panthers play smart on defense, limit their foul situations while playing aggressively on defense and regulating its opponents from getting second chance points.

Southern Miss averages 61 points per game, but gives up 69 to its opponents, something FIU will look to maximize on.

The Golden Eagles snag 29 rebounds per game, ranking dead last in the conference for offensive and defensive rebounding.

However, USM ranks fourth in field goal percentage and sixth in three-point field goal percentage.

It is important that Chip Armelin puts on a strong performance in the game as the Golden Eagles leading scorer, averaging 15 points per game. Norville Carey and Matt Bingaya will also be looked upon for offensive production with the duo combining for 25 points per game.

Southern Miss must find a way to limit the offensive production of Mavin, shoot the ball well from the floor because the Panthers do not allow many second chance opportunities for points and win the battle on the boards.

If they can winning the rebounding battle and score efficiently, Southern Miss has a strong chance to come away with its second victory in conference play.

Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. in Reed Green Coliseum.