USM basketball teams to get back on right track

USM basketball teams to get back on right track

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi men's basketball team is hoping home will get them back to its winning ways.

On the other hand, the Lady Eagles are banking on a second foray into Texas being as successful as their first was two weeks.

The Golden Eagles (5-12, 2-3 Conference USA) will host the University of North Texas (6-1, 0-5) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Green Coliseum, while the USM women (11-6, 3-2) take on UNT's Lady Eagles (5-11, 2-3) at 7 p.m. Thursday at The Super Pit in Denton, Texas.

The Golden Eagles saw a two-game win streak snapped after dropping a pair of road contests at Old Dominion University and University of Charlotte last week.

"It was a one-possession game at ODU, and really, Saturday, we played OK, we just couldn't make any shots," USM coach Doc Sadler said. "Typical road, but we've just got to get tougher and get some confidence about winning on the road."

USM showed plenty of confidence at home two weeks ago, sweeping visiting University of Texas-San Antonio and University of Texas-El Paso at Green Coliseum.

On Thursday, the Golden Eagles face a North Texas team that like USM has trouble scoring. The Eagles rank in the conference at 67.2 points per game, while USM is last at 61.4 points per game.

And while UNT has struggled out of the gate, Sadler said the Eagles are as talented as team in the league.

"They are the most talented team in the league," Sadler said. "They have a couple of transfers who played in the (high school) McDonald's (All-Star) game. One started at Texas A&M, another started at SMU. They're the type of team that can run off 10 straight (wins), so we're going to have to do a great job in transition defense, because they do like to score quick and early."

UNT is led by Jeremy Combs, who averages 10.8 points and 6.5 rebounds a game, and is among the conference's best shooters, hitting 57.6 percent from the floor.

Forward Quinton Campbell, who averaged 22 points in USM's home wins two weeks ago, leads the Golden Eagles in scoring (10.8 points per game) and rebounding (5.5 rebounds per game). Guards Cortez Edwards and Khari Price average 9.5 points per game, though Price has been limited in practice after banging up a hand.

The Lady Eagles have won three of their last four games after splitting a pair in Hattiesburg last week. USM topped high-scoring Old Dominion Thursday before fading down the stretch to Charlotte on Saturday.

"Going on the road is never an easy task," USM coach Joye Lee-said. "But we lost one at home, so now we need to go steal one on the road."

Like their male counterparts, UNT's women's team has been bolstered by a number of transfers.

"A very talented team, but they've been up and down this year and I believe it's because they have so many new players," Lee-McNelis said. "They've been trying to find that right chemistry, but make no mistake, they are a very, very talented team."

USM is led by senior guard Brittanny Dinkins, who was named C-USA Co-Player of the Week after averaging 27.5 points, 8 steals, 6 assists and 4.5 rebounds a game against ODU and Charlotte.

On the season, Dinkins is fourth in the conference in scoring (17.8 points a game), while averaging 4.2 assists and 4 steals a game.

Terriell Bradley leads UNT scorers at 12.8 points a game, while Terra Ellison is among the league leaders at 5.8 rebounds a game.

USM ranks fourth in scoring at 70.5 points per game, while UNT is 13th at 59.7 points per game.

Both USM teams will take on Rice University Saturday, with the men hosting the Owls and the women travelling to Houston.

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