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USM to open C-USA play after 16-day hiatus

Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 11:07 PM CST
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - No coach wants his team to be off for 16 days straight – regardless of the sport.

That’s the challenge in front of Southern Miss men’s basketball coach Jay Ladner as he prepares the Golden Eagles for Conference USA play.

USM (4-8) was supposed to open C-USA play on Dec. 30 against Western Kentucky University but were forced to postpone its first two conference games due to COVID protocols within the Golden Eagles’ program.

Thursday’s visit to UTSA now serves as the Eagles’ C-USA opener – their first time on the court since Dec. 21.

One advantage to the extra time off is the chance to study more film.

“I think when we stick to our identity, stick to the offense we’re trying to run and do things like that instead of trying to create something that’s not there,” said USM freshman guard Rashad Bolden. “Just stay true to who we are and that’s where all our turnovers will cut down at. The majority of our turnovers happen when we try to force something when it’s not there.

“It’s really – it’s fixable things. It’s not something that can’t be fixed.”

It’s clear to Ladner where USM needs to improve most.

“We have turned the basketball over just entirely too much and we’ve turned it over at the wrong time and the type of turnovers,” Ladner said. “Two things I noticed in evaluating our films were when the other team that would make a defensive mistake and we’ve got the basketball on offense, we wouldn’t make them pay. Before we can beat other people, we’ve got to quit beating ourselves.”

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