Saturday, February 27, 2010

Memphis Tigers vs. Southern Miss (7 pm, FEF)

Posted By on Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 8:00 AM

• The hardwood version of the Black-and-Blue Game is the longest continuous series the Tigers have played to date. Memphis and Southern Miss have met a total of 82 times (the Tigers hold a 29-23 lead) and every season since the 1982-83 campaign. The Tigers have won the last 13 contests, including a 59-57 win in Hattiesburg on January 9th.

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• Tonight’s game will be the Tigers’ third C-USA rematch of the season. (They’ve split with SMU and Houston.) The game in early January was the league opener for Memphis. Elliot Williams hit 11 of 19 shots (including three three-pointers) to lead the Tigers with 33 points, a career high for the sophomore. No other Tiger reached double figures in the scoring column. The U of M almost wasted a 15-point halftime lead, shooting only two for 14 in the second half, but held on to win. The Golden Eagles only shot 39 percent from the field and were led by Maurice Bolden with 13 points.

• Southern Miss won eight of its first nine games, but has since gone 8-10 (6-7 in league play). They have two road wins against C-USA rivals: Houston and Tulane. The Golden Eagles are led in scoring by junior forward Gary Flowers (14.8 ppg) and sophomore guard Angelo Johnson (10.0). Flowers is pulling down 7.9 rebounds per game. Southern Miss leads C-USA in scoring defense, allowing just 59.4 points per game. In their last outing, the Golden Eagles suffered a narrow loss to C-USA front-runner UTEP, 59-56.

• Elliot Williams has been held under 10 points only twice this season: January 13th against East Carolina (a Tiger win) and last Wednesday at Houston (a Tiger loss). After scoring only 8 against the Pirates, Williams came back with 32 points at Rice.

• Tonight’s affair will be the penultimate home game for Tiger seniors Willie Kemp and Doneal Mack. Senior Day will be against Tulsa on March 6th. Unlike the first three seasons of their career, the C-USA tournament will be played in Tulsa (March 10-13). There remains a chance for an early-round NIT game to be held at FedExForum.

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