Miners to Wrap Up Regular Season Slate at Southern Miss
March 5, 2009
The UTEP Miners (18-11, 9-6 C-USA) face the Southern Miss Golden Eagles (14-15, 4-11) in the 2008-09 regular season finale on Saturday at 6 p.m. MST in Hattiesburg. The game will be nationally televised by CBS College Sports.
UTEP is 5-5 on the road this season, including 4-3 in C-USA play. With a win the Miners would have their most road victories and conference road victories since 2004-05, when they were 7-4 on the road and 6-3 in Western Athletic Conference road games.
The Miners are still in the hunt for a top-four seed and opening round bye in next week's C-USA Tournament. UTEP is currently tied for fourth place with Houston (18-10, 9-6). The Cougars will host SMU on Saturday at 6 p.m. MST. A win over Southern Miss will clinch a top-four seed for the Miners, as long as Tulane doesn't finish in sole possession of sixth place. The Green Wave (13-15, 7-8) is currently tied for sixth with Marshall (15-15, 7-8) and plays at Memphis on Saturday.
The Golden Eagles have hit a rough patch, losing nine of their last 10 games. The lone victory during that stretch was a 69-59 triumph over East Carolina on Feb. 17 in Hattiesburg. Southern Miss has been a tough out at home, posting an 8-5 record with wins over Houston, Marshall and East Carolina in league play.
Saturday will be "Senior Night" for two of Southern Miss' top four scorers, guards Courtney Beasley (14.4 ppg) and Craig Craft (10.8 ppg). Junior guard Jeremy Wise averages 16.2 ppg and sophomore guard R.L. Horton averages 12.7 ppg.
The Golden Eagles were dealt their fourth straight loss at SMU on Wednesday, 67-65, despite 26 points from Wise. Southern Miss fell behind by as many as 16 points to the Mustangs in the game.
UTEP owns an 8-4 advantage in the series ledger, but Southern Miss has won three of the last four meetings between the schools in Hattiesburg -- including a 96-70 triumph last season.