GAME NOTES: In their first bout of the new year, the Southern Miss Golden Eagles clash with the Drexel Dragons in non-conference action at Reed Green Coliseum.
The Dragons are also playing in their first contest of 2014, with their most recent outing resulting in a 55-52 loss at home to Buffalo last Sunday. Drexel is 8-4 overall, including a 3-2 mark on the road. Up next for the Dragons is a matchup with William & Mary, to get their Colonial Athletic Association schedule under way.
Southern Miss has won three straight games entering this duel, with a 77-64 triumph over Rhode Island last Saturday being the most recent result. The Golden Eagles are an impressive 12-2 overall, with five wins coming in as many chances at home. They also get going in league play next with a Conference USA clash against North Texas.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between Drexel and Southern Miss.
Drexel could not find much success on offense in its loss to Buffalo. The Dragons connected on only 32.8 percent of their shots from the floor, including a miserable 1-of-14 showing from beyond the arc. Tavon Allen (14 points) and Chris Fouch (13) were the top scorers, but combined to hit just 12-of-36 attempts from the field.
Posting big numbers at the offensive end has not come easily for Drexel, which is scoring just 69.3 ppg and hitting 41.7 percent from the floor. The Dragons have been able to keep themselves competitive by limiting the opposition to 66.2 ppg and 41.3 percent shooting. Fouch (17.1 ppg) is the most productive scorer, but he is netting just 39.1 percent of his total shots. Frantz Massenat (15.2 ppg, 4.6 apg) and Tavon Allen (12.4 ppg) are also scoring in double figures but like Fouch, neither drops in more than 40 percent of their field goal attempts.
Despite being outscored, 24-6, from beyond the arc against Rhode Island, Southern Miss put together a better all-around effort to claim the victory. The Golden Eagles shot at a 51 percent clip and earned a 37-22 advantage on the boards.
Southern Miss is scoring a bit better than Drexel (73.6 ppg) but does so with much more efficiency, leading C-USA in field goal percentage (.479). The Golden Eagles also play well defensively, keeping foes to 63.1 ppg and 42.6 percent shooting. Neil Watson (12.1 ppg, 3.9 apg) is one of only two double- digit scorers for the Golden Eagles, with Daveon Boardingham (10.7 ppg) the other. However, Michael Craig (9.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg), Aaron Brown (9.7 ppg) and Jerrold Brooks (9.2 ppg) help provide some balance to the attack. All three scored in double figures against Rhode Island, with Craig posting a double- double consisting of 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Stopping Southern Miss at home has proven to be a difficult task this season. Drexel may be solid defensively, but it doesn't have the offensive firepower to get past the Golden Eagles.
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