Jan. 11, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane Green Wave hits the road for the first league road game this season and will attempt to gain its first conference win in 2008 when it makes its shortest trek of the year in conference play to Hattiesburg, Miss., to battle Southern Miss this Saturday at Reed Green Coliseum at 4 p.m.
Both teams came up short at home in their league openers this past week. USM (8-7, 0-1 C-USA) dropped a 52-41 decision to UCF last Tuesday, while TU (10-5, 0-1 C-USA) fell in the final seconds to UAB, 62-61, which snapped a four-game win streak.
Despite its loss to UAB last Wednesday, Tulane has won seven out of its last nine games, but has a sub .500 record of 1-2 in road games this season. The Green Wave won its first road outing of the year at Charleston Southern (66-60), but dropped its last two contests at Buffalo (51-65) and Syracuse (60-73).
For the year, Tulane is averaging 69.1 points and 35.4 rebounds per game and is shooting 45.6 percent from the field, 34.6 percent from behind the three-point line and 74.2 percent from the free-throw line. David Gomez is one of three Green Wave players scoring in double figures with 13.5 points per game, while Kevin Sims and Robinson Louisme are second and third with 12.3 and 10.7 points per outing, respectively. Gomez is also the team's top rebounder with 6.0 boards per game, while Sims leads the squad in assists and steals with 4.2 and 1.7 per contest, respectively.
Southern Miss (8-7, 0-1 C-USA) was picked to finish in fourth place in the conference race according to the league's coaches in the C-USA preseason poll. However, Southern Miss enters Saturday's contest with Tulane mired in a four-game skid, and hasn't won a home game since a 82-68 victory over Alabama State on Dec. 15.
Despite the drought of two straight home losses, the Golden Eagles are 5-2 overall at home this season after opening the year with five straight home wins. During its four-game losing streak, USM has averaged just 53 points per contest, which is 21 points shy of its season average, while surrendering 63.4 points to its opponents.
USM is averaging 74.1 points and 41.4 rebounds per game, and is shooting 45.3 percent from the field, including 33.7 percent from behind the three-point line, and 66.1 percent from the foul line. Jeremy Wise, the 2007 Conference USA Newcomer and Freshman of the Year, leads three Golden Eagles in double figures scoring with 18.5 points, which ranks fifth among C-USA players. R.L. Horton and Courtney Beasley round out USM's double top with 13 and 10.3 points per contest, respectively. Beasley is also the team's top rebounder with 5.5 boards per outing.
Saturday's game marks the 65th all-time meeting between Tulane and Southern Miss, and the Green Wave leads the series, 39-25. TU has won the last three outings against USM, including a season sweep last season.
Tulane has faced Southern Miss more times than any other C-USA opponent. TU and USM will meet for the 65th and 66th time this season in their annual home-and-home series, which began in 1948. Both Tulane and Southern Miss have shared membership in two conferences during their rivalry, including the Metro Conference (USM joined in 1982-83 to 1994-95) and currently in Conference USA (1995-96 to present).
The Green Wave and the Golden Eagles have two common opponents this season- New Orleans and Alabama State. USM recorded a 2-0 mark, while Tulane was 1-1, losing to cross-town rival UNO. Former Southern Miss standout Roy Danforth starred as a Golden Eagle from 1958-62 before becoming the head coach at Syracuse and leading the Orange to national prominence from 1968 to 1975. He left Syracuse to coach the Green Wave from 1976 to 1981, and eventually became the Tulane athletic director.