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December 4, 2011

Eagles host New Mexico State in Hoops today

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss men's basketball team will play just its second home game of the year after returning from a five game road trip when it hosts New Mexico State on Sunday, December 3. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. CT.

The first 100 students to come to the game will receive a free Golden Eagle Pride t-shirt.

This will be the second time that the two teams will meet in the last eight days, as Southern Miss defeated New Mexico State, 80-72, in the Semifinals of the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout. It is also the fifth meeting in their history, with NMSU holding a 3-2 series lead. Four of the games have been played on a neutral court. This is the first meeting between the two schools in Hattiesburg.

Southern Miss enters Sunday afternoon's contest with a 4-2 record. The Golden Eagles are coming off a 90-81, double overtime defeat to Murray State in the Championship of the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout.

Angelo Johnson led the Golden Eagles with a career-high 29 points on 10-of-21 shooting. LaShay Page scored 16 points and Neil Watson and Jonathan Mills had 12 apiece. Mills also added a team-high eight rebounds.

Page leads the Black and Gold with 17.0 points, good for fourth in Conference USA. He leads the league in three-pointers made (3.2) and is eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.388).

Johnson is second on the team with 12.7 points and Bolden is adding 11.8 points and a team-leading 7.2 rebounds.

As a team, Southern Miss is scoring 74.3 points and allowing just 64.5. The Golden Eagles are hitting 42.5-percent of its shots and 37.8% of its three-pointers, which is second in Conference USA. Their opposition is connecting on 42.7% from the field and 40.3-percent from behind the arc. The Golden Eagles hold a big advantage on the boards, as they are outrebounding their opponents 38.3-to-28.7, a difference of 9.7 per game. The Golden Eagles are also leading the league in free throw percentage (.790) despite attempting just 19.8 free throws a game.

Head coach Larry Eustachy is in his eighth season at the helm of the Southern Miss men's basketball program. He has compiled a 121-106 (.533) record during his time as head coach. In 21 years, Eustachy has an overall record of 381-251 (.603).

New Mexico State comes into Sunday's game with a 5-2 record. The Aggies began the year winning their first four games, but have dropped two of their last three after falling 83-76 to Arizona last Tuesday.

NMSU was led by senior forward Wendell McKines' fourth double-double of the season, scoring a career-high 28 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Christian Kabongo scored 15 points and senior center Hamidu Rahman added a season-high 13 points and eight rebounds.

The Aggies are led by McKines with 18.6 points and 9.6 rebounds, which rank second and first in the Western Athletic Conference, respectively. Kabongo is second in the league, scoring 15.4 points and is connecting on 86.9% of his free throws, which is third in the WAC. Junior forward Bandja Sy is scoring 10.3 points and is fifth in the WAC in field goal percentage, connecting on 53.7% of his shots. Senior guard Hernst Laroche is adding 10.0 points and 4.4 assists, which is tied for third in the league.

As a team, New Mexico is scoring a league-high 78.1 points per game while allowing 64.0. NMSU is shooting 42.4-percent from the floor, but the opposition is connecting on 43.6-percent. The Aggies are also pulling down 39.7 rebounds and allowing just 32.1, both of which are second in the conference.

Head coach Marvin Menzies is in his fifth season leading the New Mexico State men's basketball program. He holds an 81-60 (.574) record at New Mexico State.



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