The Southern Miss men’s basketball squad is showing some improvement this season after finishing with disappointing 8 – 21 record in 2015.
Despite a recent 75 – 64 loss against Jackson State, the Golden Eagles have started the 2016 regular season on a higher note than last season.
Through the first six games of the season, the team has won three games against non-conference opponents Tougaloo, Union and Alabama A&M. Compared to last year’s 0 – 6 start, this team is showing that they can close out games and win.
The Golden Eagles have benefited from solid performances from players like senior guard Quinton Campbell and sophomore forwards Eddie Davis and Tim Rowe this season. Campbell leads the team in scoring, averaging 12.8 points per game.
Davis has been efficient as a rebounder, grabbing 48 total rebounds for an average of eight rebounds per game.
Rowe has made significant gains in his second season with the Golden Eagles. Coming off the bench in the first six games as the team’s sixth-man, he is averaging a team leading 12.2 points per game and is second on the team in rebounding, averaging 7.4 rebounds per game.
For all of the improvements the Golden Eagles have made this season, there is still some work that needs to be done.
The team needs to address ball control and limiting turnovers in games. As it stands now, the Golden Eagles are averaging 18.3 turnovers per game.
Defensively, Head Coach Doc Sadler thinks the team needs to improve on defending and getting pressure on the perimeter.
“I think, more than anything, our perimeter-pressure defense has got to get better,” Sadler said after the team’s recent loss to South Alabama on Nov. 30. “If a perimeter offensive guy can get the ball where he wants it to the offensive post guy, then your choice is you’ve got to probably double team the basketball.”
While the Golden Eagles have had some issues on both offense and defense, they have shown they can win games and work as a cohesive unit.
If they can limit turnovers and improve their perimeter defense, this team can improve on the 8-21 record from last year’s team and can make some noise once C-USA play starts.