The Southern Miss men’s basketball team started the season with a 111-66 win over Southeastern Baptist. Several key factors were put on display that give a glimpse of how the team will perform through the season.
- Edwards, Griffin and Magee will be consistent again
The top three scorers, Cortez Edwards, Tyree Griffin and Dominic Magee look to be picking up right where they left off. Magee was tied with a team-high of 15 points on the night while also having four rebounds. Griffin had 12 points with seven assists and five rebounds and Edwards had eight points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, which was just short of the school’s first triple-double since 1980. Magee came off the bench and was an immediate impact. Griffin made impressive passes and remained explosive throughout the night, throwing up the first dunk of the season.
- Southern Miss finally has depth with big men
Freshman Tyler Stevenson had a great debut, posting 15 points and pulling in seven rebounds. He proved to be the offensive asset that the team has missed in previous seasons. Redshirt junior Boban Jacdonmi, who got the start but only played 12 minutes, hauled in five rebounds and scored four points. Notably, redshirt junior Tim Rowe missed the game, but hopefully, the team will feature and rotate three solid big men come conference play.
“It makes life easier when you have to rebound and stuff,” Edwards said. “I still have Tim, but it makes life easier when you have to bang with those big guys all night so it helps with not getting injured and stuff like that. “
- The bench will be a much deadlier factor this season
Although Southern Miss played a meager opponent, 12 members scored points in the contest, with 68 points coming off the bench. Southern Miss looks to have multiple dependable assets on the bench compared to last season. Redshirt junior Leonard Harper-Baker scored eight points and eight rebounds, and freshman Ladarius Marshall, nine points and five rebounds were crucial game changers. Anfernee Hampton put up 14 points and Stevenson also came off the bench with his performance.
“I think [Tyler Stevenson] and Ladarius are both going to be really really good players,” Head Coach Doc Sadler said. “We finally got some numbers in there and the energy that Tyler and Ladarius came off the bench with was really really positive. They can both impact it a little bit different. I think Ladarius can impact it more on the defensive end more so than the offensive end. And Tyler is just the opposite I think he can impact it more on the offensive end more so than the defensive end.”
- The defense had some miscues against Southeastern Baptist
As great as putting 100-plus points in a game is, the defense had multiple missed assignments that allowed Southeastern Baptist to score easy buckets. Despite giving up 40 points in the second half, Southern Miss forced 14 turnovers and scored 13 points off them. In addition, the Golden Eagles outrebounded Southeastern Baptist 39-26.
“Defensively, I was disappointed in our defense,” Sadler said. “We can’t beat a good team defending like we did. We let the ball get into the lane, I think 36-of-38 times and if you get above the mid-20s against good basketball teams it’s going to be hard to win so that’s something we have to get corrected.”
Southern Miss will travel to Dallas, Texas to play Southern Methodist on Sunday at 2 p.m.