By From wire, school reports
TULSA, Okla. – A new head coach has taken the Southern Miss men’s basketball team into new territory.
Dwayne Davis scored 27 points and Jonathan Mills had a double-double to lead the second-seeded Golden Eagles to an 85-67 victory over UTEP on Friday in a Conference USA semifinal.
Southern Miss (25-8) has reached the C-USA championship game for the first time. Today’s opponent will be a familiar one – No. 20 Memphis, the defending league champions, who have beaten the Golden Eagles twice this season.
Today’s tipoff, with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament at stake, is set for 10:30 a.m.
“They can beat you inside, they can beat you outside, they have guys that can beat you off the dribble, in my opinion they are a team that has a chance to be in the NCAA Final Four,” first-year Southern Miss coach Donnie Tyndall said.
“We are probably going to have to play the best that we have played all year long to win a conference title and get that automatic berth.”
Memphis, which leaves C-USA for the Big East at the end of the season, won 89-76 in Hattiesburg and 89-73 at home.
The top-seeded Tigers (29-4) beat host Tulsa 85-74 on Friday night.
Against UTEP, Southern Miss senior guard Davis was 9 of 13 from the field and Mills had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“We have accomplished a great deal this year and a large part of that is because these two guys,” Tyndall said of Davis and Mills.
The Golden Eagles never trailed and led 48-31 at halftime.