HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WLOX) - Last season, it took the Southern Miss men’s basketball team 10 tries to reach the three-win mark. In 2020, the Golden Eagles grabbed their third victory in nearly half the time after consecutive wins prior to Christmas.
They will return to the floor on Monday against Loyola-New Orleans, and will look to be above .500 entering the new calendar year for just the second time since the 2013-14 season.
Offensively, it’s been slow thus far - Southern Miss is last in Conference-USA in points per game. But defense has been the name of the game, as the Golden Eagles have allowed just over 60 points per contest, and are led in steals by former Pearl River star Tae Hardy.
So while the report card at this point has some mixed reviews, the progression arrow is facing upward.
“As a team, we’re definitely more confident. More sound defensively, more talking,” senior guard LaDavius Draine said. “We learned what we can do on offense, helps out on defense. Now we have the momentum, and we’re starting to put it all together.”
“Defensively, I think it’s carrying us right now. Our defense right now, I would give us a B,” head coach Jay Ladner said. “I think our special teams would be a solid C, and I think we’re a D on offense. That’s because of execution. You’re beginning to see some guys do some things and grow. I think I’d give us a B, C, and D in those categories, and the D rests on my behalf.”