WKU meets Southern Miss in CUSA semis
Southern Miss (20-11, 12-7) vs. Western Kentucky (19-13, 12-7)
Conference USA Conference Tourney Semifinals, Ford Center at The Star, Frisco, Texas; Friday, 3 p.m. EDT
BOTTOM LINE: Western Kentucky is set to take on Southern Miss with a spot in the CUSA championship game up for grabs. Western Kentucky won both of the regular season matchups earlier this season. The teams last played on March 3, when the Hilltoppers shot 48.1 percent from the field and went 11 for 23 from 3-point territory on the way to the five-point victory.
SQUAD LEADERS: The dynamic Charles Bassey has averaged 14.8 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks to lead the charge for the Hilltoppers. Complementing Bassey is Taveion Hollingsworth, who is maintaining an average of 14.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. The Golden Eagles have been led by Tyree Griffin, who is averaging 13.9 points, 7.1 assists and 2.1 steals.
FACILITATING THE OFFENSE: Griffin has either made or assisted on 59 percent of all Southern Miss field goals over the last five games. Griffin has accounted for 34 field goals and 46 assists in those games.
THRIVING WITH THREES: Western Kentucky is 7-0 when it makes nine or more 3-pointers and 12-13 when it falls shy of that mark. Southern Miss is 9-0 when it hits at least 10 from long range and 11-11 on the year, otherwise.
LONG-RANGE THREAT: Western Kentucky’s Jared Savage has attempted 209 3-pointers and connected on 36.8 percent of them, and is 9 for 18 over his last three games.
BALL SECURITY: The diligent Southern Miss offense has turned the ball over on 15.4 percent of its possessions, the 18th-best mark in Division I. 19.7 percent of all Western Kentucky possessions have resulted in a turnover (the Hilltoppers are ranked 250th, nationally).