Improving offense key to Southern Miss game


    After two consecutive conference losses, the men’s basketball team looks to bounce back against Southern Mississippi tonight.

    Head coach Neil Dougherty said the team needs to improve on both sides of the ball if it hopes to avoid a three-game losing streak in Conference USA.

    “One thing we need to do is improve on offense,” Dougherty said. “Along with that, we need to continue to perform better and better on defense with each game.”

    The players know the importance of each game the rest of the way, and junior guard Marcus Shropshire said they are focused on improving their record (6-10, 2-3 C-USA).

    “Each game we play is important,” Shropshire said. “Especially if it is a conference game. We work hard to prepare for each and every game.”

    Senior guard Nucleus Smith said no one is taking the game against Southern Miss (9-6, 2-2 C-USA) lightly, despite a home date with Memphis Saturday afternoon.

    “Southern Miss is a hard team to play,” Smith said. “We know we are going to have to play hard in this next game if we want to win.”

    During the week off, Smith said the players have been focusing on the aspects of their game that need improvement.

    “We’ve been shooting a low percentage of free throws lately,” said Smith, who is second on the team in free-throw percentage at 83 percent. “The offense has been struggling and needs to improve how it’s doing overall.”

    Despite improvements that need to be made, junior guard Corey Santee said he sees no reason for anything to lower the spirits of the team.

    “Coming off two losses hasn’t lowered our confidence any,” Santee said. “We just need to go into the game with our heads focused.”

    Dougherty said focus will be a key to success against Southern Miss and that his players have to start playing up to their potential as a unit.

    “What we need are for players to step up,” Dougherty said. “Our numbers have been low, but we’ve still had the chance to come back and win. The defense is successfully keeping their points low, but we need to make our offense more effective to give us that edge.”

    TCU will go up against Southern Miss at 7:05 p.m. tonight at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.