Southern Miss

Southern Miss basketball will hit the road with one of its key players on suspension

The Southern Miss men’s basketball team will start an important two-game road trip Thursday night at Charlotte without one of its top players.

Senior guard Dominic Magee is under an indefinite suspension and is not with the team at the moment, a USM spokesman confirmed to the Sun Herald on Tuesday.

Magee missed the first three games of conference play due to an injury before playing five scoreless minutes in a 77-70 victory over over Middle Tennessee on Jan. 10. USM head coach Doc Sadler held Magee out of Saturday’s 73-68 victory over UAB in Hattiesburg.

The 6-foot-4 Magee is averaging 8.8 points and 3.7 rebounds this season for the Golden Eagles.

USM has won its last two games with Magee mostly being sidelined, but the Harvey, Louisiana, native can be an impact player when he’s healthy and motivated.

Southern Miss did not play well in the first two games of conference play, losing 71-56 at Louisiana Tech and 73-65 at Rice. USM showed new signs of life in a 65-62 loss at North Texas (16-2, 4-1) in the final game of a difficult six-game road swing.

The Golden Eagles (10-7, 2-3) can reach .500 in league play with a win at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Charlotte, which is 4-11 overall and 1-3 in conference play.

USM will then travel to take on Old Dominion in Norfolk, Virginia. ODU stands at 12-5 overall and 2-2 in C-USA and holds the league’s most impressive non-conference victory — a 68-62 win at Syracuse on Dec. 15.

In Magee’s absence, sophomore guard LaDavius Draine has proven himself as a consistent scorer. He has hit double digits in scoring in each of the last five games, averaging 14.8 points during that stretch.

In Saturday’s win over UAB, Draine hit five of eight 3-pointers and tied his career high of 19 points. Draine, who is averaging 10.1 points a game, has hit 47.8 percent of his 3-pointers to serve as the Eagles’ best outside shooter.

UTSA (10-7, 4-0) has won seven consecutive games and currently sits atop C-USA. Marshall (10-6, 3-0) is a half game behind the Roadrunners in the standings.

Patrick Magee is a sports writer who has covered South Mississippi for much of the last two decades. From Southern Miss to high schools, he stays on top of it all.