Southern Miss has been playing very good basketball lately, especially on the defensive end. The match-up zone has created major problems for opponents, and has neutralized the lack of height for the Eagles.
That hard work continued today at practice, and according to Jerrold Brooks, everyone is really starting to sell out as they continue to gain confidence.
"Defense was the name of the game for us today at practice," he said. "We worked on transition defense and we went over their sets on offense."
Brooks knows the keys to the hot start for Southern Miss in conference play has been their work together as a team.
"We have been focused on everyone helping out someone else," he said. "There are a lot of ways we are winning games right now. Our defense has led to some easy buckets on the other end, and that is what drives everything we do. We want to be a lock down defensive team."
Brooks said the goal of the team is to have the other team shoot under 30%. It all starts with the front of that zone, where Brooks can be seen applying tenacious defense on the ball.
"I take great pride in my defense," he said. "It makes it easier on everyone else if I can get that pressure at the top. I try to put as much pressure as I can so we can make the other team have to struggle for everything.
"Someone will be open in the zone, so I try to make sure they can't find that man."
Southern Miss has played in some tough venues this season, and Brooks said his team is ready for the challenge of road conference games.
"We have to be patient, and tough," he said. "We have to move the ball, work together, and make sure we get good shots every time down.
"Everything is falling into place right now. We are a family right now, everything is clicking. You won't find any selfish players on this team, and that is what has kept us strong. Everybody is loving it on the defensive end, and it is really paying off."
It certainly showed in the second half against Houston.
"That was probably the best defensive stretch I've ever been a part of," he added. "We just had everything locked down."
They expect a tough challenge ahead in the Mustangs tomorrow night, a team coached by a legend, Larry Brown.
"They put a lot of pressure and have good defense too," Brooks pointed out. "They have the number one or two defense in Conference USA. We have to attack the rim and find the open man. It is going to be a challenge but one we are ready for."
The Eagles tip off tomorrow night at 7:00 in Dallas.