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Wednesday, December 21, 2011
3-point shot: Southern Miss gets help

By Andy Katz

1. Southern Miss coach Larry Eustachy boasted that he has his best team yet with the 9-2 Golden Eagles. It’s still hard to project if that is true. But adding Kentucky transfer guard Darnell Dodson in the past week will certainly help, especially when Dodson goes for 17 points while Angelo Johnson went 1 for 12 in a punch-marred (Torye Pelham and ASU’s Ruslan Pateev were ejected for fighting) last-second win for the Eagles at Arizona State. Dodson hit the winning 3-pointer in the final possession. Eustachy said there was no way he could have predicted Dodson would be that productive since had practiced just two days in the last 10 months. “It was unbelievable,’’ Eustachy said.

2. LSU (8-3) is not a fluke. The Tigers were the better team in Baton Rouge, at least for one night, against potential Big East champion Marquette. “They are a very good defensive team and they have four quality big guys and if their guards are making shots they can beat a lot of teams,’’ said Marquette associate head coach Tony Benford. “They are very physical and they do a great job on the offensive glass.’’ Remember, Trent Johnson didn’t have the same talent after his first year in Baton Rouge. He didn’t forget how to coach at LSU after being a success at Nevada and Stanford. LSU’s next big challenge is hosting Virginia on Jan. 2.

3. The decision by Miami to let DeQuan Jones play should help clear former Miami coach and current Missouri coach Frank Haith of any knowledge of wrongdoing. Haith has denied knowing about any alleged payments to a Jones rep by former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro -- allegations that were published in a Yahoo! Sports report. Jones was initially held out by the school during the NCAA and Miami investigation as a result of the report. Jones being cleared to play doesn’t mean the investigation is over since the football and basketball cases are being folded into one. But if Jones is cleared to play without any fear that Miami would have to forfeit games, that could mean the case could be soft against him. No one at Missouri has been worried that there is any reason to believe Haith will suffer a penalty based on the investigation, according to a source.