Hampton (10-3) vs. Colorado State (10-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 1st, 4:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: War Memorial Gymnasium (4,800) -- San Francisco, California. Television: None. Home Record: Hampton 3-1, CSU 4-1. Away Record: Hampton 3-2, CSU 2-1. Neutral Record: Hampton 4-0, CSU 4-1. Conference Record: Hampton 1-0, CSU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Hilltop Challenge in San Francisco completes it's final day of action as the Colorado State Rams and the Hampton Pirates clash at War Memorial Gym this afternoon.
Since losing back-to-back games against Big 12 Conference foes Colorado and Kansas in early December, the Rams have rebounded and put together a solid six-game win streak. On Thursday, the team posted its most lopsided decision of 2010-11 with a 94-50 thumping of Dominican University in the second round of this event.
As for the Pirates, they too are sporting a 10-3 overall record at the moment and have been especially strong in neutral-site meetings with four wins in as many tries. Hampton also took down Dominican on Wednesday (78-65) to run it's win streak to three in a row, but a day later the team took a tumble against host San Francisco in a 69-57 final.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, this is the first-ever meeting.
After putting together such a great effort against Dominican University in the first round of this event, Darrion Pellum was expected to have a similar impact for the Pirates against the Dons, but he finished with a mere 2-of-12 shooting effort in the loss to USF two nights ago. Kwame Morgan delivered a team-best 17 points on 4-of-9 shooting behind the three-point line, while Brandon Tunnell tacked on 12 points for a team that shot only 38.6 percent from the field and an awful 6-of-15 at the free-throw line. Pellum, who is shooting a woeful 36.2 percent from the floor after 12 appearances, remains the team's leading scorer with 18.3 ppg, but considering how many shots he needs to get off just to keep up the pace he has set for himself that's not always a good idea. Charles Funches and Morgan are both coming up with 12.5 ppg, the former also clearing 8.6 rpg, yet Hampton is being handled on the glass more often than not by the opposition.
The Colorado State defense was all over the Penguins of Dominican University in the most recent portion of this tourney, holding the opposition to just 29.1 percent shooting from the floor and 4-of-19 behind the three-point line, not to mention forcing the Penguins into 23 turnover as well. With such a dominating performance the Rams were able to clear their bench and get the reserves some quality playing time, resulting in Will Bell coming up with a team-best 17 points to go along with six rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots in only 20 minutes. No one else on the team was able to hit for double figures, but it really didn't matter given the lopsided outcome. Getting back to the day-to-day action for the Rams, Andy Ogide (15.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and Travis Franklin (15.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg) continue to be the focus of the offense as both shoot at least 60 percent from the field right now. Unfortunately, the knock on Ogide is that, in addition to having more than three times as many turnovers (33) as he does assists (10), is that he is shooting only 54.1 percent at the free-throw line through 13 games.
With a rested starting five, expect to see the Rams attack Hampton at both ends of the floor and continue their strong play into the new year.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Colorado State 78, Hampton 62
01/01 10:31:59 ET