Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-9) vs. Jacksonville State (4-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 28th, 11:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Don Haskins Center (12,000) -- El Paso, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: UAPB 0-0, JSU 3-1. Away Record: UAPB 0-7, JSU 0-5. Neutral Record: UAPB 1-2, JSU 1-2. Conference Record: UAPB 0-0, JSU 0-1. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The first-ever meeting between the Jacksonville State Gamecocks and the Golden Lions of Arkansas-Pine Bluff takes place tonight in Texas, as the two squads clash as part of the Sun Bowl Invitational at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso.
The Lions, who have just a 58-56 win over Florida International from a date in Tulsa last month as something to celebrate, are on the road yet again this week and are not scheduled to play their first home game of the season until they entertain Southern University on January 14. Most recently, the team was blown away by the Cincinnati Bearcats a week ago by a final of 101-53, stretching their losing streak to eight in a row.
As for the Gamecocks, they already began their Ohio Valley Conference slate 11 days ago when Eastern Kentucky delivered a 59-53 win over the squad at home. Two days later, JSU registered its fourth win of the season with an 81-75 triumph versus Reinhardt College. In an interesting note, JSU head coach James Green used to have UAPB head coach George Ivory on his staff when the two worked at Mississippi Valley State together between 2006-08.
The winner of this game will take on the survivor of the Colorado State/UTEP battle in the title game of this event, while the losers square off in the consolation round.
Against Cincinnati, the Golden Lions made a total of 19 field goals and turned the ball over a staggering 29 times. Nevertheless, the visitors did place three players in double figures as Mitchell Anderson and Daniel Broughton both tallied 12 points, although the latter also turned the ball over five times before fouling out. Savalace Townsend tacked on 10 points but he too was guilty of five miscues. The only player on the roster scoring in double figures at the moment, Townsend is responsible for a whopping 18.0 ppg as he shoots 42.6 percent from the floor and also plays more than 37 minutes per contest. However, he is also guilty of close to four turnovers per contest which explains why this group is turning the ball over almost 19 times per game.
At home in Pete Mathews Coliseum, Nick Cook recorded the first double-double of his career nine days ago when he delivered a career-high 18 points and collected 10 rebounds in JSU's win over Reinhardt. Brian Williams matched the scoring output of Cook as the duo combined to shoot 14-of-23 from the floor in order to get the job done. Ronnie Boggs was responsible for another 11 points and handed out three assists for the hosts as they survived 16 turnovers and a mere 4-of-13 shooting effort behind the three-point line. Williams is one of two players on the roster scoring in double figures with his 12.1 ppg, although his 37.5 percent shooting from the floor is less than optimum. The other is Tarvin Gaines (12.0 ppg) but in his case he is listed as questionable right now due to a concussion and without one of their top three-point threats the Gamecocks could be vulnerable tonight.
Even if Jacksonville State doesn't operate at peak efficiency, a lot would have to go wrong in order for a one-win team to be able to take down the Gamecocks tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Jacksonville St. 68, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 59
12/28 11:07:06 ET