Troy (7-12) at South Alabama (10-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, January 29th, 6:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mitchell Center (10,000) -- Mobile, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: Troy 5-4, USA 5-5. Away Record: Troy 2-8, USA 4-4. Neutral Record: Troy 0-0, USA 1-0. Conference Record: Troy 2-6, USA 2-6. Series Record: South Alabama leads, 11-6.
GAME NOTES: Two struggling squads try to climb their way out of the cellar in the Sun Belt Conference standings, as the South Alabama Jaguars welcome the Troy Trojans to the Mitchell Center in Mobile.
After a three-game win streak brought Troy to 4-3 early in the year, it has since lost nine of its last 12. The Trojans' latest defeat came at the hands of Middle Tennessee on Thursday, 71-58, and they bring a dismal 2-8 road record into this evening's clash.
Despite its impressive 8-3 non-conference record, South Alabama has won just two of its eight Sun Belt bouts. The Jaguars are currently losers of three straight, the most recent of which being a 75-50 setback to Arkansas-Little Rock on Thursday -- their second straight loss of at least 20 points.
South Alabama leads the all-time series with Troy, 11-6, and the Trojans had won three of the previous four meetings before the Jaguars won on January 14, 75-60, behind a career-high 30 points from Freddie Goldstein.
Troy has the second-most prolific scoring attack in the Sun Belt, putting up 71.5 ppg, but the team was stymied in Thursday's loss to Middle Tennessee, scoring fewer than 60 points for just the fourth time this season. The Trojans made good on 46 percent of their field goal attempts, but went just 5-of-18 from beyond the arc and turned the ball over 19 times. Will Weathers paced the squad by connecting on 9-of-15 shots from the floor for 22 points, marking his fourth 20-point output of the year. Weathers is the Trojans' leading scorer on the season, netting 11.6 ppg while also dishing out a conference-best 6.3 apg. Justin Wright has tallied 10.8 ppg in mostly a reserve role, but has recently been elevated to the starting lineup thanks to improved play -- he is averaging 15.5 ppg in the last two games. Troy has drained the most three- pointers in the conference (182) at a 34.9 percent clip, and is led in the long-range shooting department by R.J. Scott and Alan Jones, each of whom drains 2.2 treys per contest. Troy has been hampered by shoddy defense, as foes are putting up 75.5 ppg on 47.1 percent field goal efficiency, both of which are the worst figures in the league.
South Alabama has been average at best this season, ranking seventh in the Sun Belt in scoring offense (64.1 ppg) and sixth in scoring defense (65.6 ppg), but both aspects have been underachieving lately. UALR hit 48.1 percent of its field goal attempts and 45.5 percent of its three-pointers in Thursday's game, while the Jaguars hit just 40 percent of their total shots and committed 19 turnovers. Augustine Rubit was the only USA player to tally double digits, going for 22 points while grabbing seven rebounds. Rubit has been one of the most consistent player in the conference this season, ranking third in scoring (14.5 ppg) and first in rebounding (8.4 rpg), all while shooting 46.7 percent from the field and 72.2 percent from the foul line. Goldstein chips in with 10.6 ppg and connects on 2.3 three-pointers per outing, but he has been prone to streakiness. After his 30-point outburst in the last meeting with Troy, the guard has scored a total of 17 points in the three games since.
It's hard to show any confidence with either team at this point in the season, but with South Alabama owning home court advantage and the most talented player in Rubit, the Jaguars should be able to slip by.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Alabama 74, Troy 70
01/29 10:37:41 ET