Fox News - Fair & Balanced

Sports


Arkansas State (10-15) at South Alabama (12-10)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 9th, 8:05 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Mitchell Center (10,800) -- Mobile, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: Arkansas State 8-5, South Alabama 7-5. Away Record: Arkansas State 2-10, South Alabama 4-5. Neutral Record: Arkansas State 0-0, South Alabama 1-0. Conference Record: Arkansas State 4-6, South Alabama 4-7. Series Record: Arkansas State leads, 17-16.

GAMES NOTES: The South Alabama Jaguars will play host to the Arkansas State Red Wolves in a Sun Belt Conference bout at the Mitchell Center this evening.

Arkansas State holds a slim lead in the all-time series between these conference foes with a 17-16 record against South Alabama. The Red Wolves pulled ahead in the rivalry with back-to-back wins in the past two seasons.

Playing on the road has been the norm for Arkansas State as of late with the Red Wolves playing four of their last five games, including this one, away from home. The Red Wolves are now 4-6 in Sun Belt action, which puts them in fifth in the West Division. In that stretch they have lost three of four games with all three losses on the road. The road trip continues for Arkansas State in its next matchup when the Red Wolves take on Louisiana.

South Alabama has been at home a bit more often recently but has had no more success than the Red Wolves, as the Jaguars have lost four of their last six, including a 75-66 defeat to Western Kentucky that came on the heels of back- to-back wins. South Alabama is now 4-7 in conference action which is fifth in the East Division. The Jaguars won't be home long as they travel to face ULM in their next outing.

Arkansas State had an out-of-conference matchup with Seattle its last time out. The Red Wolves found themselves on the short end of a 75-69 decision by shooting just 38.9 percent from the floor while allowing the Redhawks to convert 53.6 percent of its field goal attempts. The Red Wolves trailed 46-36 at the half and were unable to turn a second half charge into a victory.

Brandon Peterson was impressive for the Red Wolves on the boards against Seattle pulling down 10 rebounds which is the third straight time he has had double digit rebounds in a game and the seventh time in eight games. The junior forward (9.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg) also scored 10 points in the game. The Red Wolves score just 63.0 points per game and struggle to move the ball, averaging only 9.6 assists per game, which is 11th in the 12 team conference and better than only 10 other squads nationally. Senior forward Malcoln Kirkland (12.0 ppg. 6.2 rpg) is the leading scorer, while junior guard Marcus Hooten (11.4 ppg) adds a double digit scoring from the backcourt.

The score was deadlocked at 35-35 at the half in South Alabama's matchup with Western Kentucky on Saturday but in the second half the Jaguars shot just 40.6 percent from the floor while the Hilltoppers heated up to 56.0 percent to pull away for the victory.

Augustine Rubit continued his stellar season by scoring 20 points and pulling in eight rebounds in the loss. The sophomore forward is currently tied for the league lead in scoring (14.7 ppg) and sits alone as the conference's leading rebounder (9.0 rpg). Rubit leads the team as well with eight double-doubles on the season. Rubit has been a lone bright spot on a team that is averaging just 64.4 points per game while converting just 41.1 percent of its shots from the field. Rubit's efforts have aided South Alabama in rebounding as the Jaguars are the pacing the Sun Belt at 39.8 rpg. Junior guard Freddie Goldstein (10.6 ppg) is the team's second scoring option and has rebounded from a three-game stretch in which he averaged just 4.7 points per game by scoring in double figures in each of the last two contests.

Neither of these squads as a whole are particularly impressive so it will come down to which team has the best individual performer and Rubit is the hands down favorite in that category, giving South Alabama the edge.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Alabama 66, Arkansas State 60

02/09 10:40:36 ET