South Alabama (16-10) at F-I-U (7-20)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 25th, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: U.S. Century Bank Arena (5,000) -- Miami, Florida. Television: None. Home Record: USA 9-5, FIU 1-9. Away Record: USA 6-5, FIU 5-9. Neutral Record: USA 1-0, FIU 1-2. Conference Record: USA 8-7, FIU 4-11. Series Record: South Alabama leads 16-10.
GAME NOTES: Sun Belt Conference foes South Alabama and FIU meet in the regular season finale tonight, as the Jaguars pay a visit to the Golden Panthers at U.S. Century Bank Arena in Miami.
South Alabama has put together a solid season overall at 16-10, and it is second in the Sun Belt Conference's East Division with an 8-7 league ledger. The Jaguars have been especially solid lately, winning four in a row and six of their last seven, including a 79-76 overtime verdict against Florida Atlantic on Thursday.
FIU has not been as fortunate this year, winning just seven games -- second- fewest in the league. It has a 4-11 mark in the SBC's East Division, tying it with Troy for last-place. Miami has been anything but a comforting place for the Golden Panthers to play as they have tallied only one win in 10 tries at U.S. Century Bank Arena this season. They have lost a season-high five straight games, the latest being a 75-70 overtime setback to Troy on Thursday.
With regard to the all-time series between these two teams, South Alabama holds a 16-10 advantage, though FIU has won two of the last three meetings, including a 65-62 decision in Mobile on January 19.
South Alabama trailed by five points at the break, but came back to take a two-point lead in the final minute before a pair of Florida Atlantic free throws with 19 second left in regulation forced overtime. The extra frame belonged to the Jaguars as they led throughout and held on for the win. Mychal Ammons scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds for USA, while Augustine Rubit recorded his conference-leading 10th double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 boards. Rubit is one of the most impressive forwards in the Sun Belt this season, ranking third in scoring (14.5 ppg) and first in rebounding (9.2 rpg) while shooting 48 percent from the floor. Freddie Goldstein adds 11.3 ppg and ranks second in the conference in three- pointers (63), but he has been known to be very streaky, shooting just 37 percent from the floor. South Alabama gives up just as many points as it scores (66.3 ppg), which ranks the team sixth in the SBC in both categories.
A Jeremy Allen layup with less than 30 seconds remaining forged a 67-67 tie and an overtime period in Thursday's game, but FIU could not hold on against Troy as it suffered its fifth straight loss. The Golden Panthers outshot the Trojans (49.1 percent to 41 percent), but they were hurt by 19 turnovers. Allen paced the squad with 22 points while Phil Taylor added 20 points and DeJuan Wright tallied a double-double consisting of 13 points and 10 rebounds. The trio of Wright (15.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg), Taylor (14.2 ppg, 3.1 apg) and Allen (13.9 ppg, 2.7 spg) has been an impressive one all season, but it hasn't translated into success in the win column for the Golden Panthers as they don't have much support behind them. The eight other players to log minutes in Thursday's loss combined for just 15 points. Overall, FIU has the second-worst offense in the Sun Belt, netting just 62.7 ppg.
This season has proven that home court is anything but an advantage for FIU and with these teams trending in opposite directions, South Alabama should have no problem toppling the Golden Panthers tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Alabama 69, FIU 62
02/25 10:44:10 ET