Arkansas State (7-5) at South Alabama (6-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 29, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mitchell Center (10,000) -- Mobile, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: ASU 5-1, USA 3-1. Away Record: ASU 2-4, USA 3-2. Neutral Record: ASU 0-0, USA 0-2. Conference Record: ASU 1-2, USA 3-0. Series Record: Tied, 17-17.
GAME NOTES: The Arkansas State Red Wolves step into the Mitchell Center to tangle with the South Alabama Jaguars for a Sun Belt Conference tussle.
Arkansas State was in action Thursday night, posting an 87-70 win over Louisiana in its SBC home opener. The victory also snapped a two-game slide for the Red Wolves. Following this tilt, they'll return to Jonesboro for a three-game homestand.
Meanwhile, South Alabama has rebounded from a two-game slide by winning each of its last two contests. The Jaguars have been idle since last Saturday's 77-62 win over Arkansas-Little Rock, which improved their SBC record to a perfect 3-0. Tonight's contest is the last of three straight home games for the Jags.
The all-time series between these two teams is deadlocked at 17-17.
ASU's Ed Townsel poured in a career-high 31 points in the win over Louisiana earlier this week. He scored 14 first-half points in helping the Red Wolves build an early 14-point lead eight minutes into the game. The Red Wolves put the game away by outscoring ULL 29-11 in the first nine minutes and change of the second stanza. Raeford Worsham chipped in with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Marcus Hooten also reached double figures with 11 points off the bench. On the season, Townsel paces the squad with 16.8 points per game and is shooting at a very efficient 41.7-percent clip from beyond the arc (35- of-84). Brandon Peterson takes care of business down low, averaging a double- double with 10.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per tilt.
The matchup in the paint between Peterson and South Alabama's Augustine Rubit will be one to keep an eye on, as it pits the conference's top two rebounders against one another. Rubit leads the Jaguars with 18.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per tilt. He is also an 81.2-percent free-throw shooter, which has forced opponents to play him honestly rather than fouling and sending him to the charity stripe. Opponents also must keep tabs on Rubit's frontcourt mate Mychal Ammons (12.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg). In the backcourt, the Jags have a sharpshooter of their own in Xavier Robinson, a 44-percent shooter from the perimeter (31-of-70) who averages 13.6 ppg. USA forced 21 turnovers in the win over Arkansas-Little Rock, as Rubit led the way with 19 points and 10 boards.
The Jaguars look like a force to be reckoned with in the SBC this season. But to cement that status, they'll need to take care of formidable foes such as Arkansas State at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Alabama 70, Arkansas State 67
12/29 10:35:37 ET