GAME NOTES: First round of the Great Alaska Shootout will resume this evening when the Houston Baptist Huskies collide with the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sullivan Arena.
The victor of this battle will move into the semifinal round to take on either Weber State or host Alaska-Anchorage.
The Huskies roll into the 33rd installment of this tournament in search of their first victory this season. Houston Baptist opened the season with back- to-back road losses to Oklahoma State (86-73) and Northwestern State (87-78), before returning home. However, home cooking did not help the Huskies jump into the win column, as they were defeated by UT-Arlington, 74-65.
As for the Sun Devils, they opened the season with a 76-62 loss to New Mexico on the road. However, the team was able to recover in its home-opener, as the Sun Devils narrowly defeated UAB, 69-66. After the Shootout the Sun Devils will remain on the road to face Baylor, before returning home to host Richmond.
Arizona State claimed a victory in its only meeting with Houston Baptist.
The Huskies suffered their third loss on the season mainly because the team was ice cold offensively. HBU shot only 25 percent in the first half against UT-Arlington, but because of an 18-of-20 showing from the foul line, the team went into the break with a lead. However, that did not last long, and eventually the poor shooting by the Huskies left the team winless on the year. HBU shot just 30.0 percent from the field in the contest, and that included a poor, 3-of-18 clip from long range. Andrew Gonzalez, who is leading the team with an impressive 25.0 ppg, paced the team in the loss, netting 27 points. Gonzalez connected on 6-of-15 attempts from the field, and drained all 14 of his shots from the charity stripe. Terry Bembry added 15 points and nine rebounds in the loss, and is now posting 10.3 ppg, to go along with a team- best 9.3 rpg.
The Sun Devils put forth a much better showing in their second contest of the season, ad they were able to slip past UAB. The biggest reason for the victory was ASU's ability to force mistakes, as the Sun Devils forced the Blazers into 16 turnovers, while committing just eight themselves. Arizona State shot a respectable 45.9 percent from the field, and was led by Trent Lockett's 19- point effort. Lockett, who is leading the team with 20.5 ppg, also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out five assists. Ty Abbott added 15 points in the win, while Kyle Cain tallied 14 points off the bench. Abbott and Cain have given the Sun Devils some much needed scoring, as they come into this tournament producing 11.5 and 11.0 ppg, respectively.
The Sun Devils will have to do something about Gonzalez, who has been on fire to start the year, but if ASU is able to contain the high-scoring guard, than the Sun Devils should have no trouble moving forward in this tournament.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona State 77, Houston Baptist 65
11/25 10:29:22 ET
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