GAME NOTES: The Fighting Owls of Kennesaw State try to bring an end to a seven-game slide this afternoon as they compete in the final round of the Las Vegas Classic against the Islanders of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Orleans Arena.
Since posting back-to-back wins over Chattanooga and Reinhardt last month, the Fighting Owls have fallen back into the loss column each and every time out. On Thursday, the team was taken down by Tennessee Tech, 81-68, although the 68 points represented the most scored by the program in a regulation game during the skid.
As for the Islanders, they too are suffering from a seven-game losing streak at the moment after they were dealt a 61-52 setback by Bethune-Cookman a day ago. Overall, TXAMCC has won just a single game in 10 opportunities this season, taking down Utah State at home in a 58-55 final back on November 22.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, this is the first-ever meeting.
The Fighting Owls were paced by Markeith Cummings who scored a game-high 27 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the floor, but still the squad suffered yet another setback on Thursday afternoon, this time at the hands of the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles. Spencer Dixon connected on 5-of-9 shots behind the three- point line as he finished with 22 points while also handing out six assists. Kennesaw State opened the contest with 54.5 percent shooting from the floor and 6-of-10 behind the three-point line in the first half yet still trailed at the break by a 46-35 margin. Cummings, the leading scorer in four of the last six outings for the program, is responsible for 18.4 ppg, while Dixon checks in with 13.0 ppg. Aaron Anderson, one of two to have started all 11 games for the group this season, has played tough on the inside with his 7.0 ppg and team-best 8.4 rpg but still this is a group that is getting crushed on the glass by a margin of more than 10 rebounds per game.
The Islanders finished their meeting on Thursday with almost as many turnovers (16) as they had made field goals (18) which is just one of the reasons why the team came up short in the game against Bethune-Cookman. Operating with a four-guard lineup, Chris Hawkins-Mast emerged as the leading scorer for the team with his 15 points, adding eight rebounds, but he shot just 4-of-15 from the floor and 1-of-5 behind the three-point line in the outing. James King came off the bench to offer up 10 points as he accounted for two of the unit's four made three-pointers. The team ended up shooting just 34.0 percent from the floor and 12-of-20 at the free-throw line. Free-throw shooting has been a huge issue for the Islanders as they've converted better than 60 percent just three times in 10 games, knocking down a pitiful 57.6 percent at the charity stripe overall. Terence Jones is responsible for 13.2 ppg and Hawkins-Mast another 11.8 ppg, although neither is shooting the ball well from the floor at just 40.4 and 33.0 percent, respectively.
Neither one of these teams is going to explode at the offensive end of the floor so the contest could easily come down to free throws, in which case the Islanders are out of luck based on previous experience this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kennesaw State 66, Texas A&M-CC 61
12/23 11:06:30 ET
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