GAME NOTES: After opening the season with consecutive setbacks, the Southern University Jaguars now try to balance the ledger as they challenge in the Eagles of North Carolina Central as part of the Global Sports Hoops Showcase at Arena-Auditorium.
The Jaguars began the 2012-13 campaign with back-to-back defeats against a couple of high-powered programs in Iowa State and Nebraska, both on the road. Yesterday Southern was again away from home, this time on a neutral floor technically, as it slipped by South Dakota in an 83-79 final.
Meanwhile, the Eagles were also taken down in their season opener over the weekend, bowing to Wichita State on the road. However, on Monday the team provided a boost to their stats for several weeks to come as they crushed visiting Johnson & Wales in a 109-46 final. NCCU was then dealt a blow of reality yesterday when it suffered a 73-60 setback against Wyoming in this event.
Southern leads the all-time series between the teams by a count of 2-0, although those two contests took place back in 1941.
After leading by as many as 14 points in the second half, the Jags were lucky to come away with the four-point win against South Dakota yesterday. The team survived the letdown by hitting on 14-of-17 shots at the free-throw line after intermission. Derick Beltran led five in double figures as he tallied 17 points, thanks to 4-of-8 shooting behind the three-point line, followed by Javan Mitchell and Jameel Grace with 16 points apiece, the former pulling in eight rebounds before fouling out as well. Off the bench, the team also received a lift from Malcolm Miller and Yondarius Johnson who both tallied 11 points, the former filling his stat line with seven rebounds, four assists and four steals. Beltran, responsible for 10 of the team's 19 three-pointers through the first three games, leads in scoring with 20.0 ppg, followed by Mitchell and Grace with 10.7 and 10.0 ppg, respectively.
NC Central erupted with 57.9 percent shooting from the floor in the first half, allowing it to remain within two points of the Cowboys at the break, but in the second half the Eagles knocked down a mere 7-of-26 (.269) from the field, en route to the double-digit loss. Ray Willis tallied a team-high 20 points, shooting 3-of-4 behind the three-point line, while also clearing a team-best eight rebounds and making three steals. Jeremy Ingram came off the bench to record 11 points and six boards, but between him and Willis they also accounted for eight of the unit's 13 turnovers as well. After three games, Willis heads a list of three double-digit scorers for NCCU, delivering 15.3 ppg as he shoots 53.1 percent from the field and 5-of-11 on the perimeter. Ingram (14.3 ppg) and Stanton Kidd (13.0 ppg) also combine with Willis to generate close to 15 rpg which would be half of the unit's production.
This game has the potential to get a bit wild from an offensive standpoint so almost anything goes if the teams decide to dial up the tempo. But because Southern has been less than stellar at the defensive end, this might be a game for the Eagles to win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: NC Central 78, Southern University 71
11/15 10:33:31 ET
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