Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-2) vs. S-M-U (2-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 22nd, 6:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mabee Center (10,575) -- Tulsa, Oklahoma. Television: None. Home Record: UAPB 0-0, SMU 2-0. Away Record: UAPB 0-1, SMU 0-1. Neutral Record: UAPB 1-1, SMU 0-2. Conference Record: UAPB 0-0, SMU 0-0. Series Record: SMU leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: The Golden Lions of Arkansas-Pine Bluff try for their second win in as many days as they clash with the SMU Mustangs in consolation-round action in the 2011 NIT Season Tip-Off at the Mabee Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
After opening 2011-12 with consecutive defeats against Oklahoma State and Oral Roberts, both by significant margins, the Golden Lions picked themselves up and recorded a narrow 58-56 win over FIU during the tournament on Monday. Last season, with UAPB winning a total of just seven games, that first victory didn't arrive until January 10 when the team topped Alabama A&M by a score of 61-53.
As for the Mustangs, the first team in Conference USA to record three defeats on the season, they were squeezed out by Oral Roberts in this same building last night in a 56-52 decision.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Mustangs hold a 3-1 edge over UAPB, although the Golden Lions won the most recent meeting three seasons ago by a score of 64-62 on the road.
A pair of free throws by Kyle Jones with under 20 seconds to play were key for Arkansas-Pine Bluff as the Golden Lions secured the two-point win over the FIU Panthers last night in tournament action. Jones finished the game with just those two points off the bench for the Golden Lions, while Savalace Townsend and Mitchell Anderson both recorded 19 points for UAPB, the latter clearing seven rebounds as well. Daniel Broughton came close to registering a double- double as he tallied nine points and a game-high nine rebounds. The Golden Lions shot 6-of-13 behind the three-point line which helped the squad to overcome 25 turnovers. Townsend has scored in double figures in all three games for UAPB and is now leading the group with his 15.7 ppg, not to mention putting in a full effort at the defensive end of the floor when he is producing close to five steals per contest as well. Unfortunately, the Golden Lions are still struggling to produce points, averaging a meager 49.3 ppg thus far.
The Mustangs were paced by Robert Nyakundi with 16 points, shooting 4-of-7 beyond the arc, followed by London Giles and Jalen Jones with 12 points apiece and Jeremiah Samarrippas 11 points but still the squad had to settle for the loss to host Oral Roberts on the road in Tulsa. A very slow game to start off, SMU held a three-point lead at the 13:48 mark of the first half after ORU had notched just a single field goal, but after that the Golden Eagles began to hit their marks and moved out to a 30-17 advantage at the break and then captured the victory thanks to a 22-10 scoring edge at the free-throw line. One of only three players to have started all five games for the team, Nyakundi paces the group in scoring with his 13.8 ppg, thanks in large part to a 42.9 percent effort behind the three-point line. Jones and Giles check in with 11.2 ppg each, yet this offense is producing a mere 61.4 ppg.
Without much scoring punch, the Golden Lions are destined to lose quite a few games this season, but there's no reason to think UAPB can't give the Mustangs a run for their money today.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: SMU 59, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 55
11/22 10:37:28 ET