Stephen F. Austin (3-2) at (25) Texas A&M (5-1)
Saturday, December 3rd, 8:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Frank Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reed Arena (12,989) -- College Station, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: SFA 2-0, Texas A&M 4-0. Away Record: SFA 1-2, Texas A&M 0-0. Neutral Record: SFA 0-0, Texas A&M 1-1. Conference Record: SFA 0-0, Texas A&M 0-0. Series Record: Texas A&M leads, 17-3.
GAME NOTES: The 25th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies will try to run their current win streak to four games when they entertain the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin tonight at Reed Arena in College Station.
Stephen F. Austin opened the season at 1-2, but has bounced back to win its last two games, including an unbelievable defensive effort against UTEP that resulted in the Miners scoring their fewest points (35) in the 35-year history of the Don Haskins Center. In actuality, the Lumberjacks have played exceptional defense pretty much all season, yielding just 55.2 ppg despite the opposition hitting nearly 40 percent (.391) of its three-point attempts. Their last game took place at home on Wednesday night against little known Wiley College, and resulted in a 72-66 triumph.
Texas A&M has won each of its four home games thus far en route to a 5-1 overall record. The Aggies too have played outstanding defense, limiting the opposition to 55.0 ppg, and they are coming off a 56-44 win over Alcorn State. It was the second straight game in which A&M held the enemy below 45 points. The Aggies have won 64 straight non-conference games at Reed Arena, and 77 consecutive regular-season non-conference home games.
Texas A&M owns a commanding 17-3 lead in the all-time series with Stephen F. Austin, and the Aggies have won the last 13 meetings.
It's a good thing the Lumberjacks play well at the defensive end, because their effort on offense doesn't result in many big scoring outbursts. In fact, the team is averaging just 64.8 ppg despite shooting a decent 45.6 percent from the floor. Antonio Bostic and Jereal Scott are the only two players netting double figures on a consistent basis, checking in with 14.0 and 12.8 ppg, respectively. SFA enjoys favorable margins in both rebounding (+7.4) and turnovers (+5.0). In the recent win over Wiley College, Kevin Broussard came off the bench to score a game-high 23 points, while Scott poured in 18 and Jonathan King netted a dozen. The Lumberjacks knocked down 8-of-16 three-point attempts and claimed a 41-28 rebounding advantage, two keys to the victory. Against UTEP, SFA got a combined 35 points from Bostic and Scott, and the Miners were held to 13 total field goals on 31 percent shooting from the floor.
Texas A&M is averaging 65.7 ppg and boasts three double-digit scorers, the top man being Ray Turner with his 14.5 ppg. A 64.4 percent shooter, Turner grabs 6.5 rpg as well, matching the effort of key bench player Kourtney Roberson (6.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg). Elston Turner (11.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg) and David Loubeau (10.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg) have produced for coach Billy Kennedy's club as well, and the team as a whole is hitting its field goals 48.1 percent of the time, but its three-pointers at only 26.8 percent. A +8.5 rebounding margin has played an integral role in the team's early success, but with nearly 16 turnovers per outing, the Aggies need to take better care of the ball. Turner and Loubeau scored 16 and 14 points, respectively, to lead the Aggies to their recent win over Alcorn State. The team made good on only 40.3 percent of its total shots, missing all 17 of its three-point tries along the way. A 49-32 edge on the glass certainly helped matters, as did the fact that the Braves shot just 32.7 percent from the floor.
On paper, these two teams match up fairly well. That said, the Aggies are clearly the better team and while the Lumberjacks are sure to put up a fight, they simply lack the overall talent and depth needed to pull off the upset.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas A&M 69, Stephen F. Austin 54
12/03 10:32:24 ET