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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 19, 10:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Thomas & Mack Center (19,522) -- Las Vegas, Nevada. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: ASU 3-0, UNLV 2-1. Away Record: ASU 0-0, UNLV 0-0. Neutral Record: ASU 0-0, UNLV 0-0. Conference Record: ASU 0-0, UNLV 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 2-2.
GAMES NOTES: The Arizona State Sun Devils will hit the road for the first time this season when they take on the UNLV Runnin' Rebels in non-conference play at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The first three games of the year have all ended in victories for the Sun Devils, who took care of Idaho State, 88-60, at home in their most recent outing on Friday night. That victory followed up two more blowout triumphs against UMBC (96-61) and Miami-Ohio (90-54). A year ago the Sun Devils managed only four wins in 11 true road contests. Arizona State won't be on the road long as the team returns to Tempe to host Bradley and Marquette in their next matchups.
This contest is the fourth of a six-game homestand to start the year for UNLV. The Runnin' Rebels are 2-1 mark entering play on Tuesday. UNLV dispatched Portland State (67-48) in the opener, lost to UC Santa Barbara (86-65) and then snuck by Nebraska Omaha (73-70). UNLV had 17 wins in 19 tries on its home floor last season. The Runnin' Rebels will close out the homestand with matchups against Illinois and Tennessee-Martin next week.
Each of these teams has two victories in the all-time series, although UNLV has won the last two with a 96-91 victory in 2002 and an 89-78 win during the 2005 season.
Jordan Bachynski flirted with a triple-double in the Sun Devils' win over Idaho State as he had 10 points to match 10 rebounds and six blocked shots. His defensive presence helped Arizona State hold the Bengals to just 37.5 percent shooting in the 28-point victory.
Bachynski (12.7 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 4.3 bpg) is an absolute force on the inside with his ability to score, rebound and protect the rim. The Sun Devils still get the majority of their offensive production from the backcourt with skilled guards Jahii Carson and Jermaine Marshall. Carson (18.7 ppg, 5.0 apg) is the most polished scorer as well as an adept distributor. Marshall (18.0 ppg) has filled the basket as well, netting 53.1 percent of his shots from the field. Jonathan Gilling (7.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg) and Shaquielle McKissic (6.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg) fill out the starting lineup, while Chance Murray (7.0 ppg) is the top reserve. As a team the Sun Devils are posting terrific numbers in points scored (91.3 ppg), assists (20 apg) and field-goal percentage (.509).
Roscoe Smith posted 17 points and 22 rebounds and Khem Birch (nine points, 10 rebounds, eight blocks) came close to a triple-double, as the Runnin' Rebels outlasted Omaha. Thanks to the pair in the frontcourt the Rebels had a 55-43 advantage on the boards which helped them overcome 21 turnovers.
Smith and Birch have been an effective duo early on for the Rebels with each player averaging a double-double over the first three games. Smith (13.0 ppg, 14.7 rpg) is the more dominant scorer and rebounder, while Birch (10.0 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 14 blocks) does a better job of making his presence felt on the defensive end. Kevin Olekaibe (13.3 ppg) is the leading scorer on the roster, though he has started in just two of the first three games. Olekaibe is the team's only real threat from beyond the arc, where he has hit 11-of-25 attempts. Bryce Dejean-Jones (13.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg) has been a solid contributor across the board and is coming off a game-high 19 points in the win over Omaha. As a team, UNLV is scoring 68.3 points per game, shooting at a meager 41.2 percent from the field.
This is a real test of just how good Arizona State is. Bachynski has the ability to hang with Smith and Birch but he'll need help from Gilling and McKissic. Meanwhile, the Rebels will have trouble dealing with Carson's All- American talent.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona State 86, UNLV 79
11/19 10:55:17 ET
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