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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 23, 2:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mitchell Center (10,041) -- Mobile, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: Wright State 2-0, USA 2-1. Away Record: Wright State 0-2, USA 0-1. Neutral Record: Wright State 1-0, USA 0-0. Conference Record: Wright State 0-0, USA 0-0. Series Record: Wright State leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: The Wright State Raiders and the South Alabama Jaguars do battle on Saturday afternoon as part of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic at the Mitchell Center.
After starting the season at 2-2, Wright State managed to push above the .500 mark in the opening round of this event on Friday by claiming a 75-59 victory over Houston Baptist. The Raiders weren't at their sharpest in the early going, as they faced a two-point deficit early in the second half, but they quickly surged ahead with a 20-5 run and never looked back. It was an efficient shooting effort overall (.523), from 3-point range (.545) as well as the charity stripe (.821), and the team was also able to earn extra possessions by forcing 22 turnovers. Steven Davis led the charge with an outstanding bench effort (17 points), while Miles Dixon (16 points), Reggie Arceneaux (15 points) and Kendall Griffin (10 points) were also impressive.
South Alabama, the host squad for this region, has alternated wins and losses in the early part of the season on its way to a 2-2 record, with its latest effort ending in a 66-59 defeat to Southern Miss in the opening round on Friday night. The Jaguars appeared to be in great shape to secure the victory, as they held a 13-point lead with less than 10 minutes to play, but they went cold from the field late and were outscored down the stretch, 26-6. Despite a modest field goal shooting night (18-of-42), they were ultimately done in by a poor showing from the foul line (16-of-25) and a game-high 15 turnovers. Augustine Rubit did all he could to lift the home team to victory, scoring 17 points on 5-of-9 from the floor. Antoine Allen (14 points) was the only other player to score in double figures, but he also committed five turnovers.
Wright State has defeated South Alabama in two of the three previous meetings between the two clubs.
The Raiders' first five games have been rather successful in terms of their offensive production, as they net 76.4 points per game on 50 percent field goal shooting. Where they really stand out, however, is on defense, as they limit foes to 62.0 points per game while forcing an outstanding 20.6 turnovers per contest. The balanced effort sees nine players average at least 5.8 points per game without anyone topping Miles Dixon's 10.8 points per tilt. JT Yoho (10.2 ppg) is the team's biggest threat from 3-point range, as he's made 10- of-25 from long distance.
Meanwhile, South Alabama too has been impressive at both the offensive (71.5 ppg) and defensive (65.2 ppg) ends of the court, although it has been pretty well-matched with its opposition on the glass (-0.5 rebounds margin) and in the takeaway battle (-0.7 turnover margin). Rubit, the Preseason Sun Belt Player of the Year, has gotten off to a strong start to the season with 15.0 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, posting modest percentages from the field (.408) and the foul line (.545). Mychal Ammons (9.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg) is also a mainstay in the frontcourt, while Allen (12.3 ppg) is the top option out on the perimeter and has been outstanding from beyond the arc (13-of-20).
Wright State's perimeter defense has been excellent, but it will need to step up its play in the low-post with a forward-heavy South Alabama squad. The Jaguars haven't yet played up to their potential, but expect them to continue their alternating win-loss trend in this one with a strong effort on their home floor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Alabama 73, Wright State 69
11/23 10:35:26 ET
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