Georgia Southern (2-2) at Old Dominion (3-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 23, 3 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ted Constant Convocation Center (8,472) -- Norfolk, Virginia. Television: none. Home Record: GSU 2-0, ODU 3-1. Away Record: GSU 0-2, ODU 0-0. Neutral Record: GSU 0-0, ODU 0-0. Conference Record: GSU 0-0, ODU 0-0. Series Record: Old Dominion leads, 13-4.
GAME NOTES: Having played all their games at home thus far, Old Dominion gets back to the court again at the Ted Constant Convocation Center this afternoon for a non-conference matchup against Georgia Southern.
The game is the second installment of the Cancun Challenge. ODU's opener in the tournament came on Thursday night in a 69-51 win over Presbyterian. Keenan Palmore had a career-best 24 points and seven rebounds to pace the Monarchs. Richard Ross notched 14 points, Aaron Bacote 13 and Dimitri Batten scored 11. The Monarchs shot a sizzling 55.6 percent from the floor in the first half.
ODU will need more of the same today before the Monarchs travel to Cancun for the next leg of the tournament against West Virginia on Tuesday. They'll play either Wisconsin or Saint Louis the next day.
There's no doubt the Monarchs got some advance scouting on the Mountaineers, and also today's opponent, the Eagles, from Georgia Southern's 101-68 loss to West Virginia on Thursday. Tre Bussey scored 21 points to pace Georgia Southern. Jelani Hewitt contributed 15 points and five assists, and Angel Matias collected 11 rebounds. The Eagles turned the ball over 17 times, which led to 28 points for WVU. Additionally, GSU shot just 39.1 percent and allowed the Mountaineers to hit at better than 56 percent.
The Eagles will need a much better start today than they had Thursday night when they fell behind, 13-0. The offense for the Eagles runs through Bussey and Hewitt, as both average 22.5 points per game. The next-highest scorer is Brian Holmes at 8.0 ppg. Hewitt was only 1-of-10 from 3-point range on Thursday, dropping his percentage to 30.6 from beyond the arc for the season. Senior Marvin Baynham, who will play in his 100th game today for the Eagles and hasn't missed a game in his career, will have to be a big contributor. He had only five points and six boards at WVU.
ODU's first-year coach, Jeff Jones, has the luxury of four players averaging double figures in scoring, led by Bacote (20.5 ppg). Ross (12.5), Batten (11.5) and Palmore (10.8) are also among a starting lineup that powers a team averaging 70.8 points. The Monarchs are giving up just 61.8 per contest and are limiting teams to 37.9 percent shooting from the field. Bacote has amazingly hit 10-of-18 from 3-point range this season. The problem for the Monarch has been at the foul line, where they are hitting only 53.7 percent of their attempts.
The Monarchs lead the all-time series, 13-4, but the schools haven't met since the 1979-80 season. The last time Georgia Southern beat ODU was Jan. 7, 1978. If the Monarchs can limit either Bussey or Hewitt, they should come out victorious before leaving for Cancun.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Old Dominion 72, Georgia Southern 65
11/23 10:33:34 ET