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Winthrop (11-17) at Appalachian State (11-15)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 18th, 2:00 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Holmes Center (8,325) -- Boone, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: Winthrop 7-5, ASU 8-5. Away Record: Winthrop 4-9, ASU 3-9. Neutral Record: Winthrop 0-3, ASU 0-1. Conference Record: Winthrop 8-9, ASU 7-9. Series Record: Appalachian State leads, 4-1.

GAME NOTES: Two North Carolina schools will cross conference lines to face off in BracketBuster competition this afternoon, as the Appalachian State Mountaineers play host to the Winthrop Eagles.

Winthrop has a lackluster 11-17 record overall but has found some moderate success in the Big South Conference, sitting alone in fifth place in the standings with an 8-9 mark. The Eagles are losers of three of the last four, with the most recent setback being a 48-45 decision against Presbyterian on Tuesday.

Appalachian State have gone down a similar path, winning 11 of its 26 games thus far, and laying claim to a 7-9 record in the Southern Conference. The Mountaineers have gained a little bit of momentum lately, winning two of their last three, including a 79-70 triumph over Chattanooga on Wednesday.

This bout marks the second time in four years these two will meet in a BracketBusters game. Appalachian State leads the all-time series, 4-1.

Winthrop is stout on defense, giving up just 65.7 ppg, but still the team falls on the negative side in scoring margin by putting up only 63.9 ppg. The Eagles' shooting woes continued against Presbyterian, connecting on just 35.1 percent of their field goal attempts, missing all eight of their long-range tries. Andre Jones paces the team with 16.9 ppg on 45.1 percent shooting from the floor. Reggie Middleton is a solid contributor across the board, tallying 12.2 ppg, 4.4 apg, 4.0 rpg and 1.4 spg. Despite playing some of the best defensive clubs in the Big South, Winthrop in vulnerable to the three-pointer, allowing opponents to drain 37.6 percent of their long-range chances.

Appalachian State has a modest offensive attack (68.1 ppg, .439 FG percentage), but had a solid day shooting against Chattanooga. The Mountaineers connected on 45.8 percent of their total shots in the win, and got a career-high 23 points from Mike Neal, well up from his 7.8 ppg season average. Omar Carter (11.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Jamaal Trice (10.2 ppg) are the Mountaineers' top scoring threats, although neither connects on more than 42 percent of their total shots. Andre Williamson adds 9.8 ppg and a team-leading 6.9 rpg to the mix. ASU's style of play is conducive to giveaways as it ranks last in the SoCon in turnover margin (-2.46).

Neither squad has been world-beaters in their respective conferences this year, but the Mountaineers have been impressive on their home floor and are riding a mini-hot streak, giving them the advantage.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Appalachian State 70, Winthrop 63

02/18 10:44:05 ET