Troy (11-17) at Arkansas State (17-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (10,563) -- Jonesboro, Arkansas. Television: None. Home Record: Troy 8-5, ASU 12-2. Away Record: Troy 2-11, ASU 5-7. Neutral Record: Troy 1-1, ASU 0-0. Conference Record: Troy 6-11, ASU 11-6. Series Record: Arkansas State leads, 5-4.
GAME NOTES: The Arkansas State Red Wolves attempt to keep their hot streak going on Saturday night, as they entertain the Troy Trojans in Sun Belt Conference action.
Troy has been one of the Sun Belt's most futile teams all season long, as it sits with an 11-17 record overall and a 6-11 mark in conference. The Trojans have lost back-to-back games to North Texas (63-61), and most recently at Louisiana on Thursday night (76-66), and head coach Don Maestri will try once again to record his 500th career win.
Arkansas State is currently riding a three-game win streak following a dominating 87-54 triumph at ULM last Saturday, as it improved to 17-9 on the season. At 11-6 in the league, the Red Wolves are two games up on Arkansas- Little Rock in the SBC West Division with just three games to play.
Troy took down ASU in the first meeting this season, winning 74-67 in overtime on Jan. 24, but the Red Wolves still hold a 5-4 advantage in the all-time series.
Troy found itself trailing Louisiana by double-digits early in the second half, and although it climbed back to tie the game with just over five minutes to play, it would never overtake the Cajuns and was eventually saddled with the 10-point defeat. The Trojans shot a modest 42.1 percent from the field and were paced by a career-high 20 points from Deonata Jethroe, who shot 8-of-12 from the field, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Ray Chambers netted 15 points in a reserve role, and Hunter Williams added 14 points in the setback. It's been a rough season offensively for the Trojans, who rank 10th in the league in both scoring offense (62.4 ppg) and scoring margin (-11.6), and last in field goal percentage (.402). Their lackluster shooting attack is paced by Emil Jones (11.5 ppg) and Williams (10.6 ppg), who have combined for 178 assists compared to just 97 turnovers.
It was total domination from start to finish in ASU's 33-point win over ULM last week, as it shot 60 percent from the field, 87.5 percent from the foul line and goaded the Warhawks into 17 turnovers. Trey Finn was on fire from 3- point range, draining 5-of-6 from beyond the arc for 19 points. Brandon Peterson did not miss from the field (3-of-3) nor the foul line (5-of-5) in his double-double performance of 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Kendrick Washington and Cameron Golden poured in 14 and 12 points, respectively. On the season, the Red Wolves join first-place Middle Tennessee as the only team in the Sun Belt to rank in the top-five in both scoring offense (70.2 ppg) and scoring defense (66.1 ppg), and they also boast the league's top-ranked turnover margin (+3.8). Ed Townsel scores a team-best 13.8 ppg, but he's shooting less than 39 percent from the field and has been relegated to a reserve role recently. Peterson is one of the most imposing forwards in the conference with 10.7 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 1.2 bpg and 1.1 spg, while Finn brings 10.3 ppg to the table.
Troy is surely anxious to try and notch Maestri's 500th win before the season is out, but on the road against one of the league's hottest and most well- rounded squads, don't expect it to come in this matchup.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas State 71, Troy 60
02/23 10:43:35 ET