South Alabama (6-10) at Arkansas State (9-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 11, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (10,475) -- Jonesboro, Arkansas. Television: SunBelt Network. Home Record: South Alabama 6-3, Arkansas State 4-2. Away Record: South Alabama 0-5, Arkansas State 5-3. Neutral Record: South Alabama 0-2, Arkansas State 0-0. Conference Record: South Alabama 0-3, Arkansas State 2-1. Series Record: Arkansas State leads, 19-17.
GAME NOTES: South Alabama travels to Arkansas State on Saturday looking for its first Sun Belt Conference win of the season.
South Alabama looked poised to get in the win column on Thursday against Arkansas-Little Rock but ultimately fell, 65-60, after going ice cold in the second half. The Jaguars jumped out to a 40-31 halftime lead behind seven 3- pointers, but made just 19.4 percent of their shots after the break. Arkansas- Little Rock wound up winning the second half, 34-20, and making enough free throws down the stretch to send South Alabama to a fifth straight loss.
Augustine Rubit logged a double-double on 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Jaguars, while Antoine Allen added 13 points in the setback, which dropped the Jaguars to 0-5 in true road tests. Rubit has been a monster inside with seven double-doubles on the season, while averaging 16.8 points and 10.0 boards per game. His 49 double-doubles in his career ranks first among active Division I players.
Allen ranks second on the team in scoring at 10.3 ppg, while Mychal Ammons is nearly cracking double figures at 9.9 ppg. As a team though, the Jaguars are making just 39.3 percent of their shots, while opponents on connecting on 42.0 percent from the floor.
Arkansas State has a quick turnaround as well and is coming off a Thursday loss, falling to Troy, 98-84, at home. It was the most points given up by Arkansas State this season, negating terrific efforts from Kirk Van Slyke, Brandon Reed and Melvin Johnson III. Van Slyke poured in 27 points, Reed added 23 points and Johnson 17, as that trio is averaging double digits for the season. Val Slyke leads the team in scoring (17.0) and in blocks (23).
The Red Wolves, who had won four in a row coming in, allowed Troy to make 14 3-pointers and shoot 55.2 percent from the floor. It was a stark contrast to what Arkansas State had done on the defensive end coming into the game, as teams were making just 31.9 percent from behind the arc.
Arkansas State swept the season series from South Alabama last year, and since the Red Wolves are averaging nearly 11 more points per game (78.4-67.7), they should take the first meeting this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas State 80, South Alabama 66
01/11 10:35:55 ET