South Dakota (9-15) at IUPUI (6-21)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 15, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: IUPUI Gymnasium (1,215) -- Indianapolis, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: USD 8-3, IUPUI 5-8. Away Record: USD 1-11, IUPUI 1-11. Neutral Record: USD 0-1, IUPUI 0-2. Conference Record: USD 3-6, IUPUI 1-9. Series Record: South Dakota leads, 4-1.
GAME NOTES: A pair of struggling Summit League squads are set for a Saturday afternoon bout at IUPUI Gymnasium, as the IUPUI Jaguars play host to the South Dakota Coyotes.
South Dakota has fallen fast in recent weeks with losses in six of its last seven games to dip to 9-15 overall and just 3-6 in league play. The Coyotes are a mere 1-11 on the road following their Thursday-night defeat at the hands of IUPU-Fort Wayne, 75-69.
Although IUPUI sits alone in last place in the Summit League at 1-9, it is fresh off a 59-49 triumph at home versus Denver on Thursday night to snap a nine-game losing streak. The Jaguars are still just 6-21 overall this season, but most of their success has come on their home floor (5-8).
In the first matchup this season, South Dakota downed IUPUI at home on Jan. 16, 69-57, to improve its standing in the all-time series to 4-1.
The Coyotes managed to erase a 14-point second-half deficit and led their most recent game by four with 11:21 remaining after piecing together a 25-7 run, but they promptly lost control of the contest again after IPFW went on a 16-3 spurt of its own. They shot a solid 47.3 percent from the floor on the evening, compared to just 37.9 percent for IPFW, but they were outscored at the foul line, 24-12, and lost both the rebounding (41-32) and turnover (13-8) battles. Karim Rowson paced the losing effort with 15 points, Trevor Gruis posted 14 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks, while Trey Norris and Tyler Flack netted 13 and 10 points, respectively.
On the season, South Dakota outshoots its opponents from the field, 44.7 percent to 43.2 percent, but still has a -1.0 scoring margin, as its 3-point percentage defense (.387) has been less than stellar. Gruis leads the squad from the paint with 12.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 1.4 bpg while shooting 56.5 percent from the field. Brandon Bos is the only other player to net in double figures with 12.0 ppg, although his field-goal efficiency (.381) has been lacking. Norris (8.3 ppg) hands out greater than four assists per contest.
The Jaguars built up a five-point lead at the half earlier in the week versus Denver and held on to that advantage for the rest of the matchup as their prolonged losing streak finally came to a close. On top of allowing Denver to shoot just 18-of-45 from the floor (.400), the Jags made good on greater than 54 percent of their field goal tries. Mitch Patton paced the squad with 14 points to go with three blocks. Marcellus Barksdale scored 13 points and had eight assists compared to zero turnovers, while Khufu Najee and Elijah Ray poured in 12 points apiece.
IUPUI was able to buck the trend in its latest contest, as it typically shoots just 43.8 percent from the field for 67.3 ppg, while allowing 73.3 ppg on 45.6 percent shooting while living in the red in terms of its rebounding (-3.4) and turnover (-0.5) margins. With Ian Chiles (15.9 ppg) having missed the last six games with an injury, the team has needed to rely on Patton (12.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg), Najee (10.2 ppg) and Barksdale (8.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 3.7 apg) for larger contributions.
Although South Dakota may be the more talented club in this matchup, IUPUI brings with it more momentum and the homecourt advantage, which should be enough to knock off the sliding Coyotes.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: IUPUI 66, South Dakota 64
02/15 10:40:53 ET