McNeese State (1-3) vs. Stillman (1-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 19, 5:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Coleman Coliseum (15,383) -- Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: McNeese 1-0, Stillman 0-0. Away Record: McNeese 0-2, Stillman 1-2. Neutral Record: McNeese 0-1, Stillman 0-1. Conference Record: McNeese 0-0, Stillman 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: After both squads lost their opening-round matchups on Monday, the McNeese State Cowboys and the Stillman College Tigers will do battle in an NIT Season Tip-Off consolation matchup at Coleman Coliseum on Tuesday.
McNeese State has had a rough go of it in the first couple of weeks of this new season, sitting at 1-3. After dropping difficult road matchups at Michigan State (98-56) and Louisiana (92-66), the Cowboys put a tally in the win column in their home opener versus Louisiana College (92-83) before falling to Georgia State in the opening round of this event on Monday, 96-70.
It was a poor effort at both ends of the floor for McNeese State, which was outshot from the field by GSU, 55.6 percent to 38.2 percent, and lost the rebounding battle, 43-29. Ledrick Eackles paced the team with 17 points, but he did so on just 5-of-15 shooting from the field. Keelan Garrett showed some life off the bench with 14 points, and Kevin Hardy nearly had a triple-double with nine points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
Stillman -- a Division II program located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference -- is also off to a 1-3 start after falling to local foe Alabama in the opening round, 102-65. The Tigers were thoroughly overmatched in the setback, as they shot less than 36 percent from the field (including 13-of-41 from 3-point range), committed 22 turnovers, and were outmuscled on the boards, 43-33. Daniel Bryant led the way with 17 points, but he needed 18 field goal attempts to hit that number. Stanley Magee chipped in 12 points and six rebounds, while Justin Harris tallied 10 points off the bench.
McNeese State and Stillman are meeting for the first time in this contest.
Through four games, the Cowboys are being outscored by an average of 21.3 points and they have connected on less than 37 percent of their field goal attempts. Eackles is off to an ice-cold start from the floor (.259), but he still generates enough volume to lead the team in scoring at 15.5 points per game. Adrian Fields nets 11.5 points per game, while Hardy (10.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.3 spg, 1.3 bpg) has been the team's best all-around performer.
Stillman's lackluster performance on Monday night caused a dip in its offensive numbers, as it scores 73.0 points per game while shooting just 38.3 percent from the floor. The Tigers have not been bashful from 3-point range, although they haven't been particularly successful (41-of-132, .311). Harris is the team's leading scorer (12.5 ppg) not counting Bryant (17.0 ppg), who made his season debut against Alabama. Jeffrey Wherry scores 10.0 points per game but his awful field goal percentage (11-of-48, .229) has been a detriment to the team.
Neither club was impressive in the opening round, so both will be out to end their tournament stay with a positive showing. Even though Stillman is playing in its home town, expect the more talented Cowboys to take this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: McNeese State 79, Stillman College 66
11/19 10:55:07 ET