Southern Utah (1-3) at Portland (4-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 1, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Chiles Center (4,852) -- Portland, Oregon.
Television: None. Home Record: S. Utah 1-1, Portland 4-1. Away Record: S. Utah
0-2, Portland 0-2. Neutral Record: S. Utah 0-0, Portland 0-0. Conference
Record: S. Utah 0-0, Portland 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: The Southern Utah Thunderbirds will try to stop a losing streak on
Sunday when they take on the Portland Pilots at the Chiles Center in non-
The Thunderbirds have had more than a week to prepare for this contest after
falling to UC Riverside, 74-59, last Saturday. The loss was the third straight
for the T-Birds, who are in the midst of a long road swing to finish out the
calendar year. Including this matchup, the team plays six of its next seven
away from home.
Portland is closing out a quick two-game homestand on Sunday. The first half
of the stint ended with an 86-69 victory over San Jose State on Wednesday
night. The win was the third in four games for the Pilots, who have climbed
above the .500 mark yet again.
These two teams played a home-and-home series during the 1996 and 1997
campaigns for the only two matchups in history. The host squad came away
victorious in each contest, with Southern Utah's 76-73 triumph being the most
Southern Utah hung around in the first half, but then crumbled over the final
20 minutes against UC Riverside. The Thunderbirds were only able to connect on
31.6 percent of their field goal attempts in the second half, as they finished
with a mere six field goals in the period.
There has been a distinct lack of scoring punch for the Thunderbirds this
season, as they are only scoring 62 points per game, which is actually
somewhat impressive considering only 36.1 percent of their field goal attempts
have found the bottom of the net. Such weak shooting numbers have led to a
rather sizable deficit on the scoreboard (-17.2). It is no surprise that the
Thunderbirds struggle so much on offense as Trey Kennedy (11.3 ppg) is the
only player on the roster averaging double figures. Kennedy finished with a
team-high 15 points against UC Riverside, while Chris Nsenki (5.8 ppg) added
10 of his own.
Portland turned in a much different effort in its win over San Jose State.
Unlike the Thunderbirds, the Pilots really excelled after halftime, connecting
on 62.5 percent of their attempts from the floor to collect the victory.
Portland was also aided by a 40-22 advantage in points in the paint, and a
21-6 edge in points off turnovers.
Just like their second halves were different, Portland and Southern Utah's
results on offense have also been at opposite ends of the spectrum. Portland
is scoring 79.3 points per game and hitting better than 45 percent of its
shots from the field. The Pilots are built around their powerful and versatile
frontcourt. Swingman Kevin Bailey (15.9 ppg) leads the team in scoring as a
player that can really stretch the floor. Ryan Nicholas (14.6 ppg, 9.9 rpg)
and Thomas van der Mars (11.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg) are more traditional big men,
though Nicholas has the range to knock down a 3-pointer from time to time. The
trio accounted for 44 points and 24 rebounds against San Jose State.
If Southern Utah had more size up front it could possibly slow down Portland.
Unfortunately, the Thunderbirds are not so lucky and will find themselves on
the losing end yet again.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Portland 78, Southern Utah 67
12/01 10:35:02 ET
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