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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, December 28, 4:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McKenzie Arena (11,218) -- Chattanooga, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: Utah Valley 3-2, Austin Peay 3-2. Away Record: Utah Valley 2-5, Austin Peay 0-4. Neutral Record: Utah Valley 1-1, Austin Peay 1-1. Conference Record: Utah Valley 0-0, Austin Peay 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAMES NOTES: In the opening game of the Dr. Pepper Classic the Utah Valley Wolverines will battle the Austin Peay Governors on Friday afternoon at McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Utah Valley has been trading wins and losses over its last six games with the last decision being a 73-67 loss to North Carolina Central. During the current stretch the Wolverines' only wins have come in games decided in overtime. Utah Valley is 6-8 overall and 1-1 in neutral site games after playing a pair during the CBE Hall of Fame Classic.
For Austin Peay, this game presents the chance to put an end to a four-game losing streak which was extended with an 83-57 loss to Illinois State last time out. Only one of those four losses came at home for the Governors who are 0-4 in true road games and 1-1 in neutral site meetings after a two-game stint in the Cancun Challenge in November.
The winner of this contest will face either High Point or host Chattanooga on Saturday.
This will be the first meeting between these programs on the hardwood.
A nine-point deficit at halftime was too much for Utah Valley to overcome against NC Central. Despite out-shooting the Eagles in the second half, the Wolverines were unable to mount a successful comeback. A 24-15 deficit from 3-point range also didn't help. Alfonzo Hubbard and Nick Thompson both scored 19 points to lead four players in double figures for Utah Valley.
The Wolverines generally have four players in double figures. Ben Aird (12.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg) leads the way, but managed just 10 points against NC Central. Aird along with Thompson (10.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg) and Hubbard (10.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg) give the Wolverines a trio of productive rebounders. Despite that, the Wolverines only bring down 31.8 boards per game and actually have a negative margin (-3.8) on the glass. Holton Hunsaker (11.1 ppg) is also scoring in double figures but is the only one of the four shooting below 40 percent. Utah Valley scores 66.0 points per game on 44.9 percent shooting and allows foes to net 71.9 points a game.
Even though Anthony Campbell erupted for 20 points, Austin Peay was no match for Illinois State. The Governors shot at just a 40.8 percent clip as a team and allowed the Redbirds to net an even 50.0 percent of their shots from the floor. To make maters worse for the Governors was their 25 turnovers in the game.
Despite scoring a healthy 70.3 points per game, Austin Peay has found itself on the losing end more often than not due to weak defensive efforts. The Governors let up 74.3 points per game and have allowed teams to assists on an alarming 15.8 field goals a contest. The Governors also have a slim disadvantage (-2.2) on the glass.Travis Betran (15.4 ppg) is the lead scorer for the Governors, while Campbell (13.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and Will Triggs (10.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg) are also scoring in double figures. Chris Horton (8.9 ppg. 6.9 rpg) finishes well around the rim (.595 FG percentage) and protects the paint by blocking three shots per game.
The lack of frontcourt depth for the Governors may finally allow Utah Valley to utilize Aird, Thompson and Hubbard to earn the win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Utah Valley 73, Austin Peay 69
12/28 10:32:53 ET
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