Houston Baptist (1-2) vs. Wright State (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 22, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mitchell Center (10,000) -- Mobile, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: HBU 1-0, WSU 2-0. Away Record: HBU 0-2, WSU 0-2. Neutral Record: HBU 0-0, WSU 0-0. Conference Record: HBU 0-0, WSU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Houston Baptist Huskies will face their first of three tough opponents in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic on Friday as they collide with the Wright State Raiders at the Mitchell Center.
Houston Baptist is coming off an 89-61 loss to Texas that dropped it to a 1-2 overall record. The Huskies began their 2013-14 season with a 15-point loss at Texas Tech before they returned home to down NCCAA foe Crowley's Ridge by 14 points. Coach Ron Cottrell is in his 23rd season with the program and has already amassed 421 career victories. Houston Baptist returned to the Division I level fully just prior to the 2011-2012 campaign.
Wright State is 2-2 on the season, but has yet to defeat a Division I opponent as it dropped decisions to Georgetown (88-70) and DePaul (82-71) on the road. The Raiders managed to complete routs of Division III foe Mount St. Joseph (82-49) and Manchester (83-33) to build a .500 overall record. Coach Billy Donlon's squad is expected to be a contender for the Horizon League crown this season as it returns nine players from last season's 10-man rotation that amassed a 23-13 record.
This will be the first meeting in history between Houston Baptist and Wright State.
The Huskies have struggled on the offensive end through their first three outings. They are connecting on just under 40 percent of their shots from the floor and have turned the ball over 47 times compared to just 33 assists. Rob Lewis and sixth man Tyler Russell are tied for the team's scoring lead at 14 points per game while Cody Joyce is chiming in with 11.3 ppg. In its loss to Texas on Monday, Houston Baptist connected on 5-of-9 attempts from beyond the arc, but converted only 16-of-29 at the charity stripe. Lewis scored a team- best 13 points, however it was not enough to counteract the Longhorns' 11- of-25 clip from behind the 3-point line.
Donlon's coaching philosophy requires intense pressure on the defensive end, so he uses a deeper rotation than most to keep fresh legs on the court throughout the contest. There are 10 different Raiders clocking 13 minutes per game or more through four games and five of them are averaging eight ppg or more. J.T. Yoho is the leader on the offensive end with 11.8 ppg on 45.7 percent shooting from the field. Yoho has also drained a team-high nine attempts from beyond the arc. A.J. Pacher has been much more explosive as he is posting 10.5 ppg in only 13.8 mpg while hitting on 90 percent of his field goal tries (18-of-20). Pacher is averaging three fouls and two turnovers per game, which is a big reason why his time on the floor has been limited. Matt Vest and Kendall Griffin provide Wright State with solid ball handlers and passers in the backcourt.
Wright State's defensive ability will be overwhelming for the Huskies, who have not been able to score points against less impressive opponents. The Raiders should be able to capture an easy decision, but they will have more trouble in the later stages of the tourney versus South Alabama and Southern Miss.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wright State 72, Houston Baptist 56
11/22 10:34:41 ET