Houston Baptist (1-4) at South Alabama (3-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 24, 3:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Mitchell Center (10,041) -- Mobile, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: HBU 1-0, USA 3-1. Away Record: HBU 0-2, USA 0-1. Neutral Record: HBU 0-1, USA 0-0. Conference Record: HBU 0-0, USA 0-0. Series Record: South Alabama leads, 6-0.
GAME NOTES: The Houston Baptist Huskies will try to snap their three-game losing slide as they close out the CBE Classic against the South Alabama Jaguars at the Mitchell Center on Sunday.
Houston Baptist entered the tournament following a 28-point loss to Texas. The Huskies then suffered a 75-59 setback to Wright State before being defeated, 67-62, by Southern Miss in their second matchup in Mobile. HBU took a 10-point lead in the first half over the Golden Eagles, but led its lead slip away as it committed 10 turnovers in the second half which turned into 13 points for USM. The Huskies' only victory of the season came over Crowley's Ridge College on Nov. 11.
South Alabama, the host squad for this region, has alternated wins and losses in the early part of the season on its way to a 3-2 record, with its latest effort ending in a 74-70 victory over Wright State in the second round on Saturday night. The Jaguars had previously lost to Southern Miss in the opening round. USA was on fire in the first half, shooting a stellar 66.7 percent from the field, including 7-of-13 behind the 3-point line to build an eight-point lead by halftime, which it then protected by converting 14-of-16 attempts at the free-throw line over the final 20 minutes.
This will be the seventh meeting in history between the Huskies and Jaguars. South Alabama holds a 6-0 all-time series lead after its 91-62 rout of HBU on Dec. 12, 2010.
The Huskies have not had a strong start to the season offensively, as they are shooting just 41.1 percent from the field for 63.6 points per game, and they aren't playing very well on the defensive end of the court either (.439, 73.6 ppg). Despite making just two start through five games, Tyler Russell has attempted a team-high 50 field goal attempts to average 11.6 points per game, although he does so on an even 40 percent field goal shooting. Rob Lewis is pacing HBU in the scoring column at 11.8 ppg, on an even less impressive 35.4 percent shooting from the floor. On Saturday, Lewis paced the Huskies with 15 points. Duason Womack added 12 points and Ricmonds Vilde grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
USA continued to rely on its star big man, Augustine Rubit, as he registered a double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds against a fierce Wright State defense. Also scoring in double figures for the Jaguars were Ken Williams and Barrington Stevens with 13 points apiece. With Rubit leading the charge with 16.6 points and 9.8 boards per tilt, USA has outscored its opposition by an average of 5.8 ppg while shooting 43.7 percent from the field. Stevens is contributing 10 points and three assists per outing.
The Huskies gave a great effort on Saturday, which will most likely have them drained as they collide with a very tough Jaguars squad. USA's ability to dominate inside against smaller teams will be evident as Rubit should be able to score at will against Vilde. The homecourt advantage will help the Jaguars avoid any chance of an upset loss to HBU.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Alabama 76, Houston Baptist 62
11/24 10:30:47 ET