Georgia Southern (4-5) at Bradley (6-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, December 17, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carver Arena (11,168) -- Peoria, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: Georgia Southern 2-1, Bradley 4-1. Away Record: Georgia Southern 2-4, Bradley 2-1. Neutral Record: Georgia Southern 0-0, Bradley 0-0. Conference Record: Georgia Southern 0-2, Bradley 0-0. Series Record: Bradley leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: The Georgia Southern Eagles look for another road upset when they visit Carver Arena to take on the Bradley Braves in the first round of the 2012 Las Vegas Classic.
Georgia Southern is 4-5 after its 78-73 victory over Virginia Tech at Cassell Coliseum on Saturday. The Eagles' 16-point win over Kennesaw State is their only other decision over a Division I opponent, but they are currently on a two-game winning streak thanks to a 23-point triumph over Brewton Parker. Coach Charlton Young had his team playing at a much higher level than usual its last time out as it averages only 62.7 points on 45.4 percent shooting from the field. The Eagles are limiting their opposition to 63.6 ppg.
Geno Ford's Braves have a chance to match their win total from last season as they enter with a 6-2 record after their 72-68 victory over George Washington on Dec. 4. Bradley's two setbacks came courtesy of games at South Florida (82-63) and a close defeat to powerhouse Michigan (74-66). The Braves are adept on the offensive end with an average of 74.5 ppg on 48 percent field goal shooting. They are limiting their opposition to 66.5 ppg on a much lower 41.1 percent shooting.
This will be the fourth meeting in the all-time series between GSU and Bradley, with the Braves holding a narrow 2-1 edge. These teams have not squared off since GSU's 90-73 decision over the Braves on Nov. 24, 1990 in Statesboro, Georgia. Bradley is 9-8 in its history versus members of the Southern Conference.
GSU's road win over Virginia Tech was not entirely shocking as it already had close calls against Maryland and Charlotte. The Eagles used the three-point arc to their advantage versus the Hokies and hit 7-of-14 attempts from distance in the opening half to build a 35-27 halftime lead. Virginia Tech finished the contest 6-of-27 from beyond the arc, which offset its 34-12 advantage in points in the paint. Former Bethune-Cookman star guard C.J. Reed led the way with 22 points, Cleon Roberts contributed 20 points, and Cameron Baskerville chipped in 12. The team's leading scorer, junior forward Eric Ferguson (15.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg), recorded his third double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 boards. Reed (11.1) Roberts (10.3), and Tre Bussey (10.1 ppg) all enter Monday with double-digit scoring averages as well.
Bradley looked like it was going to coast to a win over the Colonials as it held a 19-point lead in the early stages of the second half before GW rallied back. The Braves allowed their opposition to make it a four-point ball game but managed to hang on for the win by converting 23 George Washington turnovers into 24 points. Junior center Jordan Prosser paced the team with 17 points while Walt Lemon Jr. (14) and Dyricus Simms-Edwards (11) also got into the mix. Lemon Jr. is producing team-highs of 13.5 points and 4.0 assists per contest and junior forward Tyshon Pickett has been impressive in his first eight games with the program with 11.6 points and 6.4 boards per game. Simms- Edwards, Prosser, and Jake Eastman are combining to generate 29.8 ppg.
While the Eagles' upset of Virginia Tech was impressive, the Braves will not be taking them lightly now. Bradley's balanced attack, which features four double-digit scorers and two more just below the 10 ppg mark, will be much more difficult to contain than the Hokies' one man show. GSU needs another big effort out of Reed, but Ferguson will be limited inside by Prosser and Pickett.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bradley 74, Georgia Southern 67
12/17 10:37:49 ET