Sonoma State (1-2) vs. Illinois State (1-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 29, 11:15 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: War Memorial Gymnasium (5,300) -- San Francisco, California. Television: None. Home Record: Sonoma State 0-2, ISU 0-2. Away Record: Sonoma State 1-0, ISU 1-1. Neutral Record: Sonoma State 0-0, ISU 0-1. Conference Record: Sonoma State 0-0, ISU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: After both team lost their opening-round contests on Wednesday, the Sonoma State Seawolves and the Illinois State Redbirds will square off at War Memorial Gymnasium on Friday night as the Golden Gate Challenge soldiers on.
Oddly enough, even though Sonoma State's 96-73 loss to San Francisco on Wednesday as well as its Saturday tilt with Vermont both count as exhibition contests, this matchup will count towards its season record. The Seawolves, who operate out of the California Collegiate Athletic Association at the Division II level, are officially 1-2 on the season, with their only win coming at Notre Dame De Namur on Nov. 20, 70-57.
Just a year removed from a solid 18-15 season, Illinois State has begun the 2013-14 campaign off in disappointing fashion, claiming just one win over the course of its first five games. Since their impressive triumph at Northwestern on Nov. 17 (68-64), the Redbirds have dropped two in a row, losing at home to Manhattan on Nov. 20 (79-70) before blowing a big lead in the opening round of this event en route to an 87-76 setback to Vermont.
This marks the first-ever meeting between the two squads.
The Seawolves' first game in this event versus San Francisco did not count towards their season statistics, and it's a good thing because they managed to shoot just 36.9 percent from the field in the 23-point setback. Brandon Glanz scored 11 points, while James David and Zen Maki were the only other noteworthy performer with 10 points apiece. Despite its losing record on the season, Sonoma State actually scores more points (71.0 ppg) than it allows (68.3), and it shoots a lofty 47.5 percent from the field. Sterling Arterberry leads the team with 15.7 points per game, while Glanz (15.3 ppg) is right on his heels. Glanz is also the top rebounder with 7.0 per contest and he's draining field goals at nearly a 70-percent rate. Justin Herold (13.0 ppg) and Davis (10.3 ppg) are both regular contributors as well.
The Redbirds appeared well in control of their opening-round matchup in the early going, as they shot a scorching 55.2 percent from the floor in the first half to open up a 12-point lead at intermission, but they fell flat in the second stanza, getting outscored by 23 on their way to the double-digit setback. Zach Lofton paced the effort with 19 points in 25 minutes off the bench. Daishon Knight contributed 12 points, albeit on just 4-of-13 from the field, while John Jones and Bobby Hunter pitched in 11 and 10 points, respectively.
It's been a forgettable start to the season for Illinois State on many accounts. Not only does it shoot just 38.3 percent from the field for 68.4 points per game, but it allows 80.8 points on nearly 46 percent shooting on the other end. It's also hindered by poor margins in terms of rebounding (-4.4) and turnovers (-2.4). Lofton shoots a lousy 31.7 percent from the field, but he generates enough volume to score a team-high 13.4 points per game. In fact, all three of the Redbirds' top scorers, Knight (12.4 ppg) and Paris Lee (7.8 ppg) included, are making field goals at less than 32-percent efficiency.
The Redbirds' slow start aside, they should be able to get things going against a Sonoma State squad that was severely outmatched in the opening round.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Illinois State 76, Sonoma State 63
11/29 10:50:04 ET