Niagara (1-6) vs. Arkansas State (4-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, December 2, 8:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Arkansas State Convocation Center (10.475) -- Jonesboro, Arkansas. Television: None. Home Record: Niagara 1-0, Arkansas State 2-0. Away Record: Niagara 0-4, Arkansas State 2-2. Neutral Record: Niagara 0-2, Arkansas State 0-0. Conference Record: Niagara 0-0, Arkansas State 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: With their sights set on a third straight victory, the Arkansas State Red Wolves will bring in the Niagara Purple Eagles for a non-league battle at the Arkansas State Convocation Center.
Instead of trying to continue a winning streak the Purple Eagles are trying to put an end to a losing trend. Niagara was outgunned, 107-100 in a non- conference shootout with Northwestern State on Saturday for its fifth straight setback. Niagara has just a single victory in seven tries overall.
Arkansas State defeated Lamar on Saturday, 95-89, as it won back-to-back games for the second time this season. The Red Wolves also topped Central Arkansas on the short winning spurt, following two straight losses. Overall Arkansas State owns a 4-2 record.
On Monday these teams will be meeting for the first time.
Turnovers spelled doom for Niagara in its loss to Northwestern State. The Purple Eagles coughed up the ball 16 times, leading to 21 points for their opponent. The miscues overshadowed a solid shooting night for Niagara, which hit on 47 percent of its shots from the field.
Getting into shootouts has been a normal occurrence for the Purple Eagles, who are netting 84.4 points per game on a modest 43.3 percent shooting effort. The scoring hasn't been enough though, as the Purple Eagles are being lit up for 91.3 points per game on 52.4 percent shooting. Doing most of the heavy lifting for the Purple Eagles is Antoine Mason (31.6 ppg), who has been an absolute force with the ball in his hands. Mason poured in 33 points on Saturday for his sixth 30-point game this year. Ramone Snowden (11.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg) is the only other double-figure scorer on the roster.
The Red Wolves went off from 3-point range to outlast Lamar last time out. Arkansas State had 13-of-26 attempts from beyond the arc find the bottom of the net, led by an 8-of-9 shooting effort from that distance by Melvin Johnson III.
Johnson (19.7 ppg) is the Red Wolves' answer to Mason. The 6-foot-6 guard isn't as a versatile a threat as Mason, with the bulk of his production coming from 3-point range. Johnson has been on fire from that distance all season though, with at least three triples in every game, while hitting 65 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. Kirk Van Slyke (15.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg) provides additional scoring as the Red Wolves' best frontcourt option. Van Slyke finished with 13 points and came a rebound shy of a double-double in the win over Lamar. The Red Wolves don't have any other players averaging in double figures, though they score a steady 77.5 points per game.
With Johnson and Van Slyke, the Red Wolves have a nice balance at the offensive end. The Purple Eagles are too reliant on a single scorer and will have a tough time beating Arkansas State on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas State 78, Niagara 70
12/02 10:34:01 ET