Southern (5-9) at Texas Southern (5-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, January 6, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: H&PE Arena (8,100) -- Houston, Texas. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Southern 3-2, TSU 3-0. Away Record: Southern 2-7, TSU 1-7. Neutral Record: Southern 0-0, TSU 1-1. Conference Record: Southern 1-0, TSU 1-0.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams coming off wins in their respective Southwestern Athletic Conference openers meet on Monday night, as the Jaguars of Southern University tangle with the Tigers of Texas Southern.
In the case of the visiting Jaguars, they have actually won their last two games, making national headlines by blasting little known Champion Baptist (116-12), followed by a 60-57 decision at Prairie View A&M in their first SWAC game of the campaign on Saturday. Southern, which suffered lopsided losses to nationally-ranked foes Arizona and Baylor prior to its current win streak, began the season at 1-5, but has split eight games since.
Texas Southern topped visiting Alcorn State on Saturday, 83-66, to move to 1-0 in conference and inch closer to .500 on the season, currently sitting at 5-8. The win over the Braves was the second in the last three games for the Tigers, who are a perfect 3-0 at home this season. After beginning the campaign with consecutive wins, TSU suffered through a five-game slide. Since then however, the team has gone 3-3.
Southern's stats for the season were skewed significantly after the ridiculous win over Champion Baptist, the team currently averaging 72.0 ppg while allowing just 66.9 ppg. The Jaguars are shooting 44.3 percent from the field, which includes a 31.7 percent showing from 3-points range, while foes are draining just 38.1 percent of their total shots, while shooting 32.9 percent from beyond the arc. The Jaguars boast three double-digit scorers in Tre Lynch, Calvin Godfrey and Yondarius Johnson, but none net more than 12.1 ppg, with Godfrey also pacing the unit's rebounding effort with 8.2 caroms per contest. Christopher Hyder doesn't do much in the way of scoring (3.2 ppg), but is instrumental in other areas as he leads the team in both assists (65) and steals (19).
Godfrey and Malcolm Miller were the only two Jags to reach double figures in the recent win over Prairie View A&M, hitting for 16 points apiece, the duo finishing with identical stat lines in also grabbing five rebounds and handing out a single assist each. Hyder dished eight helpers for a team that committed 17 turnovers and was outrebounded by a 37-31 margin. Fortunately, the defense showed up, holding the Panthers to 36.7 percent field goal efficiency while goading them into 18 miscues.
Poor play at the defensive end has been the Tigers' downfall this season, as they rank as one of the worst teams in the nation in permitting an average of 80.6 ppg behind typical shooting efforts of .482 overall and .398 from 3-point range. Despite those woes, Texas Southern has one of the most dynamic players in all of college basketball on its roster, as Philadelphia native Aaric Murray is averaging 24.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, the former ranking him in the top-five nationally, and the latter allowing him to pace the team by almost a full board ahead of Jose Rodriguez, who comes in sporting a line of 14.7 points and 6.7 caroms per contest. Ray Penn, a former Oklahoma State Cowboy, is netting 11.2 ppg, but he hasn't played since TSU won at Temple on Dec. 18.
Murray was his usual dominant self in the Tigers' league lid lifter against Alcorn State, logging a double-double consisting of 26 points and 11 rebounds, while Rodriguez had one of his own with 16 points and 10 boards. Lawrence Johnson-Danner added 14 points, Scott D'Angelo chipped in with 13, and Madarious Gibbs dished out 11 of the team's 15 assists. As a collective unit, Texas Southern shot 53.8 percent from the field, knocking down 6-of-14 3-point tries, while holding the Braves to 40.3 percent shooting and claming a 21-6 edge in points from the foul line.
While Southern has some talent, no one there can match what Murray does for the Tigers. That said, expect TSU to prevail, keeping it perfect both at home and in conference.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas Southern 82, Southern 75
01/06 10:48:39 ET