Wagner (4-3) vs. Illinois-Chicago (2-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 27, 6 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Germain Arena (6,000) -- Estero, Florida. Television: None. Home Record: Wagner 2-0, UIC 1-3. Away Record: Wagner 1-2, UIC 0-0. Neutral Record: Wagner 1-1, UIC 1-1. Conference Record: Wagner 0-0, UIC 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The first-ever meeting between the Wagner Seahawks and the Flames of Illinois-Chicago is set to take place this evening during the final round of the Gulf Coast Showcase at Germain Arena.
The Seahawks, who arrived in Florida with just one win in three true road games to begin 2013-14, wore out Stetson in the first round of the tournament on Monday, 81-64, but then was held back by St. Bonaventure last night in a narrow 70-67 final.
As for the Flames, they too have earned a split in Estero the last couple of days. Like the Seahawks, SIU also began with a win in the opening round, posting a 74-70 victory over San Diego, but on Tuesday the dream of a tourney title was dashed by Louisiana Tech in a 103-78 outing.
There was almost no stopping the Bulldogs as UIC watched LaTech knock down 52.4 percent from the floor and 29-of-43 at the free-throw line last night, all while SIU was turning the ball over 18 times and converting just 9-of-25 behind the 3-point line. The Flames put 13 players on the floor, all but one of whom scored, but only Pat Birt and Jordan Harks ended up in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Birt's scoring effort was somewhat unexpected, seeing as how he has come off the bench in the four games he has played and is averaging only 4.0 ppg. The leaders of the offense are supposed to be Marc Brown (15.7 ppg) and Kelsey Barlow (11.7 ppg), but clearly neither of them showed up to make much of a difference on Tuesday for a team that is now being outscored by close to double figures.
Wagner was paced by Mario Moody with 19 points, while Jay Harris produced 14 and Orlando Parker 12 points, to go along with nine rebounds, but the team fell behind the Bonnies right out of the gate and never fully recovered. The Seahawks allowed the Bonnies to shoot 51.9 percent from the field and while St. Bonaventure kept the door open to a potential Wagner comeback by shooting only 12-of-23 at the free-throw line, the challenge was never met because the Seahawks shot just 4-of-16 beyond the arc.
Through the first six games, the Seahawks were able to knock down 35.1 percent behind the 3-point line, compared to only 23.3 percent for the competition, but at the same time those foes were outscoring Wagner at the charity stripe by a combined 58 points. Latif Rivers was the leading scorer with 16.7 ppg, followed by Kenneth Ortiz with 12.8 ppg and a team-best 26 assists.
If nothing else, the Seahawks showed that they could keep up with St. Bonaventure on Tuesday, which should be enough to carry the team through this meeting as well.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wagner 73, Illinois-Chicago 69
11/27 10:40:00 ET