Florida Gulf Coast (5-4) at South Florida (6-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 17, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: USF Sun Dome (10,411) -- Tampa, Florida. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: FGCU 4-1, USF 4-2. Away Record: FGCU 1-3, USF 2-0. Neutral Record: FGCU 0-0, USF 0-0. Conference Record: FGCU 0-0, USF 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: A couple teams from the Sunshine State involve themselves in the Las Vegas Classic, as the Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast clash with the South Florida Bulls at the Sun Dome.
The Bulls are aiming to stretch their current win streak to three in a row, after having lost back-to-back contests against Oklahoma State and Detroit. The team is building on a pair of two-point victories versus George Mason and Alabama within the last couple of weeks.
As for the Eagles, they were at home in Alico Arena over the weekend, hosting Samford, and managed to put an end to a three-game slide with a convincing 83-51 victory. FGCU is now 4-1 at home, but has just one win in four opportunities on the road, that being a one-point decision over Furman in the middle of last month.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between these two schools on the hardwood.
Both will head to Sin City later this week to continue the tournament.
While the offense was hitting shots from the floor at a 50.9 percent clip, the defense for the Eagles was holding Samford to just 32.8 percent, including 2- of-16 behind the 3-point line, making it that much easier to cruise to the home win over the weekend. Chase Fieler registered a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Brett Comer's 8-of-10 effort from the field resulted in 18 points. Bernard Thompson tacked on 15 points and Nate Hicks 12 and four blocked shots.
One of three players to have started every game, Fieler is responsible for 14.1 ppg as he shoots just as well from the floor (.600) as he does at the free-throw line. Comer and Thompson check in with 13.8 and 13.6 ppg, respectively, the former also accounting for a team-best 49 assists and 11 steals as he puts forth a solid effort at both ends of the floor.
Trailing by as many as seven early in the first half, the Bulls turned the tables on Alabama, taking a four-point lead at the break before holding on for the two-point triumph at home 10 days ago. Chris Perry put together a strong double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds, while Victor Rudd accounted for 15 points and seven boards, but shot only 1-of-6 beyond the arc. Anthony Collins handed out nine of the unit's 13 assists.
Far from a lethal 3-point shooting program, the Bulls are averaging fewer than four baskets per game beyond the arc, with Rudd leading the way with his 8- of-26 effort on the outside. He leads the team in scoring with 14.4 ppg and is one of the better rebounders (5.5 rpg), while Corey Allen Jr. steps up with another 13.4 ppg and manages to pull down 5.4 rpg and hand out 25 assists in eight appearances.
Playing at home certainly gives the Bulls an advantage tonight, and with Perry showing he can take over in the paint this might be the beginning of better things to come for USF.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Florida 74, Florida Gulf Coast 65
12/17 10:32:59 ET