Jacksonville State (3-5) at Central Michigan (4-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 30, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McGuirk Arena (5,300) -- Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: JSU 2-1, CMU 3-2. Away Record: JSU 1-4, CMU 1-1. Neutral Record: JSU 0-0, CMU 0-0. Conference Record: JSU 0-0, CMU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams riding modest win streaks get together for a non- conference clash on Saturday evening, as the Jacksonville State Gamecocks come calling on the Chippewas of Central Michigan.
After opening the season at 0-5, the Gamecocks have turned things around by winning each of their last three bouts. The team was most recently in action on Wednesday, and took out visiting Fort Valley State in a 78-66 final. Prior to that, it was Alabama A&M (76-69) and Dalton State (85-61) that fell victim to JSU's resurgence.
Central Michigan brings a 4-3 record into this affair, the club having won each of it last two games by getting past Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (68-64) and Cal State Northridge (90-76). The Chippewas are just 3-2 at home this season.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between the Gamecocks and Chippewas on the hardwood, and the teams will meet again in a few weeks at Jacksonville State (Dec. 17).
Jacksonville State isn't the most potent offensive team around, but it isn't the worst either. The Gamecocks put up 71 ppg in hitting 43.6 percent of their field goal attempts, which includes a 34.1 percent showing from 3-point range. They are +3.1 in rebounding margin, and they have a pair of double-digit scorers on which to rely. Brian Williams and Darion Rackley are both averaging 14.1 ppg, and the two have combined for 7.0 rpg and 4.1 apg. Williams put forth a sensational effort in the recent win over Fort Valley State, scoring 25 points, grabbing eight boards and dishing out five assists, while Giovanni Smith chipped in 14 points and Jamal Hunter another 11. As a team, JSU made good on 55.1 percent of its total shots, dropping seven treys along the way, while laying claim to a 17-10 edge in points from the foul line, and a 43-10 advantage in bench points.
With a record hovering just above .500, Central Michigan sports favorable margins in both scoring (+7.6) and turnovers (+6.3), but sits in the negative with regard to rebounding differential (-1.7). The team boasts three double- digit scorers in the form of Josh Kozinski (15.4 ppg), John Simons (12.3 ppg) and Blake Hibbits (10.6 ppg). The Chippewas have really struggled to find their stroke from beyond the arc, netting a mere 29.1 percent of their 3-point attempts. They are however, converting nearly 80 percent of their free throws. In Tuesday's win at Texas A&M-CC, Hibbits led the way with 15 points, while Chris Fowler added 13 and Simons 11 for a squad that nailed 10 3-pointers, claimed a 22-12 advantage in points at the foul line, and committed only seven turnovers. Simons came close to notching a double-double as he grabbed nine rebounds, while Fowler dished out five of club's 13 assists.
These two teams appear to be pretty evenly matched, which would typically lead you to believe that the home squad would get the nod. And while the Chippewas may come out on top, the Gamecocks certainly aren't going to let it happen without putting up a fight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Central Michigan 76, Jacksonville State 73
11/30 10:34:05 ET