UNC Greensboro (8-9) at Appalachian State (4-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 9, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Holmes Convocation Center (8,325) -- Boone, North Carolina. Television: ESPN3. Home Record: UNCG 6-3, ASU 4-2. Away Record: UNCG 1-4, ASU 0-8. Neutral Record: UNCG 1-2, ASU 0-0. Conference Record: UNCG 1-1, ASU 0-1. Series Record: Appalachian State leads, 22-18.
GAME NOTES: The Mountaineers of Appalachian State will welcome the Spartans of UNC Greensboro to the Holmes Convocation Center on Thursday night in a Southern Conference clash.
UNCG (8-9) has waded around .500 for the majority of this season, having yet to win or lose three consecutive games at any point. The Spartans have opened up Southern Conference action 1-1, losing at Western Carolina (72-51) before winning at home versus Furman on Monday (90-82).
As for ASU, it has endured a much more dire fate on the campaign, winning just four of its first 14 contests. The Mountaineers began league competition on Monday night, falling at Elon, 75-66, for their second straight loss, but the good news is that all four of their wins this season have come at home (4-2).
ASU holds a 22-18 advantage over UNCG in the all-time series, which includes a season sweep during the 2012-13 campaign.
The Spartans were ineffective in keeping Furman off the scoreboard earlier in the week, as they allowed the Paladins to shoot 50 percent from the field, but it didn't matter much as they shot a scorching 57.6 percent from the floor and they rolled to the eight-point victory. Pacing four teammates in double figures was Kayel Locke, who scored 18 points on 8-of-12 efficiency from the field. Tevon Saddler finished with 17 points and was also on fire from the floor (7-of-11), while Nicholas Paulos and Kyle Cain netted 14 and 12 points, respectively.
UNCG's latest game was a microcosm of its season as a whole, as it boasts a rather promising offensive attack (.454 FG percentage, 71.5 ppg) but is oftentimes held back by a poor showing on the defensive end of the court (.445, 73.8). Its dreadful -3.6 turnover margin certainly doesn't help matters either. Cain paces the unit with 15.6 ppg and 8.4 rpg, shooting 51.4 percent from the field and 72.6 percent from the floor in the process. Locke (12.6 ppg) and Saddler (12.1 ppg) are integral pieces to the puzzle as well.
The Mountaineers trailed Elon by as many as 18 points in their most recent bout, but while they were able to climb back to make their final deficit single digits, they never truly threatened the lead. Although their showings from the field (.468) and the foul line (20-of-29) were rather solid, they lost several possessions by getting outrebounded, 35-21. Jay Canty shined in spite of the loss, finishing with a game-high 20 points on 8-of-11 from the field. Tevin Baskin was also stellar with 17 points, while Frank Eaves poured in 11 points off the bench.
ASU has underperformed all season long, as it is outshot by its opponents from the floor, 41.4 percent to 47.2 percent, while scoring 71.6 ppg and allowing 75.1 ppg. Its percentages from 3-point range (.295) and the charity stripe (.659) are also not much to brag about. After missing the first 12 games, Canty has provided a much-needed boost to the lineup, pouring in 16.0 ppg in his two games since returning. Tab Hamilton (13.4 ppg) does a large portion of his damage from beyond the arc (34-of-94), while Baskin (11.7 ppg) and Mike Neal (11.2 ppg) are also regular contributors.
ASU has been far from impressive on the season, but it at least has its full complement of weapons back with the return of Canty, and with it holding the homecourt advantage, it should provide enough firepower to knock off an inconsistent UNCG squad.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Appalachian State 75, UNC Greensboro 73
01/09 10:32:28 ET