Georgia Southern (8-11) at Appalachian State (7-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 24, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Holmes Center (8,325) -- Boone, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: GSU 5-3, ASU 5-2. Away Record: GSU 2-7, ASU 2-8. Neutral Record: GSU 1-1, ASU 0-0. Conference Record: GSU 2-4, ASU 3-3. Series Record: ASU leads, 22-17.
GAME NOTES: The Appalachian State Mountaineers will host the Georgia Southern Eagles tonight in a Southern Conference tussle at the Holmes Center.
Georgia Southern has dropped four of its last six outings, including Saturday's 70-55 home loss to last-place Citadel. What makes that loss so perplexing is the fact that the Eagles' two most recent wins came against the top two teams in the SoCon South Division, Davidson and College of Charleston. The Eagles are winless in five games played outside of Statesboro, Georgia and are searching for their first road win since upsetting Virginia Tech on Dec. 15.
Meanwhile, Appalachian State has followed up a season-long, five-game winning streak by losing each of its last two outings. The Mountaineers fell in overtime last Thursday at Chattanooga, 91-88, and then lost at Samford two nights later, 72-68. They'll play three of their next four at home.
ASU holds a 22-17 edge in the all-time series and has won five straight at home over the Eagles.
Georgia Southern was completely out-classed by a Citadel squad that ranks 340th in RPI out of 347 team. The Eagles shot just 35.7 percent from the floor and went 7-of-27 from beyond the arc, while they allowed the Bulldogs to shoot a red-hot 60 percent from the floor. GSU allowed far too many open looks for Bulldogs freshman guard Matt Van Scyoc, who buried 5-of-8 threes en route to a season-high 21 points. For GSU, C.J. Reed led the way with 13 points in the loss, while Tre Bussey scored 12, and Eric Ferguson finished with 10 points and eight rebounds. Ferguson has been the headliner, averaging a team-best 14.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per tilt. Reed (11.7 ppg) and Bussey (10.7) are also averaging double figures. Still, the Eagles rank 11th in the league in scoring (59.9 ppg) and are shooting just 42.3 percent as a team.
The Mountaineers are shooting only marginally better from the floor (.431), although they boast five double-figure scorers and are posting 72.9 ppg with their up-tempo style. But ASU is also allowing 73.1 ppg, or an average of nearly 10 points per game more than the Eagles are yielding. Jay Canty leads the way with 15.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, although it is swingman Nathan Healy who gives opponents the biggest matchup problems. Healy is the team's top rebounder (7.0 rpg) and second-leading scorer (14.6 ppg), and he is shooting a healthy 53 percent from the floor and 43 percent from the perimeter. Against Samford last weekend, the Mountaineers knocked down 9-of-19 threes and won the rebounding battle, 34-27. However, they also allowed Samford to shoot 54.5 percent from the field and were minus-5 in the turnover department. Canty finished with 19 points and eight boards in the loss.
The Eagles have shown a tendency to look like a completely different team from one game to the next, although the Mountaineers can relate as their season features a five-game win streak as well as a seven-game slide.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Appalachian State 73, Georgia Southern 67
01/24 10:33:36 ET