Texas-San Antonio (3-4) at Mississippi State (2-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 4, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Humphrey Coliseum (10,500) -- Starkville, Mississippi. Television: None. Home Record: UTSA 1-0, MSU 2-0. Away Record: UTSA 0-3, MSU 0-2. Neutral Record: UTSA 2-1, MSU 0-3. Conference Record: UTSA 0-0, MSU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners continue their quest for that elusive first road win, as they visit Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville for a non-conference clash with the Mississippi State Bulldogs
After losing its opener to Morgan State (71-59), UTSA ripped off three straight wins, highlighted by a 79-70 victory over Old Dominion on Nov. 11 to claim the Liberty Tax Classic title. The Roadrunners have since fallen back to 3-4 with three straight road defeats, most recently losing at Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday, 85-52.
It's been a disappointing start for Mississippi State, as it has lost five of its first seven games. The Bulldogs managed to recover from three straight defeats at the Maui Invitational by earning a 60-42 home win over Alcorn State on Nov. 27, but they fell back to their losing ways in the SEC/Big East Challenge on Saturday with a 73-63 setback to Providence.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs on the hardwood.
Very little went right for UTSA in its latest outing at Bakersfield, as the team shot just 15-of-40 from the floor (.375) and committed an egregious 26 turnovers in the embarrassing 33-point defeat. Kannon Burrage didn't find much success from the field (4-of-17), but he was the only Roadrunner to register double figures in points with 18. Although they haven't been especially great shooting the ball, they typically put up a stronger performance than their latest effort, as they shoot 42.9 percent from the field for an average of 65.3 ppg. Burrage leads the team with 17.9 ppg, but he does so on just 38 percent shooting, and he has taken nearly twice as many shots than his closest teammate. Michael Hale III has been much more accurate with his shot attempts (.544) en route to 16.5 ppg, but he suffered a knee injury against Oregon and didn't play against Bakersfield. Jeromie Hill nets 12.1 ppg and grabs a team- high 6.9 rpg, although as a collective unit UTSA has not performed well on the glass, getting outrebounded by an average of 9.5 rpg.
Mississippi State actually found itself down by 26 points midway through the second half against Providence before rallying to make it a five-point game in the final minute, but it could not complete the comeback. Helping spark the great play late was Wendell Lewis, who tallied a double-double consisting of 16 points and 11 rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench. Fred Thomas (12 points) and Roquez Johnson (10 points) also put forth solid efforts in the setback, although the squad shot just 35.9 percent from the field. MSU is shooting better than that on the year, but not by much, making just 38.4 percent of its field goal attempts in putting up a mere 60.0 ppg. Johnson has been impressive with 14.3 ppg and 6.5 rpg, while Thomas (11.4 ppg) shoots just 32.5 percent from the floor. Turnovers have been a major issue for the Bulldogs, as they commit more than 18 per game.
The good news for MSU is that it has won both of its home games this season, but with the sporadic shooting in the early going, the Bulldogs are far from a sure thing against a pesky UTSA squad. Still, figure the home team to feed off the energy in its own building and post its third win of the year.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Mississippi State 66, Texas-San Antonio 63
12/04 10:54:08 ET