UC Riverside (1-5) vs. Texas State (2-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 24, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sullivan Arena (8,700) -- Anchorage, Alaska. Television: None. Home Record: UC Riverside 1-1, Texas State 2-1. Away Record: UC Riverside 0-2, Texas State 0-0. Neutral Record: UC Riverside 0-2, Texas State 0-2. Conference Record: UC Riverside 0-0, CMU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: In a consolation game of the Great Alaska Shootout the UC Riverside Highlanders and the Texas State Bobcats will try to end the tournament on a high note Saturday.
The dismal start to the season for UC Riverside took another downward turn in its second game of the Shootout. Despite leading by as many as 11 points midway through the second half, the Highlanders couldn't hold off a comeback from host Alaska-Anchorage as they fell 66-65. The loss was the fifth in six total games this season with the lone win coming against Whitman College which plays at the Division III level. After this final game of the tournament, the Highlanders return home to play Northern Colorado.
The Bobcats' stay in Anchorage has not been a pleasant one as they have taken two losses. The most recent was a 78-63 dismantling by Loyola Marymount which came on the heels of a 73-64 defeat to Charlotte. In the next three games the Bobcats will return home where they opened the season with a 2-1 record.
These team's have yet to meet up on the hardwood prior to this matchup.
When Dayton Bobbie connected on a layup with nearly nine minutes remaining in the second half, it looked like UC Riverside was well on its way to its second win. However the Highlanders were the victims of a 16-5 run to close out the game by UAA and lost the one-point decision. The Highlanders shot at a 45.5 percent clip but were outscored by a 27-12 margin from 3-point range. Chris Patton was the lead scorer with 16 points.
There has been virtually no offensive consistency from UC Riverside. The Highlanders are scoring just 57.8 points per game and have not scored more than 52 points against a Division I opponent. All those losses haven't come by large margins though with the team allowing 65.3 points per game, while never taking a double-digit loss. Josh Fox (11.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg) leads the team in scoring while Patton (10.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg) is the second option as well as the top rebounder. Fox was kept out of double figures against UAA which put more pressure on other scorers to pick up the pace. Chris Harriel (9.7 ppg) can score but doesn't shoot very well (32.9 FG percentage).
In the loss to Loyola Marymount, Texas State failed to get going offensively and ended up shooting at a less than impressive 34.4 percent clip overall in the game which included a 5-of-20 showing from beyond the arc. The Bobcats were also on the short end of a massive 48-32 difference in rebounds. Vonn Jones led the team in scoring with 14 points.
As a team Texas State is shooting at a collective 39.1 percent from the floor, but scoring a healthy 74.8 points per game. In fact, despite its losing record, Texas State actually owns a positive, albeit slight scoring differential (+0.6) this season. Foul trouble hurt top scorer Joel Wright in the loss to Loyola Marymount. Normally a 17.2-point-per-game scorer, Wright managed only seven points in 11 minutes as he picked up fouls early on and eventually fouled out. Wrights production is also missed on the boards as he leads the team in rebounds (6.2 pg). Matt Staff (14.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg) is the second option after Wright and the only other player on the roster scoring in double figures this season. Corey Stern (7.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg) is the next best rebounder.
Although Texas State is certainly not an elite Division I program against a UC Riverside team that has struggled against just about everyone it has faced, the Bobcats should be just fine.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas State 74, UC Riverside 64
11/24 10:31:25 ET