Monmouth (1-3) vs. South Alabama (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 20, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: GSU Sports Arena (4,500) -- Atlanta, Georgia. Television: None. Home Record: Monmouth 1-0, South Alabama 1-0. Away Record: Monmouth 0-3, South Alabama 1-0. Neutral Record: Monmouth 0-0, South Alabama 0-1. Conference Record: Monmouth 0-0, South Alabama 0-0. Series Record: First meeting.
GAME NOTES: As part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, the Monmouth Hawks and the South Alabama Jaguars will square off at the GSU Sports Arena on Tuesday afternoon.
After a win in its season opener, Monmouth has really fallen off with three straight losses after a 62-49 defeat to host Georgia State in its first game of the classic. In that opener the Hawks poured in 91 points in a win over Hofstra but have scored no more than 62 during the three-game losing streak. The Hawks will be their third game in as many days on Wednesday when it square off with Tennessee State.
The Jaguars are trying to rebound from their first loss of the season as South Alabama was bested 68-57 by Tennessee State in the first day of this three-day event. Before that South Alabama had won consecutive contests, including a stunning 76-71 upset of Florida State in Tallahassee. South Alabama plays host Georgia State on Wednesday.
These teams have never faced each other before but in its history Monmouth is 2-5 against teams from the Sun Belt Conference.
The Hawks struggled offensively all night in the loss to Georgia State. Monmouth connected on just 27.8 percent of its field goal attempts and had 13 shots blocked in the losing effort. Defensively Monmouth was disruptive, forcing 21 turnovers, but not so much in stopping the Panthers from scoring, as Georgia State converted 51.2 percent in the game. Andrew Nicholas was the only player in double figures for the Hawks with 10 points.
On the season Nicholas has been the only double figure scorer for Monmouth as well. The 6-foot-6 swing man is scoring 13.8 points per game but has not been efficient in doing so. Nicholas is shooting just 35.0 percent from the floor including a 5-of-24 effort from beyond the arc. Poor shooting hasn't just been an issue for Nicholas as the Hawks are connecting on only 38.0 percent of their shots overall. Dion Nesmith (9.8 ppg) is the second option behind Nicholas while Ed Waite (6.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg) is the top rebounder. Stephen Spinella (8.0 ppg) provides a little offensive lift off the bench.
After allowing Tennessee State to open the game on a 13-2 run, South Alabama was never really able to recover as it shot just 27.6 percent from the floor in the first half. AFter halftime the Jaguars heated up to 50.0 percent but it wouldn't be enough. South Alabama was beat up on the boards with 31 rebounds to 46 by Tennessee State. Augustine Rubit put in 21 points all from the inside but had only four rebounds.
Despite his 6-foot-7 frame, rebounding has been a bit of an issue for Rubit (5.3 rpg). What has not been a problem is his ability to finish around the rim. The forward is shooting 52.9 percent from the floor this season, while scoring a team-high 17.7 points per game. Three other players are also scoring in double figures this season. Mychal Ammons, a 6-foot-6 guard, is one of those players (13.7 ppg), but what has been most important in his game is his efforts on the glass, as he brings in a team-high 10.3 rebounds per game. Also in the mix for the Jaguars are Xavier Roberson (11.3 ppg) and Antoine Allen (10.7 ppg). Both Roberson and Allen are knockdown shooters with each hitting 6-of-12 shots from beyond the arc.
For all its offensive deficiencies, South Alabama has far more scoring options than Monmouth which will prove to be crucial in a game between two teams that have yet to find much offensive success.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Alabama 60, Monmouth 56
11/20 10:38:27 ET