UC Riverside (1-4) at Alaska-Anchorage (4-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 23, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sullivan Arena (8,700) -- Anchorage, Alaska. Television: None. Home Record: UC Riverside 1-1, UAA 4-1. Away Record: UC Riverside 0-2, UAA 0-0. Neutral Record: UC Riverside 0-1, UAA 0-0. Conference Record: UC Riverside 0-0, UAA 0-0. Series Record: First meeting.
GAME NOTES: In the second round of the Great Alaska Shootout the UC Riverside Highlanders will take on host Alaska-Anchorage at the Sullivan Arena Friday night.
UC Riverside just didn't have enough to come back and take out Northeastern in its first game of the tournament, a 61-52 loss. The loss came after the Highlanders earned their first win of the season in their previous game against Whitman College (89-76). Before the victory over the Division III opponent the Highlanders were defeated in three straight games to begin the year.
As for Alaska-Anchorage it took its first loss of the season in its opening matchup of the tournament with a 74-60 setback against Belmont. The Seawolves are a squad that plays in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference which is a Division II league. UAA topped a quartet of Division II schools in its first three games.
Both of these schools will await the results of all of Friday's action to determine their next opponent.
This will be the first ever meeting between these programs.
The Highlanders trailed by as many as 21 points against Northeastern on Wednesday but clawed back to within single digits in the second half, but could never get closer than a 57-52 deficit at the 1:04 mark. The Highlanders second-half resurgence was fueled by a 51.9 percent shooting effort in the final 20 minutes. OVerall UC Riverside connected on 43.1 percent of its shots in the game and trailed in points from the free throw line by a 19-3 margin. Josh Fox was the only player in double figures with 14 points.
The Highlanders have been a mess on offense this season. They are scoring only 56.4 points per game which includes a dismal 30-point effort in a loss to Fresno State. Surprisingly though the squad is shooting better than its opponents by connecting on 40.4 percent of its shots to 39.8 percent by foes. Much of that is due to the 17,4 turnovers the Highlanders commit per game, giving team's tons of extra possessions. Fox (12.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg) wasn't just the only double figure scorer against Northeastern, he has filled that role all season. Meanwhile, Robert Smith (9.6 ppg), Chris Harriel (9.2 ppg) and Chris PAtton (9.2 ppg) are all inching closer.
UAA shot just 38.0 percent from the floor in its loss to Belmont which erased any benefits of its slim 35-33 edge on the boards. The Seawolves were also the less disciplined squad in the game as they turned the ball over 20 times. Of three players that scored in double figures for UAA, Mike MacKelvie was the leader with 14 points to go along with a team-high six rebounds.
MacKelvie's efforts against Belmont were a bit out of character as he is scoring just 7.0 points per game this season. MacKelvie has been the top player on the team in rebounds though bringing in 5.2 per contest. Kyle Fossman (15.6 ppg) is normally the top scorer, while Teancum Stafford (12.6 ppg) and Liam Gibcus (10.2 ppg) are both scoring in double figures as well. Taking the level of competition into consideration, UAA has amassed an impressive +10.0 scoring differential this season, putting in 73.8 points per game, while shooting 45.7 percent from the floor.
While Alaska-Anchorage couldn't keep up with Belmont, an NCAA Tournament team last season, the Seawolves could have more luck against UC Riverside. Still the Highlanders have more talent on the roster and should be able to pull out a win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UC Riverside 65, Alaska-Anchorage 63
11/23 10:51:57 ET