Tennessee-Martin (2-8) at Samford (3-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 4, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pete Hanna Center (5,000) -- Birmingham, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: UT-Martin 2-3, Samford 3-0. Away Record: UT- Martin 0-5, Samford 0-6. Neutral Record: UT-Martin 0-0, Samford 0-0. Conference Record: UT-Martin 0-0, Samford 0-0. Series Record: Samford leads, 8-4.
GAME NOTES: Former foes from the Ohio Valley Conference get together tonight in Birmingham, as the Samford Bulldogs host the Skyhawks of Tennessee-Martin.
Samford, which is now a member of the Southern Conference, put an end to a six-game slide last week with a 79-68 victory over Campbellsville University, and then followed that up with a 76-73 triumph versus Kentucky State on Sunday in order to build some minor momentum heading into the week.
The Skyhawks have a total of just two wins in 10 tries in 2013-14, and neither of them has come against a Division I foe. Instead, Tenn-Martin has taken down the likes of Rochester College and Bethel, both by double figures. Since the latest victory over Bethel on Nov. 27, the Skyhawks have fallen back into the loss column with an 85-55 setback to UNLV on Saturday afternoon at the Thomas & Mack Center.
As far as the all-time series is concerned, the Bulldogs have won eight of the previous 12 matchups.
The Skyhawks didn't have a prayer against a UNLV team that was one game below .500 when they hooked up over the weekend in Sin City. UT-Martin shot only 35.2 percent from the floor and 4-of-13 behind the 3-point line, but what was even worse was the team's feeble 1-of-6 showing at the free-throw line. Myles Taylor scored 13 points for the visitors, Terence Smith 12 and Justin Childs 11 points in the losing cause.
Taylor has played in only seven of the team's 10 games, but he is still regarded as the top offensive threat for the group with his 17.3 ppg, not to mention the leader on the glass as well with 6.7 rpg. Mike Liabo, a 3-point shooting threat with 47.8 percent perimeter accuracy, checks in with 15.7 ppg, but he has appeared in only three games, starting one, for a unit that is producing 69.2 ppg, but at the same time allowing 80.3 ppg.
It was nip-and-tuck for the Bulldogs against Kentucky State the last time out, but in the end it was a 20-7 scoring advantage at the free-throw line that put Samford over the top. The Bulldogs had three players score 15 points as Tim Williams, Isaiah Williams and Raijon Kelly all answered the call, while reserve Jordan Capps contributed 12 points and tied for the team high with nine rebounds, and still Samford was beaten on the glass.
One of only two players to have started every game thus far for Samford, Tim Williams is responsible for a team-best 15.2 ppg and is also tops on the glass with 7.2 rpg, which makes it a little easier to accept the fact that he has but three assists and 18 turnovers. Isaiah Williams produces 13.2 ppg, thanks in large part to his 45.5 percent accuracy behind the 3-point line where the team was just 2-of-9 in the last outing.
While Samford hasn't exactly been shooting the lights out this season, what is clear is that the Bulldogs have more than enough talent to send UT-Martin to yet another loss tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Samford 72, Tennessee-Martin 66
12/04 10:31:54 ET