Troy (4-5) vs. Western Illinois (4-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, December 20, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (10,270) -- Logan, Utah. Television: None. Home Record: Troy 4-0, WIU 4-0. Away Record: Troy 0-4, WIU 0-6. Neutral Record: Troy 0-1, WIU 0-0. Conference Record: Troy 0-0, WIU 0-0. Series Record: Western Illinois leads, 6-0.
GAME NOTES: The Basketball Travelers Classic at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah carries on Friday night, as the Troy Trojans battle the Leathernecks of Western Illinois.
Last night, the Trojans went up against UC Santa Barbara in the first game of the event and were dismissed in the final seconds in a 57-54 final. The loss was the second in a row for the program, and dropped them a game under .500 on the season.
As for the Leathernecks, they went up against tournament host Utah State in the late game on Thursday and were dealt a 68-52 setback. The loss was the second straight for a team that is now 0-6 in true road games this season.
In terms of an all-time series between these two programs, WIU has won all six prior matchups.
The teams will be back in action once more on Saturday, as Troy clashes with Utah State and the Leathernecks tangle with UCSB.
After scoring just 43 points against Kansas State in the previous game, the Trojans tallied a slightly better 54 versus UC Santa Barbara last night, but in the waning moments the squad still suffered the loss on a late 3-pointer by the Gauchos. In a game that featured six ties and eight lead changes, Troy was paced by Hunter Williams with his 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting beyond the arc, followed by Jeff Mullahey with 11, but he converted just 3-of-13 from the floor as the team knocked down only 31.3 percent.
Antoine Myers, who missed all five of his field goal chances and finished with just five points in 27 minutes, remains the leading scorer on the season for the Trojans with his 12.4 ppg, accounting for 32 assists to pace the program in that department as well. Kevin Thomas (11.4 ppg) and Williams (10.4 ppg) also lend a hand on offense for a team generating 67.8 ppg.
The Leathernecks watched host Utah State shoot 61.1 percent from the field in the first half on Thursday night and that's all it took for USU to cruise to the double-digit win at home. Western Illinois, which converted 3-of-15 behind the 3-point line and 39.6 percent from the field, was outscored at the charity stripe by a huge 25-9 margin, a disturbing trend for the Leathernecks. Jordan Foster was the lone double-digit scorer for the visitors with 10 points.
Even though they came up small last night, Garret Covington and Adam Link still lead the team in scoring overall with 11.7 and 11.0 ppg, respectively, although the former is now converting just 36.5 percent from the field and 26.9 percent beyond the arc. As a team, Western Illinois has made good on a disappointing 28.2 percent on the perimeter and an even more miserable 57.8 percent at the free-throw line.
Forget the fact that Troy has never beaten the Leathernecks because the problem Western Illinois is having at the free-throw line of late could change all that tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Troy 68, Western Illinois 60
12/20 10:30:59 ET