South Alabama (8-17) at Texas State (7-18)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 20, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Strahan Coliseum (7,200) -- San Marcos, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: South Alabama 7-6, Texas State 4-7. Away Record: South Alabama 1-9, Texas State 1-10. Neutral Record: South Alabama 0-2, Texas State 2-1. Conference Record: South Alabama 2-10, Texas State 3-9. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Texas State Bobcats have lost three games in a row, but will look end the skid when they host the South Alabama Jaguars in a Sun Belt Conference tilt at Strahan Coliseum.
South Alabama and Texas State are two teams struggling through Sun Belt play this season. The Jaguars lost six games in a row before finally putting one up in the win column Saturday against Western Kentucky, 69-62. USA is at the bottom of the conference standings with a 2-10 record.
Texas State has dropped three in a row and seven of the team's last nine games have resulted in losses. After a postponed Feb. 13 game with Georgia State was rescheduled to this past Monday, the Bobcats were downed by the Panthers in Atlanta, 68-41. Texas State is just a game ahead of South Alabama in the conference standings at 3-9.
This will be the first ever meeting between the new Sun Belt Conference foes. They'll meet on the hard wood again later this season on March 6 in Alabama.
South Alabama built a giant lead against Western Kentucky Saturday, but the Hilltoppers made a run at the Jaguars to come back. In the late stages of the game, WKU was down by just six points, but South Alabama was able to hold on for the seven-point win. Mychal Ammons led the Jaguars with 20 points in the contest, adding 11 rebounds for the double-double. Augustine Rubit also notched a double-double with 12 points and 13 boards, while Aakim Saintil also chipped in with 12 points. Antoine Allen rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points for USA.
Rubit has made his mark on the South Alabama program, etching his name on the leader board of several all-time statistical categories. This season, he leads the team in scoring with a 16.8 ppg average on 46.7 percent shooting from the floor. His 9.4 rpg mark is also a team high, as are his 29 blocked shots. Allen checks in behind Rubit at 10.7 ppg to round out the double-digit scorers for the Jaguars this season. Barrington Stevens tops the squad in assists with 67 total on the year.
Texas State ran up against the top team in the Sun Belt Conference Monday night in Georgia State, and took an early lead, although it was slim. Midway through the first half, Georgia State began to pull away after the Bobcats struggled to get anything going offensively. Texas State shot just 22.7 percent from the floor in the first half, and finished the game at 29.4 percent. Kavin Gilder-Tilbury and Victor Bermudez each scored seven points, which was a team high.
Joel Wright is the only Texas State player to average scoring figures in the double digits, netting 14.5 ppg on 44.6 percent shooting from the field. He also leads the team in rebounding at 6.1 rpg. Emani Gant is behind Wright at 9.6 ppg, and brings down an average of 5.1 rpg - good for second on Texas State. The Bobcats are averaging just 62.4 ppg through 25 games played on the year.
This first-ever meeting between USA and Texas State has lost much of its intrigue due to the two teams' standing in the conference. Even on the road, South Alabama has the edge just by having more pure talent alone. Between Rubit, Allen and Ammons, the Jaguars should be able to easily outscore the Bobcats.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Alabama 67, Texas State 54
02/20 10:38:34 ET