West Alabama (2-2) vs. The Citadel (3-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 30, 3 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: SECU Arena (5,200) -- Towson, Maryland. Television: None. Home Record: UWA 1-1, Citadel 3-0. Away Record: UWA 0-1, Citadel 0-4. Neutral Record: UWA 1-0, Citadel 0-1. Conference Record: UWA 0-0, Citadel 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Battle 4 Atlantis Mainland tournament concludes on Saturday afternoon, as the West Alabama Tigers take on The Citadel Bulldogs at SECU Arena.
While The Citadel has fared well at home this season, winning all three of its games against Presbyterian (82-68), North Greenville (83-53) and Montreat (109-64), it has lost all five matchups away from Charleston, South Carolina. The Bulldogs fell flat in Friday's opening round, losing to the host squad Towson, 84-59.
West Alabama, which operates out of Gulf South Conference at the Division II level, defeated Abilene Christian on Friday night, 77-67, for its first win over a Division I opponent since 1980. The Tigers are now 2-2 on the season, although this matchup counts as an exhibition contest for them and thus will not go toward their official record or statistics.
The Bulldogs and Tigers have never before met in men's basketball.
The Tigers played well at both ends of the court in their historic win on Friday night, as they shot 45.7 percent from the floor while holding ACU under 39 percent, and they also took advantage of their ample free-throw attempts by draining 30-of-33 at the line. Pacing five players in double figures was Sandy Underwood with 22 points, while Jarell Byrd logged a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Desmond Raymond netted 14 points off the bench, while Aaron Cobb and Mychael Bester added 13 and 11 points, respectively. The strong scoring effort was nothing new for West Alabama, which puts up 75.5 points per game on 47.2 percent field goal shooting. Underwood is an elite scorer with 23.8 points per game on just shy of 50 percent from the field. Raymond pours in 11.5 points per game while handing out 3.5 assists per contest, while Byrd (10.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg) is a sturdy force in the paint.
The Bulldogs fell behind by 15 points at the half against Towson and never even sniffed the lead from there. They shot a low 39.3 percent from the field on the afternoon, and they lost both the rebounding (48-33) and turnover (15-13) battles. Warren Sledge was the team's top performer with 14 points off the bench on 5-of-8 from the field. Brian White added 10 points, and while Ashton Moore stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, seven rebounds and six assists, he also committed seven turnovers. The Citadel is usually more effective scoring points, as it nets 73.4 per contest, but it still sits in the red in terms of scoring (-2.0), rebounding (-2.6) and turnover (-1.6) margins. Matt Van Scyoc is shooting just a shade over 40 percent from the floor, but he generates enough volume to lead the team with 16.1 points per game. White (14.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg) is solid in the frontcourt, while Moore (9.9 ppg) and Dylen Setzekorn (8.8 ppg) have combined for 75 assists.
West Alabama made a statement in its impressive opening-round victory, and after going 33 years between wins against D-I schools it will be anxious to earn a couple on back-to-back nights, but The Citadel, while it has struggled, will present some mismatches out on the perimeter.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: The Citadel 75, West Alabama 69
11/30 10:35:58 ET