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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 18, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Chaifetz Arena (10,600) -- St. Louis, Missouri. Television: FSN-MW. Home Record: ISU 2-0, SLU 5-1. Away Record: ISU 4-1, SLU 3-0. Neutral Record: ISU 1-1, SLU 1-1. Conference Record: ISU 0-0, SLU 0-0. Series Record: Saint Louis leads, 10-4.
GAME NOTES: Two teams riding winning streaks will square off on Wednesday when the Indiana State Sycamores clash with the Saint Louis Billikens in non-league action at Chaifetz Arena.
A 74-63 road victory over UMKC pushed Indiana State to its fourth straight victory. The Sycamores are now 7-2 on the campaign, including an impressive 4-1 ledger in road contests. They won't have to be visitors in their next three games though, beginning against IUPUI on Saturday.
For Saint Louis, a 66-52 triumph over Wofford extended its winning streak to three games. The Billikens are currently boasting a 9-2 overall record, with five wins in six tries at Chaifetz Arena. They will close out a three-game homestand on Saturday against North Carolina A&T.
Saint Louis has won eight of the last nine meetings between these squads. The Billikens now lead the all-time series by a count of 10-4.
Indiana State was the superior team inside against UMKC. The Sycamores outscored the Kangaroos, 40-28 in the paint, while also holding a 40-32 edge on the boards. They also enjoyed an 18-11 scoring advantage off turnovers. Dawon Cummings netted 15 points to lead the way.
During the course of the first nine games the Sycamores have been hitting shots at an impressive rate. They are ranked 15th in the country in field-goal percentage (.500). Effective shooting has led to a healthy scoring average (79.1 ppg). A quartet of scorers keeps the offense humming. Jake Odum (13.1 ppg, 4.6 apg) is the leading scorer overall. However, he has been just as important for his ability to run the offense and find open teammates. Justin Gant (12.7 ppg), Cummings (11 ppg) and Manny Arop (10.9 ppg) are the main beneficiaries of Odum's distribution. Khristian Smith (9.6 ppg) and Devonte Brown (8.4 ppg) keep things fresh off the bench.
Despite allowing Wofford to score 21 points off of turnovers, Saint Louis was still able to complete its victory. The Billikens utilized a 34-23 advantage on the boards, and a 47.7 percent shooting effort, to earn the win. Jordair Jett tallied 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting as the leading scorer.
Playing well on the defensive end is the calling card for Saint Louis. As a team it lets up just 57.8 points per game. That mark ranks fifth in the country. The Billikens also fit in among the top five teams in the nation in assists allowed (8.3 pg). Jett (11.0 ppg, 4.6 apg) is one of only two players averaging in double figures. Like Odum, Jett also excels at getting others involved, leading the Billikens in assists. Dwayne Evans (14.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg) is actually the top scoring threat. However, Evans had only four points and six turnovers against Wofford. Mike McCall Jr. (9.7 ppg) and Rob Loe (9 ppg, 5.2 rpg) are important pieces as well. Loe had 14 points in the win over the Terriers.
It will be a real challenge for Indiana State to continue its strong offensive production against the defensively dominant Billikens. Expect Evans to bounce back and be a key part in another Saint Louis victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Louis 67, Indiana State 57
12/18 10:31:48 ET