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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 29, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: SECU Arena (5,200) -- Towson, Maryland. Television: None. Home Record: West Alabama 1-1, ACU 0-0. Away Record: West Alabama 0-1, ACU 0-6. Neutral Record: West Alabama 0-0, ACU 2-0. Conference Record: West Alabama 0-0, ACU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The first-ever meeting between the West Alabama Tigers and the Wildcats of Abilene Christian takes place on Friday night at SECU Arena in Maryland as part of the Battle 4 Atlantic Tournament.
According to West Alabama sources, the team has won just one of three official outings thus far in 2013-14. The lone victory was a 105-75 blowout of Stillman in the opener, while the latest setback was a 68-53 defeat at the hands of Montevallo at home on Wednesday afternoon.
As for the Wildcats, a team which won't play its first official home game of the season until hosting Hillsdale Baptist on Dec. 3, they had put together a pair of victories over Western New Mexico and Northern New Mexico during the Angelo State Classic last week, but on Monday the team fell back into the loss column with a 93-65 defeat at the hands of Xavier as part of this event.
On Saturday both teams will be back in action in this facility once more, with Abilene Christian challenging host Towson and the Tigers going up against The Citadel.
West Alabama shot only 35.3 percent from the field and 4-of-19 behind the 3- point line in the meeting with Montevallo a few nights back, more than enough to keep the team from breaking into the win column once again. The Tigers trailed the entire game as Sandy Underwood led the offensive attack with 16 points and five boards. Jarell Byrd tacked on 13 points and cleared a team- best eight rebounds, followed by Mychael Bester with 10 points and another four on the glass, which means the rest of the roster combined for only five rebounds in the setback.
Underwood leads the team in scoring with 24.3 ppg, although his 26.3 percent accuracy beyond the arc could stand some immediate attention. Desmond Raymond is the only other player in double figures with his 10.7 ppg, his 4.3 apg pacing the unit has he tries desperately to get his teammates involved in the action.
Xavier completely dominated ACU in the last outing, shooting 57.9 percent from the floor and 6-of-13 beyond the arc, although the Musketeers left the Wildcats with a glimmer of hope as the hosts shot only 21-of-36 at the free- throw line. Unfortunately, Abilene Christian made it to the charity stripe just 14 times, knocking down 10 opportunities. Harrison Hawkins emerged as the lone double-digit scorer for the visitors with his 15 points on 5-of-15 shooting from the floor.
Hawkins is producing a team-best 11.5 ppg at the moment and is tied with La Darrien Williams (11.0 ppg) for the lead with 24 assists, but at the same time he has turned the ball over 34 times and is shooting an abysmal 29.3 percent from the floor. His overall accuracy is so poor that it actually pales in comparison to his 35.7 percent effort beyond the arc. But Hawkins isn't the only player with shooting woes because the entire unit is connecting on just 36.4 percent at the moment.
Even though the Wildcats have had their issues in the early going, they still have the talent that should get them over the hump against West Alabama, at least for today.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Abilene Christian 67, West Alabama 64
11/29 10:48:38 ET