Middle Tennessee (11-4) at South Alabama (7-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mitchell Center (10,041) -- Mobile, Alabama. Television:
None. Home Record: MTSU 8-0, USA 3-2. Away Record: MTSU 3-3, USA 4-2. Neutral
Record: MTSU 0-1, USA 0-2. Conference Record: MTSU 3-1, USA 4-1. Series
Record: Middle Tennessee leads, 15-12.
GAME NOTES: Something has got to give as the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
visit the Mitchell Center to take on the South Alabama Jaguars in a Sun Belt
The Blue Raiders own the lowest scoring defense in the SBC with a mere allowed
average of 59.5 ppg. A stingy defensive effort was not enough the last time
Middle Tennessee took the floor however, as it fell, 66-60, in overtime at
Arkansas State for its first loss in league play. The setback also snapped the
team's four-game winning streak. In addition to leading the conference in
scoring defense, the Blue Raiders are fourth on the other end with 69.2 ppg.
South Alabama occupies the number one spot on the SBC's scoring offense list
with 71.3 ppg. The Jaguars exhibited their ability of filling it up on
Thursday as they outlasted ULM to earn a 77-72 decision on the road. The
victory was the third in four games for USA, which is just 3-2 at the Mitchell
This will be the 28th meeting in history between these schools. Middle
Tennessee holds a 15-12 all-time series lead after winning the three most
Although Marcos Knight poured in a game-high 23 points and came up just one
rebound shy of a double-double, Middle Tennessee could not find its touch in
overtime and lost by six to Arkansas State. Tweety Knight chipped in 12 points
and six boards off the bench, but the team went just 19-of-59 from the floor
and was outscored, 21-19, at the charity stripe even though ASU missed 15 free
throws. Knight is the only Blue Raider with a double-digit scoring average at
12.9 ppg, but Shawn Jones is extremely close (9.9 ppg) to joining him. Jones
is also pulling down 6.4 rpg, which is a team-high.
Augustine Rubit's campaign for SBC Player of the Year continued on Thursday as
he registered an impressive double-double of 32 points and 13 rebounds to push
the Jaguars past the Warhawks. Rubit's effort on the glass gave USA a 39-15
edge in the rebounding battle, but ULM was able to convert 25 its turnovers
into 33 points. Rubit is second in the league in scoring (20 ppg) and first in
rebounding (11 rpg). Second leading scorer Xavier Roberson (13.6 ppg) did not
play versus ULM due to suspension, but Dre Conner added 12 points off the
bench to make up for his absence.
Although Rubit is playing at an extremely high level and Middle Tennessee is
on the road, the Blue Raiders still hold a slight edge in this one. South
Alabama will have trouble keeping up as the experienced visitors roll into
Mobile with their very efficient team play. If Roberson is not back in the
lineup for the Jaguars, they will need another player to provide supplemental
scoring to give Rubit some relief.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Middle Tennessee 71, South Alabama 65
01/05 10:36:50 ET
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