Men's College Basketball
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F-I-U (7-18) at Arkansas State (11-17)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 18th, 8:05 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (10,529) -- Jonesboro, Arkansas. Television: None. Home Record: FIU 1-8, ASU 9-5. Away Record: FIU 5-8, ASU 2-12. Neutral Record: FIU 1-2, ASU 0-0. Conference Record: FIU 4-9, ASU 5-8. Series Record: Arkansas State leads, 20-5.

GAME NOTES: Two struggling Sun Belt Conference squads are set to do battle in Jonesboro tonight, as the Arkansas State Red Wolves play host the FIU Golden Panthers.

FIU's 7-18 overall record is the second-worst in the Sun Belt and it has not done much better in conference play, going just 4-9. The Golden Panthers seemed to be hitting their stride with back-to-back wins to open up the month of February, but they have since dropped three in a row, including a 78-64 decision to Arkansas-Little Rock on Thursday.

Arkansas State has fared better than FIU this season, but not by much, sporting an 11-17 overall record and a 5-8 mark in conference. The Red Wolves had lost five of their previous six games before getting back in the win column against Troy on Thursday, 83-59.

In 25 all-time meetings, Arkansas State has a commanding 20-5 lead in the series with FIU, though the Golden Panthers won the last meeting, 75-70, on January 6, 2011.

FIU possesses one of the worst offenses in the Sun Belt, connecting on 41.2 percent of its field goal attempts for a scoring average of just 62.2 ppg. The Golden Panthers struggled again in Thursday's loss, putting up 64 points or fewer for the sixth time in seven games, while shooting just 30.5 percent from the floor and allowing UALR to hit 52.1 percent of its total shots. Phil Taylor scored 17 points in defeat, but he made only five of his 13 field goal attempts. The Golden Panthers have an impressive trio of scorers in DeJuan Wright (15.7 ppg), Jeremy Allen (13.8 ppg) and Taylor (13.8 ppg), but their individual performances have not resulted in the team's overall success. The three have been effective from beyond the three-point line, combining for 4.7 long-range baskets per game at better than 38 percent efficiency. FIU leads the conference in steals (7.6 per game), but still has a turnover margin of -0.44.

After failing to top 70 points in 13 of its last 16 games, Arkansas State exploded for 83 points against Troy on Thursday at 56.4 percent field goal efficiency, which included an 11-of-21 effort from beyond the arc. The Red Wolves held the Trojans to just 59 points as they registered their largest margin of victory in a conference game this season. Trey Finn was on fire in the win, connecting on 7-of-12 shots, including 6-of-9 from three-point range in tallying 20 points. He now averages 10.5 ppg on the year. Malcoln Kirkland has been the Red Wolves' most effective player, scoring 12.1 ppg, grabbing 5.9 rpg, and ranking second in the Sun Belt in field goal percentage (.571). Marcus Hooten tallies 11.2 ppg and Brandon Peterson adds 9.2 ppg and 7.8 rpg, second-best in the conference. While ASU ranks in the middle of the pack in the league in terms of three-point baskets (142), it has the second-best three-point field goal percentage (.369).

Despite Arkansas State's struggles this season, it has defended its home court well and should be able to carry over momentum from Thursday's win to take down lowly FIU.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas State 72, FIU 62

02/18 10:43:21 ET

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