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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 30, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sullivan Arena (8,700) -- Anchorage, Alaska. Television: None. Home Record: Denver 0-1, Anchorage 3-2. Away Record: Denver 0-1, Anchorage 2-1. Neutral Record: Denver 0-2, Anchorage 0-0. Conference Record: Denver 0-0, Anchorage 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Two teams that have struggled in the first two rounds will square off during the final day of the Great Alaska Shootout, as the Denver Pioneers tangle with the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves at Sullivan Arena.
Denver is still in search of its first win of the season entering play on Saturday. The Pioneers were set down once again on Friday when they took a 68-56 beating from Pepperdine. Denver, which has faced a difficult early slate, is 0-4 with additional losses against California (77-50), Stanford (66-57) and Harvard (68-60).
Even as the hosts, the Seawolves have not been able to use the home court advantage to their advantage. Alaska-Anchorages was beaten by Indiana State on Friday, 97-87, after falling to TCU, 73-70, in the opening round. The struggles during this tournament have moved the Seawolves to 5-3 overall.
There has never been a meeting, prior to this one, between the Pioneers and Seawolves.
Even with five players scoring in double figures, including a game-high 28 points from Kyle Fossman, the Seawolves couldn't shoot their way past Indiana State. A slow start in the first half doomed the Seawolves, who hit only 38.7 percent of their shots in the first 20 minutes.
In the loss to Indiana State, the Seawolves relied heavily on shooting from 3- point distance as they knocked down 11 shots from beyond the arc. Alaska- Anchorage has been a perimeter-based offense most of the year, hoisting 237 shots from 3-point range while knocking down 90 of them. Travis Thompson (21.3 ppg) is the leading scorer and one of the team's most prolific 3-point shooters, with a 27-of-69 success rate from distance. Fossman (16.9 ppg) has also been a productive shooter, with a ton of attempts from 3-point range (29- of-64). Brian McGill (16.9 ppg) and Teancum Stafford (15.5 ppg) are also relied on for scoring purposes.
Denver was outclassed at both ends of the floor in its loss to Pepperdine. The Pioneers converted only 33.9 percent of their shots from the floor while being scorched by a better than 70 percent performance from the Waves. Denver was able to keep the game from getting too out of hand by earning an 18-6 edge on second-chance points.
The poor offensive showing was just another on the list for the Pioneers this season. Denver is suffering from a -14 scoring margin this season primarily due to its failings in shooting as the Pioneers are connecting on only 38 percent of their attempts from the field. It certainly doesn't help that they are also letting opponents hit on nearly 52 percent of their field goal tries. Chris Udofia (10.5 ppg) and Jalen Love (10.5 ppg) serve as the best scoring options on a team with very few. Love showed some promising signs in the loss to Pepperdine, as he scored a season-high 20 points while hitting 4-of-7 shots from 3-point range for his second-straight game in double figures.
Alaska-Anchorage has its best shot of the weekend on Saturday against the offensively-challenged Pioneers. However, with Love heating up the Pioneers may have finally begun to find some consistency on offense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Denver 65, Alaska-Anchorage 62
11/30 10:36:14 ET
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