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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 19, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: GSU Sports Arena (4,500) -- Atlanta, Georgia. Television: None. Home Record: TSU 0-0, USA 1-0. Away Record: TSU 0-0, USA 1-0. Neutral Record: TSU 0-3, USA 0-0. Conference Record: TSU 0-0, USA 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Tennessee State Tigers and the South Alabama Jaguars meet in Atlanta on Monday afternoon as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
The round-robin tournament will take place over the next three days, with Monmouth and host Georgia State also joining the action. Each team will play each other once.
Tennessee State opened up the season with three straight road games and it has come up empty-handed in all of them, suffering losses at BYU (81-66), South Dakota State (78-71) and Minnesota (72-43). The Tigers will not play their first home game until a Nov. 26 matchup with Fisk University.
South Alabama began the year with a Coaches vs. Cancer Classic bout at Florida State and it shocked the Seminoles by coming away with a 76-71 win. The Jaguars followed that up with another win over William Carey (82-64) to move to 2-0 on the young season.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs on the hardwood.
After playing the first half to a 36-36 tie, South Alabama pulled away in the second half to coast to an 18-point win over William Carey in its last game. The team shot a lofty 50 percent from the field, although that included just 33.3 percent from three-point range (6-of-18). Augustine Rubit is considered to be one of the top forwards in the Sun Belt Conference this season and he showed why the last time out by shooting 8-of-13 from the field for 20 points while also grabbing nine rebounds. Mychal Ammas was arguably even better than Rubit, going 8-of-12 from the floor for 19 points while adding 13 boards and three assists. Xavier Roberson provided energy off the bench by connecting on 4-of-7 three-point attempts en route to 15 points. Although he scored just eight points, Antoine Allen was one of the biggest reasons why the Jaguars were able to upset FSU as he came off the bench to shoot 7-of-15 (4-of-5 from three-point range) en route to a team-high 21 points.
It has not been a strong start to the season for Tennessee State to say the least, as it is shooting just 32 percent from the field, and it reached new lows in its latest loss to Minnesota. The Tigers managed to make just 14-of-59 field goal attempts (.237), including 4-of-22 from beyond the arc, as they put up a season-low 43 points. Not only could they not score the basketball but they also couldn't hang on to it, as they committed 20 turnovers. Kellen Thornton tallied a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds, and Robert Covington and Jordan Cyphers netted 10 apiece. Despite shooting poorly from the field like the rest of his teammates (.350), Covington has been the team's best player in the early going with 14.0 ppg and 6.3 rpg, but both numbers are below his fantastic season in 2011-12 (17.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg). Thornton (13.0 ppg, 8.7 rpg) has also been effective in the early going.
The strength of both teams is in the frontcourt, so Rubit and Covington will likely be battling it out all afternoon, but Tennessee State has yet to play up to its potential, and South Alabama appears to be in rare form, giving the Jaguars the advantage.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Alabama 74, Tennessee State 68
11/19 10:41:41 ET
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