UC Davis (2-6) vs. Southern Illinois (6-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, December 20, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (10,270) -- Logan, Utah. Television: None. Home Record: UC Davis 1-2, SIU 3-0. Away Record: UC Davis 1-4, SIU 3-2. Neutral Record: UC Davis 0-0, SIU 0-0. Conference Record: UC Davis 0-0, SIU 0-0. Series Record: Southern Illinois leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The World Vision Basketball Challenge gets underway in Logan, Utah on Thursday, as the Southern Illinois Salukis challenge the UC Davis Aggies in non-conference action at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The Aggies, winners of just two games in eight attempts, are shooting for back-to-back victories for the first time this season. Earlier this week the team tackled Eastern Washington at home in a convincing 87-65 final, snapping a four-game slide in the process.
As for the Salukis, they've won six of their first eight outings, with the two setbacks coming against the likes of Saint Louis and Western Kentucky, both on the road. The team was in action on Monday versus New Orleans and topped the Privateers by a score of 74-61 at home, the second straight win and the third in the last four outings for the program.
Southern Illinois leads the all-time series between the teams by a count of 2-0, thanks to a 76-74 triumph in the most recent encounter way back in 1972.
Both of these squads will be back in action on Friday and Saturday, switching opponents with Utah State and Nicholls State for this event.
Matching their best offensive effort of the season thus far, the Aggies also registered their largest margin of victory as well, although with just two wins that wasn't hard to do. Tyler Les came off the bench to score a game-high 18 points, leading five players in double figures as UC Davis converted half of its shots from the floor overall and 10-of-20 beyond the arc. Josh Ritchart added 14 points, J.T. Adenrele 13 and 10 boards, followed by Ryan Sypkens and Paolo Mancasola with 10 points apiece. Corey Hawkins, who finished with nine points and eight rebounds in the last outing, still leads the team in scoring overall with his 17.8 ppg, even though he is shooting just 27.8 percent out on the perimeter. Sypkens (15.4 ppg) and Adenrele (12.0 ppg) bring balance to the offense, one that is generating an average of 73.2 ppg.
It was slow going in the first half for the Salukis against New Orleans, as the hosts shot only 33.3 percent from the floor and 1-of-9 behind the 3-point line in the first half, but after the break SIU knocked down almost 60 percent from the field in order to secure the double-digit win. Dantiel Daniels led four players in double figures with his 20 points, followed by Anthony Beane with 17, Jalen Pendleton chipped in 14 points off the bench and Jeff Early finished with 12 points and seven boards in the triumph. Early leads the team in scoring with his 14.6 ppg, shooting an impressive 57.0 percent from the field as he remains close enough to the basket at both ends of the floor in order to come up with 7.6 rpg as well. Jackson (13.6 ppg), Beane (10.5 ppg) and Daniels (10.1 ppg) are also crucial parts of the puzzle for a team outscoring its opponents by almost 10 ppg.
Playing away from home has not been easy on the Aggies this season and the prospect of getting up for three games in as many days is daunting, so perhaps mentally they'll already be looking beyond this contest.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern Illinois 76, UC Davis 70
12/20 10:36:25 ET