San Diego (3-5) at Southern Utah (2-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 4, 9:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Centrum (5,300) -- Cedar City, Utah. Television: None. Home Record: USD 3-2, SUU 2-0. Away Record: USD 0-3, SUU 0-3. Neutral Record: USD 0-0, SUU 0-2. Conference Record: USD 0-0, SUU 0-0. Series Record: San Diego leads, 9-0.
GAME NOTES: Sporting a perfect record in the all-time series against Southern Utah, the San Diego Toreros try to keep that mark unblemished as they venture to the Centrum in Cedar City, Utah for a non-conference battle with the Thunderbirds on Tuesday night.
San Diego, which has won all nine of the previous encounters between the programs, is winless on the road in three attempts so far this season, so perhaps this might be the right time for SUU to strike. The Toreros are currently riding a three-game slide and have fallen in five of the last six outings overall. The most recent setback for the program came on Saturday as it bowed to Stephen F. Austin by a score of 56-51.
As for the Thunderbirds, they began the new season with four straight defeats against nationally-ranked Gonzaga and a number of other quality opponents. The squad has managed to grab two wins in the last three outings, but those have come against the likes of Carroll College (68-58) and, most recently San Diego Christian (95-65) on Saturday at home.
Field goal attempts were hard to come by for the Toreros during their trip to Nacogdoches, Texas over the weekend, the team getting off a total of just 38 shots and hitting half of those as they fell by five points to SFA. Chris Anderson was tops on the scoring list for the visitors with 13 points, adding nine rebounds and six assists to lead on those categories as well, while Ken Rancifer chipped in another 11 points for a team that had one more turnover (20) than made field goal. Part of the problem for the Toreros in the early going is the absence of Chris Manresa who is sidelined with an injury, which means the squad is missing a potential double-digit scorer who delivered 14 points in his lone appearance this season. Anderson (10.0 ppg) and Johnny Dee (14.3 ppg) have had to take over the offense for San Diego and it really hasn't worked out, with the team producing just 63.9 ppg to this point.
Against San Diego Christian, the Thunderbirds had an opportunity to both pick up a win and pad some stats in the process as all five starters scored in double figures as well as reserve Jordan Johnson (10 points) who made all five of his field goal tries in just 15 minutes of action. Leading the way for SUU, as the team made good on 55.9 percent from the floor and held the opposition to just 32.8 percent accuracy, was Jackson Stevenett with 15 points and eight rebounds, followed by Damon Heuir and Wade Collie with 13 points apiece, while Jayson Cheesman and Jaren Jeffrey accounted for 12 and 10 points, respectively, as well as a collective 17 rebounds. SUU pounded the visitors on the glass by a 51-27 margin. Even with that huge difference on the boards, the Thunderbirds are only beating opponents in that area by less than five per game at the moment. Heuir (13.6 ppg) and Stevenett (13.5 ppg) maintain their status as the only double-digit scorers through seven games for a program that is posting 66.3 ppg, but giving up a hefty 77.7 ppg at the same time.
Southern Utah may be a part of the Big Sky Conference now, but with the way the Thunderbirds have started this season they'll find it difficult to pick up wins against most of their league foes, let alone San Diego here.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: San Diego 68, Southern Utah 57
12/04 10:52:56 ET