South Dakota (0-2) vs. NC Central (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 16, 3 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Arena-Auditorium (15,000) -- Laramie, Wyoming. Television: None. Home Record: S. Dakota 0-0, NC Central 1-0. Away Record: S. Dakota 0-1, NC Central 0-2. Neutral Record: S. Dakota 0-1, NC Central 1-0. Conference Record: S. Dakota 0-0, NC Central 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: In the third and final day of the Global Sports Hoops Showcase the NC Central Eagles will go up against the South Dakota Coyotes at Arena- Auditorium Friday afternoon.
It's been an up-and-down season for NC Central, as the team has alternated wins and losses in the first week. The most recent decision ended in a 59-55 win for the Eagles over Southern just a day after suffering a 73-60 loss to host the host team in this event, Wyoming. This is the final game of the Showcase after which NC Central will return home for its next three games.
South Dakota failed yet again to get into the win column as it suffered a 71-51 loss to Wyoming on Thursday night. The setback came on the heels of a season-opening 83-79 defeat to Southern in the Coyotes' first game of the Showcase. After this matchup, USD will still have to wait to play its first home game as it has a road contest against Gonzaga next on the schedule.
This is the first meeting between these two teams on the hardwood.
The Coyotes had a miserable first half against Wyoming connecting on just 7- of-28 field goal attempts en route to a 35-20 halftime deficit. Despite improving slightly in the second half (9-of-25), South Dakota was unable to dig itself out of the massive hole. Case Kasperbauer was the leading scorer in the game for the Coyotes with 12 points.
Despite a poor performance against Wyoming, Trevor Gruis has been the top performer for the Coyotes this season. The junior center has been scoring at a high rate (15.0 ppg) while also managing to attack the boards (7.5 pg) at a high level. No other player on the roster is averaging double figures, although several are within range. Kasperbauer (9.5 ppg) had his best scoring night of the season against Wyoming, while Karim Rowson (9.5 ppg) is also near double figures scoring on the season. Senior guard Juevol Myles (9.0 ppg) is another player in that area but desperately needs to improve his shooting. Myles has connected on only 5-of-21 shots through the first two games. In fact, the Coyotes could stand to improve offensively as they are shooting just 39.8 percent from the field.
NC central overcame a 32.1 percent shooting effort against Southern by constantly getting to the line. The Eagles finished with 25 points from the charity stripe to just 14 for the Jaguars. Ray Williams was particularly adept at drawing fouls and finished with 20 points, 12 of which came from the foul line. Stanton Kidd matched his 13 points with 13 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
Willis has been the top scorer for the Eagles this season (15.5 ppg), but since he has the ball in his hands so often he also leads the team in turnovers (10). Williams is normally a more efficient scorer from the field than his 4-of-15 effort against Southern indicates. The 6-foot-6 guard is shooting 44.7 percent on the season, including 5-of-11 from beyond the arc. Kidd has been a consistent force down low (13.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and he has been in double figures in three of the four games. Jeremy Ingram is the top reserve for the Eagles, producing 13.0 ppg off the bench. However, he has been erratic from 3-point range (3-of-13). Also making noise off the bench is Drimir Ferguson, who has a team-high 11 assists to go with 11 steals.
Neither of these teams will have any benefit in terms of home court advantage. With that said, NC Central has shown more consistency on offense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: NC Central 64, South Dakota 61
11/16 10:39:01 ET