Appalachian State (9-12) at Georgia Southern (10-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 7, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hanner Fieldhouse (4,358) -- Statesboro, Georgia. Television: None. Home Record: ASU 7-3, GSU 6-3. Away Record: ASU 2-9, GSU 3-9. Neutral Record: ASU 0-0, GSU 1-1. Conference Record: ASU 5-5, GSU 4-6. Series Record: Appalachian State leads, 23-17.
GAME NOTES: Both the Appalachian State Mountaineers and the Georgia Southern Eagles attempt to build momentum off of their wins from last Saturday, as they face off at Hanner Fieldhouse for a Southern Conference duel.
ASU had been losers of four of its previous five games heading into the recent clash with Western Carolina, where it came away with a 74-65 triumph to improve to 9-12 overall and to an even 5-5 in conference. The Mountaineers haven't experienced much success on the road however, winning just two of 11 games away from Boone, NC.
GSU was also reeling entering last Saturday's action, having lost three of four, but it began a season-long, three-game homestand with a thrilling 59-57 win over Chattanooga. Even with the victory, the Eagles are still just 10-13 this season, which includes a 4-6 mark in league play.
ASU claimed the first meeting between the two squads this season, 64-62, in overtime on Jan. 24, to take a 23-17 lead in the all-time series.
The Mountaineers controlled matters versus WCU over the weekend, shooting nearly 53 percent from the field, including 7-of-14 from 3-point range, in a game they never trailed. For the third time this season, Nathan Healy scored a career-high 24 points, doing so on 8-of-11 from the field and 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. He also added eight rebounds and seven steals to his stat line. Jay Canty was also strong in the win, tallying 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists. ASU has had little trouble putting points on the board this year, netting 71.1 ppg, but it sits with a sub-.500 record due to its poor scoring defense (72.4 ppg). The team's strength comes in the frontcourt with the duo of Healy (14.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and Canty (14.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.6 apg). Healy brings plenty of versatility to the table as well with 38 3-pointers, 2.1 spg and 1.5 bpg. Tab Hamilton chips in 10.5 ppg, and Tevin Baskin makes the most of his role as sixth man by providing 10.3 ppg.
GSU appeared to have its latest game well in hand, up by 21 early in the second half, but Chattanooga caught fire down the stretch, ripping off a 30-8 run to take a one-point lead in the final minute. The Eagles answered however, as Eric Ferguson drained a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left to capture the victory. GSU shot a modest 40 percent from the field and was outscored at the foul line by a 22-3 margin, but it made eight 3-poiners to Chattanooga's one, and it limited its mistakes with just five turnovers. C.J. Reed paced the squad with 19 points and five assists, while Ferguson finished with 16 points. On the season, GSU boasts a stellar scoring defense at 64.0 ppg, but it has difficulty scoring enough points to support it (61.1 ppg). Ferguson shoots greater than 48 percent from the field for his team-high 14.2 ppg, adding 7.0 rpg, 1.0 bpg and 1.8 spg for good measure. Reed dishes out nearly four assists per contest to go with his 12.4 ppg, while Tre Bussey adds 10.1 ppg.
ASU has not traveled very well this season, and even though it sports better scoring talent than GSU, the Eagles will use their stout defense and home court advantage to carry them to victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia Southern 65, Appalachian State 63
02/07 10:35:38 ET