Nicholls State (1-7) vs. UC Davis (3-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 22, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (10,270) -- Logan, Utah. Television: None. Home Record: Nicholls State 1-0, UC Davis 1-2. Away Record: Nicholls State 0-6, UC Davis 1-5. Neutral Record: Nicholls State 0-1, UC Davis 1-0. Conference Record: Nicholls State 0-0, UC Davis 0-0. Series Record: UC Davis leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The three-day World Vision Basketball Challenge draws to a close on Saturday, as the UC Davis Aggies settle in against the Nicholls State Colonels in non-conference play at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah.
Nicholls State, a team which plays in the Southland Conference, has come up empty in the first two games of this event, first losing to host Utah State on Thursday night by a score of 79-72, and then bowing to Southern Illinois on Friday in a 65-53 final, which means the group has now fallen in five straight games. The lone win for the Colonels came against New Orleans last month, 92-79.
As for the Aggies, they are hoping to leave the state of Utah with a pair of victories in three tries. The team landed in Logan after defeating Eastern Washington on Monday, taking down Southern Illinois (78-70) in order to register their first set of back-to-back wins on the season. However, Friday was a different story for UC Davis as the team was topped by the host Aggies in a 73-61 final.
The Aggies won the only previous meeting between the two programs back in 2007-08 with a narrow 69-67 final.
With just 26.1 percent shooting from the floor in the first half last night, the Colonels dug themselves a hole that was too big to climb out of as they suffered the double-digit loss to Southern Illinois. Fred Hunter tallied 14 points and seven rebounds for a group that finished the contest making only 36.2 percent from the floor. Dantrell Thomas tacked on 13 points, six assists and five more boards, but still Nicholls was handled on the glass, 42-29. Now winless in all seven games away from home in the early going, the Colonels are being outscored by more than 13 ppg. However, trying his best to keep Nicholls relevant is Hunter who is one of the top performers in the Southland Conference with 22.0 ppg and 7.7 rpg, although he is shooting just 3-of-16 behind the 3-point line. Defensively, this is a program allowing foes to shoot not just 50.1 percent from the field but also 42.5 percent out on the perimeter.
The Aggies shot a strong 55.2 percent from the field in the first half against USU last night, but then the second half saw the visitors hit the skids as they made good on just 33.3 percent from the floor, including 3-of-14 beyond the arc, en route to the double-digit setback. Ryan Sypkens tried to keep hope alive with 12 points, followed by Corey Hawkins and reserve Clint Bozner who both tallied 11 points in the setback. Ryan Howley also came off the bench to offer up seven points and a game-high 12 rebounds, five of which came at the offensive end of the floor, but that also meant the rest of the roster accounted for just a single offensive rebound in the meeting. In the last four games the Aggies have had a different leading scorer each time out, but overall the top performer remains Hawkins with his 17.3 ppg thanks to a sensational 93.1 percent shooting at the free-throw line and not so much his 38.3 percent from the floor and 23.9 percent on the outside. Sypkens (15.0 ppg) and J.T. Adenrele (11.9 ppg) are also crucial pieces to the offensive puzzle for the group.
Except for Hunter, the Colonels are probably overmatched across the board, even by a team that has won a total of just three games. Expect the Nicholls star to get his points, but not enough to help the squad stay out of the loss column yet again.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UC Davis 66, Nicholls State 60
12/22 10:39:45 ET