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Sun Belt Men’s Basketball: This Week’s Matchups, News and Notes

NEW ORLEANS – The Sun Belt Conference enters Week 5 with 10 men’s basketball games scheduled, five on Friday and five on Saturday. Friday night’s game between Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern will be aired on ESPN2 at 7:30 p.m. CT/8:30 p.m. ET.

App State heads into this weekend sitting in first-place with a one-game lead on Coastal Carolina in the East Division, while Texas State has a two-game lead on Louisiana in the West Division.  SBC Standings



THIS WEEK’S MATCHUPS:

(All times listed are Central)

Little Rock’s Ruot Monyyong has 10 double-doubles on the year, ranking third in the NCAA.

Coastal Carolina’s 86.1 points per game rank sixth in the NCAA. The Chanticleers are joined in the Top 20 by Georgia State, who ranks 16th in the NCAA in points per game with 83.1.

Coastal Carolina’s DeVante’ Jones ranks third in the NCAA in scoring (22.4 ppg) and is joined by South Alabama’s Michael Flowers, who ranks sixth in the NCAA (22.1 ppg).

2020-21 Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Stats 

EAST DIVISION:

COASTAL CAROLINA (11-3, 5-2 SBC) at GEORGIA SOUTHERN (10-7, 4-4 SBC)Coastal Carolina heads to Statesboro, Georgia this weekend to face Georgia Southern with game one of the series tipping off at 7:30 p.m. CT on Friday on ESPN2.

The all-time series between both teams is tied 5-5 with the Eagles winning the last four meetings. In all four of the wins, Georgia Southern has scored 70 or more points with a high of 79 points twice.

Coastal is the number one scoring offense in the conference averaging 86.1 ppg, and will face the number three scoring defense in the league in Georgia Southern who hold opponents to 67.4 ppg.

Coastal’s DeVante Jones is averaging a team-high 22.4 points this season which ranks first in the Sun Belt. Last weekend against Troy, Jones averaged 23.5 points over the course of two games with a high of 30 on Jan. 22. His performance guided the Eagles to a 2-0 weekend.

The Eagles have outperformed their opponents on the glass this season 640 to 552 with 209 rebounds coming on the offensive end. Georgia Southern’s 640 total rebounds rank first and its 37.6 rebounds per game is fifth best in the league.

Georgia Southern’s Zack Bryant leads the team in scoring this season as he is averaging 14.4 points and is averaging 12.9 points in conference games.  In his last two games, he is averaging 14 points and tallied 15 points in an overtime win against South Alabama on Jan. 22.

APP STATE (12-5, 6-2 SBC) at TROY (6-9, 1-5 SBC)Troy hosts first-place App State this weekend in a pair of East Division contests that start on Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m.

The Mountaineers and Trojans split the first meeting between both teams back on Jan. 1 and 2. App State leads the all-time series, 9-5. The Mountaineers are 4-1 in the last five meetings and are 6-1 when playing at Troy.

App State has three players averaging 10 or more points this season with Adrian Delph leading the pack with his 12.9 points per game.  Against Troy earlier in the season, he averaged 12.5 points. App State and Troy split the two games.

Teammate James Lewis Jr. leads the team in rebounding averaging 5.1 rebounds per game to go along with his 9.0 ppg this season. Lewis in his last three games is averaging 12.5 rebounds and was the team’s leading rebounder in all three of those games. His performance on the glass helped App State to a 3-0 mark.

Troy’s Kam Wood’s 16.8 points per game in conference games only ranks fourth in scoring and his 12.4 points per game ranks 23rd in overall scoring this season. In his last two games, he has tallied 49 points (24.5 ppg).

Zay Williams has been the Trojans force on glass as he is averaging a season-high 8.8 rebounds and has grabbed 33 rebounds total in his last three games combined.

SOUTH ALABAMA (9-8, 3-5 SBC) at GEORGIA STATE (8-4, 2-3 SBC) (Postponed)

WEST DIVISION:

LOUISIANA (11-4, 5-3 SBC) at TEXAS STATE (11-4, 5-1 SBC)The West Division first-place Bobcats play host to Louisiana this weekend in a pair of games that tip-off at 4 p.m. on Friday.

The Ragin’ Cajuns are 13-5 in the all-time series against the Bobcats. Louisiana is 4-3 when playing on the road but Texas State is 4-1 in the last five meetings. Both teams met in week one and split the pair of games with Louisiana taking the first one in 83-77 in overtime.

Louisiana enters the weekend as the conference’s leader in blocks (83) and blocks per game (5.53). Theo Akwuba’s 49 blocks is a team-high and the most a player has had since the 2018-19 season when JaKeenan Gant finished that season with 82.

Akwuba is also averaging a double-double in points (11.8) and rebounds (10.3) in 15 games played. His 155 total rebounds rank second in the Sun Belt. He has been the team’s leading rebounder in 11 of the 15 games.

Caleb Asberry and Mason Harrell are each averaging 12.8 points for Texas State this season.  Asberry ranks 17th in scoring in the Sun Belt, while Harrell is right behind him at 18th.  Asberry averaged 11.5 points and Harrell averaged 10.5 points during the first meeting against the Ragin’ Cajuns on opening weekend.

UT ARLINGTON (8-8, 4-4 SBC) at ARKANSAS STATE (5-8, 2-4 SBC)The Red Wolves host UTA this weekend for a set of conference games that tip-off on Friday at 6 p.m. CT. This is the first meeting this season between the two teams.

Arkansas State leads the all-time series 40-12 and is 24-7 when hosting, but the Mavericks are 8-2 in the last ten games in the series.

UTA’s offense ranks third in the conference averaging 77.1 points and will face a defense that gives up a little over 70 points (70.2 ppg) a game.

The Mavericks are paced by leading scorer Shahada Wells, who is averaging 16.1 points this season which places him fourth in the Sun Belt. In his last four games, he is averaging 16. 5 points with a high of 31 against Louisiana on Jan. 15 in a 91-86 win.

UTA has grabbed 626 rebounds this season which ranks second in the league and that effort is led by Fredelin De La Cruz who has grabbed 96 boards (48 off, 48 def) this season. His 96 rebounds rank 11th in the conference.

Arkansas State’s Norchad Omier is averaging a double-double in points (13.0) and rebounds (11.8) this season.  Last weekend against Louisiana, he picked up his sixth double-double of the season. He finished the game with 15 points and 13 boards.

ULM (4-11, 2-6 SBC) at LITTLE ROCK (8-7, 4-4 SBC)ULM travels to Little Rock, Arkansas to face the Trojans. The opening game tips off at 6:30 p.m. CT. The second game is Saturday at 4 p.m. CT.

Little Rock leads the series 20-17 that started back on Jan. 13 1955 and is 12-6 when hosting. In the last ten games, the series is tied at, 5-5.

ULM has forced 222 turnovers with 111 of them coming off steals this season. Their opponents have given them 111 extra positions.

The Warhawks are led by leading scorer Russell Harrison, who is averaging 13.7 points and ranks 13th in the Sun Belt. In his last game, he finished with 21 points and six boards, while going 5-of-14 from three-point range.

Little Rock’s Nikola Maric is averaging 14.4 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game this season. He is the second-leading scorer on the team. Maric has scored in double figures in 14 of 15 games this season with a high of 14 points.

Rout Monyyong leads the team in blocks with 27 and last weekend he tallied nine blocks in two games against UTA.

SUN BELT PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
Week 1 – Justin Roberts, Georgia State
Week 2 – Markquis Nowell, Little Rock
Week 3 – Adrian Delph, App State
Week 4 – DeVante’ Jones, Coastal Carolina
Week 5 – Corey Allen, Georgia State
Week 6 – Ben Coupet Jr., Little Rock
Week 7 – Rout Monyyong, Little Rock
Week 8 – Caleb Asberry, Texas State
Week 9 – DeVante’ Jones, Coastal Carolina

SUN BELT CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
The Sun Belt Conference Tournament moves to Pensacola, Florida this March with all 12 teams competing in the single-elimination tournament. The tournament will be played March 5-8 at both Pensacola State Community College and the Pensacola Bay Center. Pensacola will serve as home to the tournament through the 2024-25 season.

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