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Illinois State (2-4) at San Francisco (5-3)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 30, 11:15 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: War Memorial Gymnasium (5,300) -- San Francisco, California. Television: None. Home Record: ISU 0-2, USF 4-2. Away Record: ISU 1-1, USF 1-1. Neutral Record: ISU 1-1, USF 0-0. Conference Record: ISU 0-0, USF 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: The Illinois State Redbirds and the San Francisco Dons face off at War Memorial Gymnasium on Saturday night, as the Golden Gate Challenge comes to a close.

USF has opened its own tournament with back-to-back wins, taking down Sonoma State on Wednesday (96-73) prior to defeating Vermont on Friday night (72-61). The Dons are now 5-3 on the season and improved to 4-2 on their home floor.

Illinois State managed to get healthy against Division II Sonoma State on Friday night, as it easily won, 75-58. It was a much-welcomed victory for the Redbirds, who are just 2-4 on the season.

This event has brought these two programs together for the very first time.

The Redbirds nearly lost control of their contest early in the second half when Sonoma State brought its deficit to just one point, but they caught fire in the second half an eventually cruised to the 17-point victory. The difference in the game came from beyond the arc, where the Redbirds were outstanding at 10-of-21, while Sonoma State made just 3-of-12 long-range tries. Daishon Knight poured in 21 points, while Zach Lofton came off the bench to net 19. The duo was active from 3-point range, combining to shoot 6- of-8, and Lofton pitched in an 8-of-8 showing from the foul line. Unfortunately for Illinois State, it hasn't performed very well at the offensive end of the floor this season, connecting on just 39.1 percent of its field goal tries for 69.5 points per game, 7.5 points less than it allows. Lofton leads the team in scoring with 14.3 points per game, but his awful field goal percentage (.324) has been a detriment to the team. Knight (13.8 ppg) is also off to a poor shooting start (.391).

Although USF trailed Vermont late in the first half, it closed out the stanza on a 10-2 run to take a 30-26 advantage into intermission, and it never surrendered that lead after the break. The team shot an impressive 51 percent from the field, including 6-of-10 from 3-point range, and it won both the rebounding (34-27) and the turnover (15-13) battles. Cole Dickerson had a season-high scoring effort for the second consecutive game, netting 28 points on 10-of-14 from the field, including 4-of-4 from long distance. Avry Holmes and Kruize Pinkins were both solid with 13 points apiece. The Dons have gotten used to high-scoring affairs this season, as they shoot a lofty 49 percent from the field for 86.4 points per game, which helps mask poor play at the defensive end (.489, 79.0 ppg). Dickerson (15.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg) is the catalyst, but he's just one of five players to average in double figures, as Pinkins, Holmes, Matt Glover and Mark Tollefsen all tally between 10.3 and 14.4 points per game.

Illinois State's recent win against a Division II foe not withstanding, it hasn't impressed much this season, and with USF playing well on its home floor, it should be able to close out the tournament in style.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: San Francisco 87, Illinois State 76

11/30 10:35:44 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHR 4
DUR 2
 
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR
 
Final
BAL 7
ANA 6
Final
CLE 2
SEA 5
Final
DET 4
CWS 11
Final
CIN 3
ARI 0
Final
TAM 5
MIL 1
Final
NYM 0
PHI 6
Final
BOS 2
TOR 4
Final
MIA 3
WAS 0
Final
CHC 4
COL 3
Final
TEX 11
NYY 12
Final
KAN 1
MIN 2
Final
HOU 4
OAK 7
Final
LOS 8
ATL 4
Final
SDP 3
STL 1
Final
SFG 1
PIT 3
12:10pm Today
TAM
MIL
 
12:10pm Today
NYM
PHI
 
12:35pm Today
CIN
ARI
 
12:40pm Today
MIA
WAS
 
2:10pm Today
HOU
OAK
 
3:45pm Today
SFG
PIT
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
ANA
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
SEA
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
TOR
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
COL
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
NYY
 
8:10pm Tonight
KAN
MIN
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
ATL
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
STL
 
Final
CHR 4
DUR 2
 
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR