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Furman (5-6) vs. Utah Valley (6-6)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 29th, 8:00 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Haas Pavilion (12,000) -- Berkeley, California. Television: None. Home Record: Furman 3-3, Utah Valley 5-1. Away Record: Furman 2-3, Utah Valley 0-4. Neutral Record: Furman 0-0, Utah Valley 1-1. Conference Record: Furman 1-1, Utah Valley 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: The Furman Paladins and the Utah Valley Wolverines will square off in the consolation game of the Golden Bear Classic.

Furman won three straight decisions and five of the first six games to open the 2009-10 campaign. Unfortunately for the Paladins, they have suffered five consecutive losses since the strong start. On Monday, they fell to UC Santa Barbara by a 72-60 final, the fourth time during the current losing skid that they have been held to 60 or fewer points.

As for Utah Valley, it carried a modest two-game win streak into last night's meeting with the host team of this event, the California Golden Bears. Unfortunately, the result was an 85-51 setback, dropping the Wolverines to 6-6 overall. They have played six games away from home thus far, and only one has resulted in victory.

This game marks the first-ever meeting between Furman and Utah Valley on the hardwood.

Furman is scoring 70.8 ppg this season on 40.9 percent shooting from the floor, and the club is limiting opponents to 71.8 ppg. Jordan Miller is the leading scorer for the Paladins, as he is netting 16.4 ppg on the strength of his 41.9 percent shooting from three-point range. Amu Saaka is the only other double-digit scorer on the roster, as he contributes 14.4 ppg and 6.2 rpg. Miller posted 19 points against UC Santa Barbara last night, but that effort wasn't enough to help the team avoid defeat. Saaka pitched in 16 points and seven rebounds, while Neil Duval scored 11 points for Furman. The Paladins connected on just 34.5 percent shooting from the field while allowing the Gauchos to connect at 51.2 percent. Disadvantages in rebounding and foul shots made also hurt the cause.

Utah Valley was dominated by California at both ends of the floor last night. The Wolverines were limited to 32.7 percent shooting while allowing the Golden Bears to connect on 56.9 percent of their shots. A 38-24 rebounding disadvantage also hurt their chances of staying close in the tilt. Jordan Swarbrick scored 15 points to lead the way in defeat, while Shawn Deadwiler added 12 points. Swarbrick is scoring 14.6 ppg this season on the strength of his 45.8 percent shooting from three-point range. Corey Claitt adds 12.8 ppg for the Wolverines, who are getting 11.6 ppg from Justin Baker. Utah Valley is generating 66.6 ppg, almost identical to the 66.0 ppg that the club is allowing.

While they may trade blows for awhile, expect the Paladins to win this game as they pull away from the Wolverines down the stretch.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Furman 71, Utah Valley State 62

12/29 10:35:47 ET

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