Jags Host ‘Toppers For Final Time As SBC Rivals
The Jaguar Men’s Basketball team will renew their conference rivalry with Western Kentucky one last time in the Mitchell Center on Thursday evening. The Hilltoppers will join Conference USA next season for the 2014-2015 year.
The Jags have had a rough month of December with four road games, three of them against top 100 RPI schools. They went 2-4 in December and enter the game with an overall record of 6-7 as they begin their Conference schedule.
Senior Augustine Rubit is averaging 17.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Those rank seventh and third in the conference respectively and became the all-time leading rebounder in the conference on Saturday against New Mexico State.
The Hilltoppers rely on T.J. Price and George Fant. Price is right behind Rubit with an average of 17.1 points per game while Fant averages 14.1 points per game. In their 79-74 loss to Ole Miss on Monday, Price scored 26 points with six 3-pointers while Fant added 23 points against Brescia (KY.) on December 28.
Jaguar head coach Matthew Graves understands that Price and Fant are as good as any duo in the conference. “They’re tough, they’re physical, they have a presence about them and they have a swagger about them,” Graves said. “They’re the defending conference champs so they have a bit of an ego and that’s a good thing if you’re a Western Kentucky fan. We’ll certainly have our hands full but I think the way we guard in our system, it’s a team defense so it’s not one guy guarding Price and one guy guarding Fant. It’s our five guys defending Western Kentucky.”
“We understand that, especially for Price, he’s going to make some tough shots. That’s what he does, but how many times can we make him take those tough shots and not give him easy baskets? With Fant, you really have to match his energy. He does a great job of scoring around the basket, attacking the goal, getting to the free-throw line and getting offensive rebounds. Can we play as hard as he’s going to play? I think our guys are going to be ready for that challenge.”
The Jags and the Hilltoppers tipoff for the final time as Conference Rivals in the Mitchell Center at 5:05pm.