After a narrow victory in the first round of the Sun Bowl Invitational tournament over the UTEP Miners on Wednesday, the Colorado St. Rams (8-4) and the Jacksonville St. Gamecocks (5-8) meet in the championship game on Thursday night. The Rams edged the tournament hosts 56-53 thanks to 16 points and six assists on 7-of-8 shooting from junior guard Wes Eikmeier. The Colorado St. defense held the Miners to 17-of-39 from the field.
Meanwhile, the Gamecocks destroyed the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions 78-55, behind 16 points from sophomore guard Brian Williams and 12 points from senior forward Stephen Hall. At one point Jacksonville St. led by 30 points, while Arkansas-Pine Bluff only ever held a one-point lead.
When it comes to season rankings, the Rams hold a huge edge in several important categories. They are 51st in the nation in field goal percentage (47.2%) and 115th in points per game (72.0), while Jacksonville St. is only 329th in field goal percentage (38.0%) and 340th in points per game (54.3). If the Rams can control the pace of the game and get out in transition, they should run away with the Sun Bowl Invitational title based on team statistics for the season-to-date.
Game date, time: 7:30 p.m. MT, Thursday, Dec. 29th, 2011
Location: Don Haskins Center (Sun Bowl Invitational Tournament), El Paso, TX
Radio: 560 AM Denver
Spread: Colorado State is currently favored by 9.5 points, and the over/under is currently 127.5 points.