The two best rebounding teams in the Men Against Breast Cancer Classic – North Florida and Cal State-Bakersfield – play in the early game Saturday at Wright State’s Nutter Center. The Ospreys (3-3) have out-rebounded five of their six opponents. With Romelo Banks back and healthy and freshman Wajid Aminu, UNF can keep up in the paint with anyone.
The Ospreys are riding high after a game-winning floater to beat North Dakota on Friday night, 76-75. The Roadrunners of CSUB (3-2) are a bounce-back, eyes-looking-forward team. They made the NCAA Tournament last year because they force turnovers, play sound defense and always bring energy to the court.
The Ospreys and Roadrunners will tip at 4:30 p.m. from the Nutter Center. Coverage begins on 1010XL at 4:15, and all the action will be live on ESPN3.
The Ospreys and Roadrunners have played once before on Dec. 22, 2012 in Las Vegas. UNF won that battle 80-70 in the Continental Tires Las Vegas Classic. Redshirt senior Aaron Bodager is the lone Osprey player left from that 2012 season.
Dallas Moore’s game-winning floater is a play that perfectly sums up his career. He leads by example, and it’s no shock that NBA teams are salivating over him even more than they did with former Osprey Beau Beech.
CSUB’s Jaylin Airington has one of the best names in college basketball. Coming into the tourney, the redshirt senior was averaging 20 ppg. Airington had a career-high 31 in the loss at a top-10 Arizona and 28 vs. Fresno State. This Thanksgiving tournament has at least four elite mid-major scorers.
The Ospreys have Dallas Moore (#14), Aaron Bodager (12), Nick Malonga (23), Chris Davenport (35) and Romelo Banks (33). Barring something crazy, the five won’t change this season. Coach Driscoll is working on bench minutes, which he has been giving more to Garrett Sams and Aaron Horne.
The Roadrunners are still figuring out if they go three guards or three forwards to start. Our guess is it’s closer to last night’s five of: Dedrick Basile (#5), Brent Wrapp (1), Jaylin Airington (11), Matt Smith (0) and Shon Briggs (13).
About Cal State-Bakersfield:
Head coach Rod Barnes, in his sixth season, made his name with Ole Miss from 1998-2006 and then moved to Georgia State. He had the Roadrunners in the NCAA Tournament for the first time last season after a strong run in the WAC postseason and a 24-9 mark. Two weeks ago, for the first time ever, CSUB received votes in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll.
They have an experienced backcourt. However, their normal rotation’s tallest players are 6-foot-6 and 6-7. Is that enough to compete with Ospreys’ size in the lane?
Romelo Banks can bounce back from his worst game of the season. That’s somewhat funny considering he had 14 points and five rebounds. Banks’ shooting has been strong and consistent. His line from the North Dakota win – 5-for-6 field goals and 4/5 on free throws. But the six turnovers can come down a couple ticks.
Roadrunners guard Damiyne Durham shoots threes like he is trying out for the Golden State Warriors. FYI: CSUB’s main colors are blue and gold. On Friday, Durham scored 28 points on 9-for-24 shooting.
How UNF Can Win:
Limit turnovers, and the Ospreys cannot have another scoreless drought of over 10 minutes. North Florida is too good for that to happen. UNF is still trending upwards.