Cooks, NJIT host North Alabama
North Alabama (9-11, 4-3) vs. NJIT (7-13, 4-3)
Wellness and Events Center, Newark, New Jersey; Thursday, 7 p.m. EST
BOTTOM LINE: Two guards will be on display as Christian Agnew and North Alabama will battle Zach Cooks and NJIT. The sophomore Agnew is averaging 16 points over the last five games. Cooks, a junior, has scored 30 percent of the team’s points this season and is averaging 17.8 over his last five games.
STEPPING UP: NJIT’s Cooks has averaged 19.4 points and 4.9 rebounds while San Antonio Brinson has put up 10.9 points and 5.2 rebounds. For the Lions, Agnew has averaged 12.8 points and 4.7 rebounds while Jamari Blackmon has put up 11.9 points.
CLAMPING DOWN: The Highlanders have given up only 60.4 points per game across seven conference games, an improvement from the 74.3 per game they gave up to non-conference foes.ACCURATE AGNEW: Agnew has connected on 32.3 percent of the 65 3-pointers he’s attempted and has made 4 of 15 over the last three games. He’s also converted 66.3 percent of his free throws this season.
WINLESS WHEN: The Lions are 0-8 when they allow at least 71 points and 9-3 when they hold opponents to anything below 71. The Highlanders are 0-9 when allowing 72 or more points and 7-4 on the season, otherwise.
ACCOUNTING FOR ASSISTS: The Highlanders have recently used assists to create baskets more often than the Lions. NJIT has 42 assists on 72 field goals (58.3 percent) over its previous three contests while North Alabama has assists on 34 of 67 field goals (50.7 percent) during its past three games.
DID YOU KNOW: NJIT has committed a turnover on just 17.4 percent of its possessions this season, which is the second-best rate among all Atlantic Sun teams. The Highlanders have turned the ball over only 11.6 times per game this season.