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Louisiana (13-9) at Texas-Arlington (9-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 6, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: College Park Center (7,000) -- Arlington, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: Louisiana 9-2, UTA 7-3. Away Record: Louisiana 3-7, UTA 2-9. Neutral Record: Louisiana 1-0, UTA 0-0. Conference Record: Louisiana 4-5, UTA 4-5. Series Record: Louisiana leads, 11-7.
GAME NOTES: After finally ending a losing streak the last time out, the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns will attempt to keep the wins coming when they battle the Texas-Arlington Mavericks in a Sun Belt Conference clash at the College Park Center.
Louisiana had dropped three straight contests before it dismissed in-state rival ULM in a 66-50 final last Saturday. The Ragin' Cajuns are now 13-9 overall and just a game below .500 in league play (4-5). They will also be on the road this Saturday, taking on Texas State.
Texas-Arlington has fallen flat in its last two games, dropping decisions to Western Kentucky (77-72) and Georgia State (101-91), who happen to be the top two teams in the Sun Belt. The Mavericks have the same conference record as Louisiana, but they are just 9-12 overall. A trip to take on ULM is next on the schedule.
The Cajuns were by far the superior team in the first meeting between these two this season. Louisiana rolled to a 90-70 victory on its home floor, increasing its lead in the all-time series in the process (11-7).
Elfrid Payton dropped in 28 points and Shawn Long had a double-double with 12 points and as many rebounds for Louisiana in its recent win over ULM. The Ragin' Cajuns sank 50.9 percent of their shots from the floor and outscored the Warhawks in the paint by a sizable 50-20 margin.
Thanks to Payton (20 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 5.9 apg, 2.4 spg) and Long (19.8 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 3.1 bpg), Louisiana has been the most potent offensive team in the Sun Belt this season, netting 80.9 ppg, while ranking second in the league in both assists (14 apg) and field goal percentage (.463). Payton is among the league leaders in a number of categories, ranking third in scoring and first in both assists and steals. Long also has a spot among the Sun Belt's elite, leading the league in rebounds and blocks, to go with his fourth-best scoring average.
Texas-Arlington nearly pulled off a major upset last Saturday, but fell in overtime to Georgia State, 101-91. Reger Dowell tallied 26 points to lead the way, while Jamel Outler and Lonnie McClanahan each added 20. The Mavericks shot 63.2 percent in the second half, but netted just 2-of-9 from the floor in the extra session.
Dowell (21.3 ppg) normally tops the list of offensive performers for Texas- Arlington, as he leads the team and the conference in scoring. He has gotten plenty of help from his fellow starters, as Brandon Edwards (16 ppg, 9.5 rpg), McClanahan (14.6 ppg) and Outler (10.3 ppg) are all averaging in double figures as well. However, there is not much depth on the unit, with no other player putting in more than five ppg. Despite much balance, the Mavericks are still the fourth-best scoring team in the Sun Belt (77.3 ppg), while Edwards, who is third in the league on the boards, has powered the Mavericks to the second-best rebounding average (37.6 ppg) in the league.
Even though it doesn't get much from its bench, UTA still has more varied scoring options than does Louisiana. Playing at home should also help the Mavericks reverse the outcome of their last contest with the Cajuns.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas-Arlington 78, Louisiana 73
02/06 10:20:44 ET
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