Texas-Arlington (11-13) at Arkansas State (14-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 20, 8:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (10,475) -- Jonesboro, Arkansas. Television: None. Home Record: UTA 8-4, ASU 7-2. Away Record: UTA 3-9, ASU 7-7. Neutral Record: UTA 0-0, ASU 0-0. Conference Record: UTA 6-6, ASU 7-5. Series Record: Arkansas State leads, 37-13.
GAME NOTES: The Arkansas State Red Wolves will tip off a three-game homestand at the Convocation Center on Thursday night when they tangle with the Texas- Arlington Mavericks in a Sun Belt Conference clash.
UTA has been streaky en route to its 11-13 record this season. It has won back-to-back games on the heels of a three-game losing streak, most recently downing Texas State at home on Saturday, 69-62. The Mavericks are now 6-6 in the Sun Belt but have won just three of their 12 road matchups.
ASU had won three straight games prior to its most recent bout at Louisiana, which it lost handily, 85-67. The Red Wolves have been largely impressive this season at 14-9 overall and 7-5 in the league, and they have been at the top of their game in Jonesboro, going 7-2 at home.
The Red Wolves made easy work of the Mavericks in the first meeting this season with an 82-66 win in Arlington on Jan. 2 to improve to 37-13 in the all-time series.
The Mavericks faced an uphill climb in their most recent contest, as they trailed by eight at intermission to Texas State, but after shooting just 30 percent from the field in the first half, they improved to 59.1 percent in the second stanza as they surged ahead for the seven-point victory. Although he nearly cost his team with seven turnovers, Reger Dowell made up for his miscues with a game-high 23 points on 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Brandon Edwards tallied a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, Lonnie McClanahan posted 13 points and seven assists and Jamel Outler poured in 12 points.
Scoring points has come easy for UTA this season, as it shoots 44.2 percent from the field for 77.8 ppg, but its downfall has come on the other end of the floor, where its opponents put up nearly identical numbers (.441, 77.7 ppg). Dowell paces the offense with 20.7 ppg, good for top-20 in the nation, and has drained 78-of-205 from 3-point range (.380). Edwards is a nightly double- double threat with 16.0 ppg and 9.7 rpg, McClanahan stuffs the stat sheet on a regular basis with 15.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.0 apg and 1.0 spg and Outler brings 10.7 ppg to the table.
The Red Wolves controlled the early portion of their latest contest, leading by as many as 11 in the first half before Louisiana climbed back to tie the game before intermission and took over in the second half to hand ASU the 18-point defeat. The squad shot just 41.2 percent from the field, compared to 52.5 percent for Louisiana. Kendrick Washington and Melvin Johnson III scored 19 points apiece, while Ed Townsel chipped in with 13 points.
Much like UTA, ASU has had plenty of success putting points on the board this season, as it nets 76.8 ppg on 45 percent field goal shooting (including 38 percent from 3-point range). It's scoring defense has not been great (72.1 ppg), but it still allows the team some breathing room. Kirk Van Slyke (15.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Johnson (15.3 ppg) are neck-and-neck for the team lead in scoring, with Van Slyke knocking down 53.9 percent of his field goal tries and 83.7 percent of his attempts from the free-throw line. Washington (10.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg), Brandon Reed (9.5 ppg), Townsel (8.1 ppg) and Cameron Golden (8.0 ppg) are also integral players.
UTA's high-octane attack has left it vulnerable on the defensive end of the floor, especially on the road against strong shooting teams, which doesn't bode well for the Mavericks facing off against a stellar Red Wolves squad.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas State 84, Texas-Arlington 73
02/20 10:21:22 ET