Arkansas-Little Rock (9-7) at Troy (5-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 8:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Trojan Arena (4,000) -- Troy, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: UALR 8-1, Troy 3-4. Away Record: UALR 0-5, Troy 1-5. Neutral Record: UALR 1-1, Troy 1-1. Conference Record: UALR 2-2, Troy 0-4. Series Record: UALR leads, 6-4.
GAMES NOTES: The Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans will look to build on an impressive win over Western Kentucky when they head to Trojan Arena to take on the Troy Trojans in a Sun Belt Conference matchup Saturday night.
With its 75-67 victory over Western Kentucky on Thursday UALR snapped a three-game losing streak and improved its overall record to 9-7. The victory also evened up the Trojans mark in league play which now stands at 2-2. Unfortunately for UALR this game will force the Trojans to hit the road where they are just 1-5 this season. Next up the Trojans return home to face North Texas.
It was that same Mean Green squad that dropped Troy, 76-59, on Thursday night. The loss was the third straight and eighth in the last nine games for the host Trojans who are now 5-10 overall, including losses in all four conference games. Troy has had just middling results when it has the homecourt advantage with a mark of 3-4 at Trojan Arena. Troy will remain at home next against ULM.
This is a rematch of a meeting from earlier this season when UALR topped Troy 58-56. The victory increased the visiting Trojans' all-time series lead to 6-4, including wins in three straight.
In its win over Western Kentucky, UALR shot at a solid 48.1 percent clip from the field and outscored the Hilltoppers 19-10 from the free-throw line. The Trojans also benefited from 22 Western Kentucky turnovers which they converted into 27 points.
UALR has been a rather mediocre offensive squad this season ranking near the middle of the Sun Belt in both points per game (68.3, sixth) and field goal percentage (.422, fifth). On the defensive end the Trojans have largely kept teams at bay by allowing 65.8 points per game on 40.9 percent shooting. Will Neighbour (11.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg) is the top offensive option and the team's leading rebounder. However he has been a bit erratic this season and has scored in double figures in just two of the last five games. John Gillon (10.8 ppg) is the only other player averaging in double figures for UALR which relies on a great deal of balance.
Troy just couldn't find its shot against North Texas as the Trojans shot just 34.4 percent, including a 5-of-23 effort from beyond the arc, en route to the 17-point loss. The Trojans were beat up on the inside as they were outscored 44-26 on points in the paint primarily by North Texas forward Tony Mitchell who scored 29 points and ripped down 15 rebounds.
Poor shooting has been a real issue for Troy this season. The Trojans are connecting on only 38.2 percent of their shots from the field overall which ranks among the 20 worst marks in the country. That has meant low scoring totals on average with the team averaging 61.7 points per game. The Trojans have also suffered from a rather hefty differential on the boards (-6.7) while letting up 67.5 points per game on 44.1 percent shooting. Like UALR, Troy relies on balance throughout its offensive attack with six different players scoring at least 6.7 points per game. However no scorer is averaging in double figures with Hunter Williams (9.6 ppg) and Emil Jones (9.6 ppg) the top options.
A return to their home arena could really help the host Trojans as the visitors have really struggled to get it going on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Troy 67, Arkansas-Little Rock 65
01/05 10:31:05 ET