Western Kentucky (19-9) at UT Arlington (12-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 1, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: College Park Center (7,000) -- Arlington, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: WKU 12-4, UTA 8-5. Away Record: WKU 7-5, UTA 4-10. Neutral Record: WKU 0-0, UTA 0-0. Conference Record: WKU 11-4, UTA 7-8. Series Record: Western Kentucky leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The UT Arlington Mavericks hope their home finale goes a lot better than their last game at College Park Center as they host Western Kentucky Saturday in a Sun Belt Conference tilt.
UTA, fresh off winning three of its previous four games, was put in its place on Thursday in a 77-49 drubbing on its home floor at the hands of conference- leading Georgia State.
Roger Dowell netted 18 points on 8-of-20 shooting for the Mavs, who were outscored by a 48-15 margin in the second half. Lonnie McClanahan recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Brandon Edwards also netted 12 points in UTA's lowest output of the season.
Scoring points has come rather easily for UTA this season, as they make good on 44 percent of its field goal tries and connect on just over eight 3- pointers per game for 77.6 ppg, but it has waded in mediocrity by allowing its opponents to put up nearly identical numbers (.447, 77.6 ppg). Dowell ranks in the top-30 nationally in scoring with 19.9 ppg thanks in large part to his prowess from long range (83-of-222, .374). Edwards is a double-double threat on any given night with 15.8 ppg and 9.3 rpg and is also a strong defender with 45 blocks and 23 steals. McClanahan stuffs the stat sheet with 14.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg and 3.9 apg, while Jamel Outler (10.8 ppg) rounds out the double-digit scorers.
Also on Thursday, a late 7-0 run and a pair of George Fant buckets down the stretch, coupled with Naiel Smith's miss in the closing seconds, allowed Western Kentucky to earn a 51-50 win over Texas State.
Fant finished with 14 points, T.J. Price added 11 and Trency Jackson chipped in 10 for WKU, which has won three of its last four.
WKU actually shoots a lower percentage from the field (.412) than its opponents (.432), but it still owns a +2.0 scoring margin thanks in part to 7.4 3-pointers per game and a +4.4 rebounding margin. Price is the leading scorer with 15.5 ppg and has drained 68 3-pointers at a 37.0 percent clip. Fant (13.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg), Jackson (10.8 ppg) and Harrison-Docks (9.8 ppg) are also regular contributors.
WKU won the first-ever meeting with UTA last month by a 77-72 margin. The Hilltoppers battled back from a seven-point halftime deficit and outscored the Mavericks 44-32 after the break to come away with a five-point decision.
Another win over the Mavs on Saturday would mean a second straight 20-win campaign for WKU, which should find success against UTA's sieve of a defense. If they get out to a fast start and take the crowd out of the game, the Hilltoppers may spoil the Mavs' home finale.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Kentucky 80, UT Arlington 78
03/01 11:51:35 ET