Arkansas State (17-9) at Arkansas-Little Rock (13-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 1, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jack Stephens Center (5,600) -- Little Rock, Arkansas. Television: None. Home Record: ASU 10-2, UALR 6-5. Away Record: ASU 7-7, UALR 6-9. Neutral Record: ASU 0-0, UALR 1-1. Conference Record: ASU 9-5, UALR 8-8. Series Record: Arkansas State leads, 48-29.
GAME NOTES: The Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans will finish the regular season with back-to-back home games beginning with a Sun Belt Conference matchup against the Arkansas State Red Wolves tonight at the Jack Stephens Center.
UALR finished its last road trek with a 62-55 win over Troy on Thursday. The victory ended a five-game losing streak for UALR, which is still stuck in the middle of the Sun Belt standings with an overall record of 13-15 and a league mark of 8-8. They finish the season next Saturday against ULM.
There are four games left on the schedule for Arkansas State, including big tests against conference-leading Georgia State and Louisiana. The Red Wolves have pushed themselves into the top tier of the conference with wins in six of their last seven games, improving to 17-9 overall and 9-5 in league play.
These in-state rivals did not play a particularly competitive game on Jan. 25 as Arkansas State routed UALR, 77-49. The Red Wolves own a 48-29 edge in the all-time series.
Arkansas State took a step away from not only Sun Belt competition, but the Division I ranks as well to take on Lyon College on Tuesday. The Red Wolves won easily, 65-39, by outscoring their foe, 25-0, off turnovers. Brandon Reed tallied 16 points to lead the way.
The Red Wolves' ascension in the Sun Belt has been built on their solid offensive showing. They are third in the conference in both scoring (76.5 ppg) and field goal percentage (.453), while sitting second in assists (13.7 apg). Kirk Van Slyke (15.7 ppg, 6 rpg) and Melvin Johnson (14.9 ppg) are the team's go-to scorers. Van Slyke tallied 11 points and six boards against Lyon College, but Johnson had some trouble, finishing with only five points. Kendrick Washington (10 ppg, 6.2 rpg) finishes on 56.4 percent of his shots from the floor, while leading the team on the glass.
Led by 18 points from Ben Dillard, who was the only player to score in double figures, UALR was able to edge out Troy. The visiting Trojans held their hosts to only 38.6 percent shooting, outscored them in the paint, 28-20, all while forcing 20 turnovers.
Absent from the effort was Will Neighbour. The Trojans' leading scorer and rebounder at 16.3 ppg and 7 rpg, has missed three of the last four games and is still suffering from a dislocated left shoulder. He is listed out for this tilt. Josh Hagins (12.3 ppg) is a solid scorer in his own right, and James White (10.9 ppg, 6 rpg) provides the best threat on the glass with Neighbour sidelined. Neither was particularly impressive against Troy, as the duo combined for only 13 points and eight rebounds. Dillard (7.2 ppg) may be required to step up to give the Trojans more balance on offense, especially if Hagins and White are limited once again.
The Trojans were at full strength the last time these teams met. Without Neighbour, they just don't have the firepower to knock off the Red Wolves, even with the home crowd on their side.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas State 73, Arkansas-Little Rock 63
03/01 10:44:23 ET