Arkansas State (11-8) at Troy (7-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 1, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Trojan Arena (6,000) -- Troy, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: Arkansas State 6-2, Troy 5-3. Away Record: Arkansas State 5-6, Troy 2-8. Neutral Record: Arkansas State 0-0, Troy 0-2. Conference Record: Arkansas State 4-4, Troy 2-6. Series Record: Troy leads, 6-5.
GAME NOTES: The Troy Trojans will seek to end a four-game losing streak as they host the Arkansas State Red Wolves in Sun Belt Conference action at Trojan Arena.
Arkansas State ended a two-game losing skid with a victory over Arkansas- Little Rock last Saturday, but got back into the losing column Thursday night with a 72-65 setback at the hands of ULM. The Red Wolves have lost three of their last four games, dropping them to 4-4 in the Sun Belt standings.
Troy has lost four in a row and six of its last eight altogether. The Trojans are only a half-game better in the conference standings than South Alabama, which had its Thursday night tilt postponed to Monday, at 2-6. The Trojans haven't taken the court since a 73-65 loss last Saturday at Texas State.
Still, Troy leads the all-time series between the two programs, 6-5. The Trojans captured a victory over the Red Wolves earlier this season - a 98-84 win on Jan. 9 at Arkansas State.
Arkansas State's loss to ULM was truly a back-and-forth battle throughout most of the 40 minutes, as the teams experienced five ties and three lead changes in the first half alone. The two teams went into the locker room knotted at 33 before ULM went ahead in the second half. Melvin Johnson III led all scorers in the loss with 27 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Kirk Van Slyke netted 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the floor for the Red Wolves, who shot 41.2 percent as a unit from the floor.
Van Slyke leads the team in scoring this season with 17.1 ppg on an impressive 55.3 percent shooting from the floor. Van Slyke's 26 blocked shots is best on the team, and his 6.4 rpg mark is second behind only Kendrick Washington's 6.6 rpg average. Johnson is second in scoring with 14.6 ppg, while Brandon Reed is third at 10.2 ppg. The Red Wolves average 76.8 ppg through 19 games played this season.
Troy trailed Texas State by 14 points in the second half, but was able to cut the Bobcats' lead to five in the final two minutes of play. Troy was reduced to fouling to keep the game clock alive, but Texas State made its free throws in to seal the win. Wes Hinton scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed six rebounds in the losing effort for the Trojans. Hunter Williams chipped in 18 points and Tevin Calhoun netted 11 with another six boards. Troy shot just 38 percent in the game.
Williams and Antoine Myers are the team's leading scorers this season, as the only Trojans to net double-digit scoring figures on average through the first 20 games played. Williams tops the squad with 12 ppg, while Myers checks in at 11.6 ppg on 48.1 percent shooting from the floor. Kevin Thomas is the team's leading rebounder with a 7.9 rpg average and 16 blocked shots. Williams is the team's leading assist man with 62 total helpers on the year.
Troy was able to claim victory on enemy territory earlier this season at Arkansas State. The Trojans are at home this time around, but Arkansas State seems to have found a rhythm offensively, netting at least 72 points in four of its last five outings. Look for players like Van Slyke and Johnson to take over in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas State 75, Troy 68
02/01 11:58:30 ET