Arkansas-Little Rock (3-4) at Tulsa (2-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 8, 4:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reynolds Center (8,355) -- Tulsa, Oklahoma. Television: None. Home Record: UALR 2-1, Tulsa 1-2. Away Record: UALR 1-3, Tulsa 0-2. Neutral Record: UALR 0-0, Tulsa 1-2. Conference Record: UALR 0-0, Tulsa 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 3-3.
GAME NOTES: The Tulsa Golden Hurricane will close out a brief two-game homestand on Sunday, as they take on the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans in a non-conference affair.
The game was originally scheduled for yesterday, but was delayed due to inclement weather.
UALR's season did not get off to a strong start, as it opened up its schedule with three straight losses, but it has since righted the ship with wins in three of four to improve to 3-4. The Trojans most recently hosted Arkansas- Fort Smith on Tuesday at home and came away with an 88-74 triumph.
As for Tulsa, despite winning its latest contest at home versus Texas Southern (98-71), it has struggled in the season's first month with just two wins in eight tries. The Golden Hurricane participated in the Great Alaska Shootout last week, and after winning their opening-round contest versus Indiana State (63-62), they dropped two straight to TCU (72-65) and Green Bay (67-59).
Each side has beaten the other three times in the past, and UALR claimed the latest matchup on Dec. 15, 2012, 72-65.
The Trojans held a double-digit lead for the majority of its contest against UAFS earlier in the week, with their advantage swelling to as many as 25 in the second half. They shot an impressive 47.7 percent from the field and dominated the rebounding battle, 45-29. Will Neighbour paced the effort with 20 points on 8-of-12 from the field. James White tallied a true double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Mareik Isom and Josh Hagins contributed 12 and 11 points, respectively. On the season, UALR is typically solid on offense, as it scores 75.6 points per game, but its problem comes at the other end as it surrenders more than 78 points per tilt. Neighbour is off to an outstanding start. as he logs 18.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and more than a steal per game, all while shooting 59.7 percent from the field and 52.9 percent from 3-point range. Hagins (12.0 ppg) is a stellar second option, shooting 14-of-33 from beyond the arc (.424), and White brings 9.1 points and 6.7 rebounds to the table.
The Golden Hurricane took advantage of an inferior opponent the last time out, as they shot a lofty 53.7 percent from the field and controlled both the rebounding (39-31) and turnover battles (15-9) on their way to a 27-point victory over Texas Southern. James Woodard had his best performance of the season with 25 points on 7-of-13 from the field. Rashad Smith logged a double- double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, Pat Swilling also added 14 points, while Shaquille Harrison and Rashad Ray contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively, to the balanced effort. Similar to its opponent, Tulsa cannot score enough points (71.5 ppg) to support its poor play at the defensive end of the floor (75.1 ppg). It also gets outrebounded by an average of 3.2 boards per game, but it does help its cause with a +1.8 turnover margin. Smith is the most reliable scoring option, as he pours in 13.6 points per game on greater than 50 percent shooting from the field, but he has hurt his team with a lackluster showing at the foul line (29-of-51, .569). Woodard (12.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is the only other player averaging in double figures.
Although Tulsa has not performed up to expectations in the early going, it's undoubtedly happy to welcome a UALR squad to town that has not performed much better. Riding Woodard's hot hand, the Golden Hurricane should prevail.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tulsa 77, Arkansas-Little Rock 73
12/08 10:37:25 ET