Arkansas State (10-16) at Louisiana (14-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 11th, 8:15 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cajundome (12,068) -- Lafayette, Louisiana. Television: None. Home Record: Arkansas St. 8-5, Louisiana 9-3. Away Record: Arkansas St. 2-11, Louisiana 4-8. Neutral Record: Arkansas St. 0-0, Louisiana 1-1. Conference Record: Arkansas St. 4-7, Louisiana 8-4. Series Record: Louisiana leads, 44-20.
GAME NOTES: The Arkansas State Red Wolves try to avoid their third straight loss when they travel to Lafayette to take on the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns in Sun Belt Conference action tonight at the Cajundome.
Arkansas State has had a rough go of it in the Sun Belt this season, losing seven of its 11 conference bouts. The Red Wolves have dropped seven of their last nine games, including a 74-57 defeat to South Alabama on Thursday.
Though Louisiana is just two game over .500 for the season, it sits with an 8-4 record in conference play -- one and a half games behind Arkansas-Little Rock for first place in the league's West Division. UALR defeated the Cajuns 72-70 in overtime on Thursday to extend its lead. Louisiana had won five of its previous six games prior to the setback.
Louisiana has a comfortable lead in the all-time series, 44-20, but Arkansas State has come away victorious in two of the last three meetings, including a 79-74 decision in the first matchup this season on January 21.
Arkansas State boasts one of the Sun Belt's worst scoring offenses, ranking 10th with 62.7 ppg, and the shooting attack has been especially bad on the road this season. With the 57-point showing against South Alabama on Thursday, the Red Wolves have now scored fewer than 60 points in eight of their 13 road games. Though they shot 43.1 percent from the floor, ASU connected on just 5- of-15 three-point tries and turned the ball over 14 times in the loss. Edward Townsel scored 17 points, marking the second time in three games he's scored at least that many points. The Red Wolves don't have a go-to guy, but instead spread the wealth on offense between Malcoln Kirkland (11.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg), Marcus Hooten (11.2 ppg) and Trey Finn (10 ppg, 5.4 rpg). Townsel adds 9.7 ppg and 2.9 apg to the mix.
Louisiana appeared as if it was going to hang on against UALR on Thursday and take control of first place in the SBC West, but the Trojans made an improbable comeback by hitting two three-pointers in the final 10 seconds of regulation to tie the game and then hung on in overtime to defeat the Cajuns. Louisiana shot just 40.4 percent from the field in the loss, a departure from its usually solid field goal percentage (.440). Kadeem Coleby did his best to lift the Cajuns, going 8-of-10 from the field for 18 points, improving upon his 10.3 ppg average. The Cajuns also have a balanced scoring attack and have seven players averaging at least 6.0 ppg. Josh Brown paces the squad with 10.9 ppg and 6.5 rpg, while J.J. Thomas (9.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Darshawn McClellan (9.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg) also make positive contributions. Louisiana loses control of the ball more than it forces miscues, claiming a turnover margin of -2.31.
The Cajundome has been a hostile place for opposing teams as Louisiana has lost just three of its 12 game there. The Cajuns should be able to bounce back after a tough loss to UALR and beat the Red Wolves tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana 75, Arkansas State 66
02/11 10:43:58 ET