Texas State (5-13) at Arkansas-Little Rock (9-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday January 23, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jack Stephens Center (5,600) -- Little Rock, Arkansas. Television: None. Home Record: TSU 2-6, UALR 4-2. Away Record: TSU 1-6, UALR 4-6. Neutral Record: TSU 2-1, UALR 1-1. Conference Record: TSU 1-4, UALR 4-2. Series Record: Arkansas-Little Rock leads, 4-1.
GAME NOTES: The Texas State Bobcats will try to avoid their third loss in a row as they tangle with the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans at the Jack Stephens Center in a Sun Belt Conference tilt.
Texas State is coming off a 56-48 home loss to the Texas-Arlington Mavericks. The Bobcats, who average a Sun Belt Conference-low 62.5 ppg, were limited to 32.1 percent shooting from the field including a 5-of-20 clip by the Mavericks. Texas State held a narrow lead in the early stages of the second period before a 16-8 UTA run put the game out of reach for good. The setback dropped the Bobcats to a 5-13 overall record including a 1-4 mark in league play. TSU has gone just 1-6 in true road tests during the 2013-14 campaign.
The Trojans will be seeking their fifth win in seven SBC games on Thursday. Last week, UALR outlasted Western Kentucky for an 87-83 overtime victory before it was handed a 99-73 loss at Georgia State. The loss lowered the Trojans to a 9-9 overall record. They are second in the SBC standings with a 4-2 conference record, trailing only the 5-0 GSU Panthers. UALR is posting 72.1 ppg on 44.1 percent shooting from the floor and also pulls down 1.6 more boards per outing than its opposition.
This will be the second meeting this season between these SBC rivals. UALR topped TSU, 63-59, on Jan. 2 in San Marcos to improve to 4-1 all-time versus the Bobcats. Will Neighbour led the Trojans to the win with 20 points.
TSU had a very poor showing after the intermission versus UTA. The Bobcats were held to 32.4 percent shooting from the floor while they allowed the Mavericks to sink 47.4 percent of their field goal attempts. Defensively, TSU forced 19 turnovers, but it was not enough to overcome UTA's 22-11 advantage in free- throw attempts.
The Bobcats are led by senior forward Joel Wright, who is posting team-highs of 14.8 ppg and 6.3 rpg. Wright had scored in double-figures in five consecutive outings before being held to just seven by UTA. With Wright having an off night, Gordan Ball paced the Bobcats with 10 points and seven boards. Emani Grant is near a double-digit scoring average (9.9 ppg) and also grabs an average of 5.3 rpg. Wesley Davis is a key player for the Bobcats with 8.7 ppg to go along with his team-highs of 2.1 apg and 1.4 spg.
Neighbour is having another solid campaign as he ranks sixth in the conference in scoring at 17.4 ppg and also seventh on the rebounding leaderboard with 7.2 rpg. UALR could not overcome its 20 turnovers versus GSU in its last outing despite hitting on 53.6 percent of its attempts from the floor in the second stanza. James White led the way in the loss with 23 points, followed by Neighbour with 18.
TSU simply doesn't have enough firepower to compete with the Trojans. UALR would have to have a very poor offensive performance to fall to the Bobcats, who had no answer for Neighbour when these teams squared off earlier this month. The homecourt advantage could help UALR pull away for an easy victory, which it will need to keep pace with GSU in the league standings.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas-Little Rock 68, Texas State 60
01/23 10:18:25 ET