Troy (7-11) at Texas-Arlington (7-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 23, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: College Park Center (7,000) -- Arlington, Texas. Television: Sun Belt Network. Home Record: Troy 5-3, UTA 5-3. Away Record: Troy 2-6, UTA 2-7. Neutral Record: Troy 0-2, UTA 0-0. Conference Record: Troy 2-4, UTA 2-3. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Texas-Arlington Mavericks return home to College Park Center on Thursday night when they welcome the Troy Trojans for a Sun Belt Conference showdown.
After winning back-to-back road games earlier in the month, Troy had a winless two-game homestand last week, suffering losses to ULM (75-64) and Louisiana (72-59). The Trojans are now a lackluster 7-11 overall this season, including 2-4 in league play.
UTA also hasn't played very well this season, sporting just a 7-10 overall mark with a 2-3 ledger in the Sun Belt, but things have been looking up of late with wins in two of its last three. The Mavericks most recently downed Texas State on Saturday, 56-48, and now come back to Arlington, where they've gone 5-3.
This marks the first-ever meeting between these newly-acquainted conference rivals.
Troy never had much of a chance in its most recent contest, as it fell behind Louisiana by nine at the half before eventually falling by 13. It shot just 41.1 percent from the field on the evening, including 5-of-17 from 3-point range, and were especially dreadful from the free-throw line (8-of-18). Tevin Calhoun paced the losing effort with 14 points, Kevin Thomas posted a true double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds, Jeff Mullahey also netted 13 and Hunter Williams handed out seven assists.
The Trojans have had difficulty putting points on the board all season long, shooting just 41.8 percent from the field for 67.3 ppg, which all but negates their solid showing on the defensive end of the floor (68.7 ppg). Antoine Myers is the catalyst with 12.4 ppg, doing so on 50 percent from the floor. Williams is the only other player in double figures with 11.2 ppg (on just 32.2 percent shooting), although Tevin Calhoun and Thomas (8.4 rpg) are right on the doorstep with 9.9 ppg apiece.
The Mavericks were far from their best offensively over the weekend at Texas State, as they shot a mere 39 percent from the field and committed a game-high 19 turnovers, but they played outstanding defense in the eight-point victory, holding the Bobcats to a mere 32.1 percent shooting. Reger Dowell was the spark plug coming off the bench, shooting 2-of-6 from 3-point range and 8-of-8 from the free-throw line for 16 points. Lonnie McClanahan poured in 12 points but also committed 10 turnovers, while Jamel Outler chipped in 11 points.
It was a rare performance for UTA, which typically scores 78.1 ppg while allowing even more points to its opponents (78.6 ppg). Its 8.5 3-pointers per game ranks in the top-25 nationally, although its percentage from long distance is modest at best (.348). Dowell puts up 21.6 ppg while having drained 55 of the team's 144 3-pointers. Brandon Edwards is a nightly threat for a double-double with 16.6 ppg and 9.4 rpg, chipping in on the defensive end of the floor as well with 2.0 bpg. McClanahan (13.6 ppg) and Outler (10.1 ppg) are also regular contributors.
UTA has been playing better of late, especially on the defensive end of the floor, and defending its home court against the struggling Trojans, it should be able to do enough to win its second straight game.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas-Arlington 77, Troy 72
01/23 10:19:48 ET