Troy (6-9) at Arkansas-Little Rock (8-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 11, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jack Stephens Center (5,600) -- Little Rock, Arkansas. . Television: None. Home Record: Troy 5-1, UALR 4-1. Away Record: Troy 1-6, UALR 3-5. Neutral Record: Troy 0-2, UALR 1-1. Conference Record: Troy 1-2, UALR 3-0. Series Record: Arkansas-Little Rock leads, 6-5.
GAME NOTES: Tied with Georgia State atop the Sun Belt Conference standings, the Trojans of Arkansas-Little Rock try to remain undefeated in league play as they host the Trojans of Troy on Saturday night.
Since losing the first three games of the season, UALR has turned the corner and is currently enjoying a four-game win streak. The team's most recent triumph came two nights ago as it slipped by South Alabama in a 65-60 final at home. The win was the third in as many Sun Belt affairs and now the program in 4-1 at home.
While UALR enters the weekend as one of only five teams in the conference with a record of .500 or better overall, Troy is at the other end of the spectrum with just six victories in 15 opportunities. The team was also in action on Thursday night and managed to pull out a 98-84 win over Arkansas State, a bit of an upset considering the Red Wolves had one of the best winning percentages in the Sun Belt coming into the week.
While the win over ASU served to snap a two-game slide, it was still just the second victory in the last eight outings for Troy and the first in seven true road games.
In a relationship that dates back to the 1962-63 campaign, UALR holds a 6-5 advantage in the all-time series. However, the team saw a three-game win streak come to an end last January when Troy captured a 67-64 victory at home. The teams are set to meet in Troy near the end of next month to complete their season series.
Tevin Calhoun was nearly flawless for Troy as he knocked down all but two of his nine 3-point attempts and finished with a career-high 35 points in the win over Arkansas State at the Convocation Center on Thursday night. Calhoun made good on 11-of-15 from the field overall and 6-of-8 shots at the free-throw line in the offensive eruption that saw the Trojans convert 55.2 percent from the field and 14-of-27 beyond the arc. Hunter Williams and Antoine Myers contributed with 24 and 20 points, respectively.
Despite nearly doubling his previous career high for points in a game, Calhoun is still posting only 9.3 ppg on the season, partially due to his mere 52.4 percent accuracy at the charity stripe. Tops on the scoring list for Troy is Myers with his 12.9 ppg, followed by Williams and Kevin Thomas with 11.6 and 10.5 ppg, respectively. For a team that is now averaging 67.5 ppg, the 98 points for Troy represented the highest output versus a Division I program this season.
Trailing by nine at the break and as many as 11 points in the second half, the UALR defense went to work against South Alabama and held the Jaguars to a mere six field goals over the final 20 minutes of action. Overall, the Trojans permitted the visitors to shoot only 29.5 percent from the field and 9-of-34 behind the 3-point line. Will Neighbour responded with a double-double consisting of 22 points and 10 rebounds, matching the effort of DeVonte Smith on the glass, followed by James White with 13 points.
Tops on the team in most key categories, Neighbour paces UALR with 17.2 ppg and 7.5 rpg, not to mention having logged 24 steals and 14 blocked shots along the way. He is also third on the unit with 28 assists, but has turned the ball over 15 more times. White sports a 10.5 ppg average and is second with 6.0 rpg, although having him on the floor in crunch time is not always the best option, seeing as how he is shooting just 56.4 percent at the charity stripe.
Getting Josh Hagins (11.9 ppg) back from a one-game suspension should pay dividends for UALR, but considering how explosive Troy was two nights ago even that might not help the hosts this time around.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Troy 74, Arkansas-Little Rock 66
01/11 10:32:55 ET