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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 29, 3 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lloyd Noble Center (11,258) -- Norman, Oklahoma. Television: Sooner Sports TV, MASN2. Home Record: UALR 1-1, Oklahoma 2-0. Away Record: UALR 0-3, Oklahoma 0-0. Neutral Record: UALR 0-0, Oklahoma 1-2. Conference Record: UALR 0-0, Oklahoma 0-0. Series Record: Oklahoma leads, 5-0.
GAME NOTES: In a non-conference matchup at the Lloyd Noble Center, the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans will tangle with the Oklahoma Sooners on Friday afternoon.
After suffering through a three-game losing streak to start the year, the Trojans have been picking up steam of late. A 90-58 rout over Division II Southern Arkansas on Monday amounted to the second straight win for the Trojans, who are now a win away from reaching the .500 mark on the young season.
Oklahoma is getting set to begin a three-game homestand after spending last weekend in Brooklyn for the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The Sooners split their two games during the event, with a thrilling, 86-85 win over Seton Hall and an 87-67 setback against the top-ranked Michigan State Spartans. The loss to the Spartans was the first in five games this season for the Sooners.
In five total meetings with the Trojans, the Sooners have never lost. The Sooners have hosted each of those five games and most recently took an 80-56 win during the 1999-00 season.
In a matchup with a team below the Division I level, UALR predictably dominated. The Trojans hit 57.4 percent of their shots from the floor, including 10-of-18 from beyond the arc, to drop Southern Arkansas. The Trojans' physical advantages were evident in their 36-20 edge on points in the paint as well.
It took a Division II team for UALR to put forth a strong offensive performance, but now the Trojans need to do so against teams at their own competition level. In five games this year the Trojans are scoring a solid 72 points per game but they are suffering from a -2.8 scoring margin, while hitting just 41.2 percent of their attempts from the field. Will Neighbour (18.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg) is the top offensive threat. He is one of two double- figure scorers and the best rebounder. Josh Hagins (12.2 ppg, 3.6 apg) is the second scoring option and the best passer on the team.
Oklahoma did itself proud against the No. 1 Spartans, cutting a double-digit lead to just four points with over three minutes to play. However, the Sooners couldn't get over the hump as they hit only 43.1 percent of their attempts from the floor in the game.
There are more options in terms of scorers for the Sooners. Oklahoma has four players averaging in double figures led by Cameron Clark (18.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg). Buddy Hield (16.2 ppg) runs with Clark in the backcourt as the team's second best scorer and most fearless gunner from beyond the arc. Isaiah Cousins (11.4 ppg) and Ryan Spangler (10.2 ppg) are also relied on to score, while Spangler serves as the top performer on the glass. In all the Sooners have averaged nearly 85 points per game, while knocking down an even 48 percent of their shots from the field.
There just aren't enough scorers on the roster for the Trojans to keep pace with the Sooners, who showed some real toughness in battling Michigan State last weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oklahoma 78, Arkansas-Little Rock 60
11/29 10:43:47 ET