Arkansas-Little Rock (6-7) at Texas-Arlington (5-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 4, 6 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: College Park Center (7,000) -- Arlington, Texas.
Television: None. Home Record: UALR 3-1, UTA 4-2. Away Record: UALR 2-5, UTA
1-6. Neutral Record: UALR 1-1, UTA 0-0. Conference Record: UALR 1-0, UTA 0-1.
Series Record: Texas-Arlington leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Texas-Arlington Mavericks will greet the Arkansas-Little Rock
Trojans for the first time as Sun Belt Conference foes, when the two teams
meet at the College Park Center on Saturday.
UALR is an established program in the Sun Belt, a conference it has called
home since 1991. The Trojans got their 23rd year in the league off to a solid
start on Thursday with a 63-59 win over Texas State. The victory moved them to
6-7 overall, while earning the team just its second win in seven tries on the
road this season. UALR returns home to host South Alabama in its next outing.
The Sun Belt is UTA's third conference in as many years. After spending time
in the Southland, the Mavericks moved to the Western Athletic Conference last
year before shipping over to the Sun Belt for the foreseeable future. The
Mavericks received a rude welcome to the league on Thursday, falling to
Arkansas State in an 82-66 final. Following this contest, they will play a
home game against ULM to wrap up a season-long, four-game homestand.
These two teams met as non-league foes for the first and only time during the
2007-08 campaign, with UTA recording a 68-58 victory.
Will Neighbour tossed in 20 points and Josh Hagins added 19 off the bench, as
UALR bested Texas State two nights ago. The Trojans never led by more than six
points over the final 10 minutes, but they shot at a 63.2 percent clip and
converted 15-of-17 free-throw attempts in the second half to secure the
As their record might indicate, the Trojans are a middle of the pack team when
it comes to offensive production in comparison to the rest of the Sun Belt.
UALR is ranked fifth in the 10-team league in scoring (72.2 ppg) and field
goal percentage (.434), as well as rebounds (37.2 rpg). Neighbour (16.8 ppg,
7.2 rpg) has been putting in solid work for the Trojans his whole career. Now
in his senior season, the 6-foot-10 forward is on pace to set career-highs in
points, field goal percentage and rebounds. Hagins (12 ppg, 3 apg) is the only
other player averaging in double figures. James White (9.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg) has
scoring ability as well, and provides assistance in the frontcourt.
Despite a game-high 28 points from Reger Dowell, the Mavericks didn't do
enough to overcome Arkansas State couple of days ago. Dowell connected on 9-
of-21 shots from the floor, while the rest of the team was credited with only
11 field goals. UTA was also outscored from beyond the arc, 30-15.
Having the leading scorer in the league in Dowell (22.7 ppg) has done little
to help UTA this season. The reason has been a lack of defensive pressure. The
Mavericks are giving up 80.6 ppg, despite holding their foes just below 45
percent shooting. Some of that is a result of the pace at which they play,
ranking 35th nationally in possessions per 40 minutes (74), although turning
the ball over 13.7 times per game isn't helping. Dowell, formerly of Oklahoma
State, has scored at least 20 points in nine games this season, including a
pair of 30-point efforts. Brandon Edwards (18 ppg, 9.9 rpg) and Lonnie
McClanahan (11.6 ppg, 4.2 apg) are also important contributors.
Despite some flashy numbers on offense, the Mavericks have not been formidable
enough on defense to collect more victories. However, they aren't facing one
of the bullies of the Sun Belt and have a good chance at getting their first
league win on Saturday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas-Arlington 77, Arkansas-Little Rock 74
01/04 10:44:51 ET
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