Texas-Arlington (11-14) at Arkansas-Little Rock (12-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 22, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jack Stephens Center (5,600) -- Little Rock, Arkansas. Television: None. Home Record: UTA 8-4, UALR 6-4. Away Record: UTA 3-10, UALR 5-9. Neutral Record: UTA 0-0, UALR 1-1. Conference Record: UTA 6-7, UALR 7-7. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: The Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans will try to halt a losing skid when they battle the Texas-Arlington Mavericks in a Sun Belt Conference duel at the Jack Stephens Center.
A 65-49 loss to ULM last Saturday was the fourth straight setback for UALR, which is quickly retreating in the Sun Belt Conference standings. The Trojans are now 12-14 overall, with as many wins as losses in league play (7-7). They will play their final road game of the season next against Troy.
UTA has lost four of its last six bouts, with the most recent decision being an 83-60 loss to Arkansas State. The downward trend the Mavericks have been on has dropped them to 11-14 overall, including a 6-7 mark against the rest of the Sun Belt. Key games with Georgia State and Western Kentucky, the top two teams in the conference, are next on the docket.
These teams met for the first time as conference rivals on Jan. 4, as UTA is in its first season in the Sun Belt. UALR downed the conference newcomers, 72-70. The Mavericks won the only other other meeting, 68-58, back in 2007.
UTA's matchup with Arkansas State was decided out on the perimeter, as the Mavericks were outscored by a whopping 48-12 from 3-point range. They also connected on just 40.4 percent of their total shots, while being outscored at the free-throw line, 19-10.
Reger Dowell (20.2 ppg), who is the Sun Belt's leading scorer, really struggled in the losing effort, as he finished with only nine points on 3- of-12 shooting from the floor. It was the first time this season he has failed to score in double figures, and only the ninth time he has had less than 20 points. The Mavericks are fortunate to have some other potent scorers on the roster, with Brandon Edwards (15.9 ppg, 9.6 rpg) and Lonnie McClanahan (15.4 ppg, 4 apg) producing well this season. However, the team lacks depth, with Jamel Outler (10.7 pg) the only other player putting in more than 4.5 ppg at the moment.
UALR suffered through a miserable offensive performance against ULM, as the Trojans sank only 31 percent of their field goal attempts, including a dismal 3-of-13 showing from 3-point range. They also did themselves no favors at the free-throw line (10-of-21).
The Trojans were without their leading scorer in the contest, as Will Neighbour (16.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg) was sidelined with a sprained ankle. He is listed as questionable for this contest. Josh Hagins (12.2 ppg) and James White (11.4 ppg) must pick up the slack as the team's next-best scoring options. White held up his end of the bargain with 11 points and 12 rebounds against ULM, although he connected on only 5-of-15 shots from the floor. Hagins tallied nine points, while also struggling to find his shot (4-of-14). Ben Dillard (7 ppg) stepped up his game in the losing effort, tallying 14 points.
If Neighbour is missing from the lineup again, the Trojans may struggle to find enough offense to keep up with the Mavericks, especially if Dowell returns to form.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas-Arlington 75, Arkansas-Little Rock 70
02/22 10:27:38 ET