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Arkansas State (12-18) at Arkansas-Little Rock (14-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 25th, 8:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jack Stephens Center (5,600) -- Little Rock, Arkansas. Television: None. Home Record: ASU 10-5, UALR 8-6. Away Record: ASU 2-13, UALR 6-8. Neutral Record: ASU 0-0, UALR 0-1. Conference Record: ASU 6-10, UALR 11-4. Series Record: Arkansas-Little Rock leads, 47-26.
GAME NOTES: Natural State rivals are set to square off tonight in the regular season finale, as the Arkansas State Red Wolves pay a visit to the Arkansas- Little Rock Trojans in Sun Belt Conference action.
Arkansas State never found its groove this season, going 12-18 overall and 6-9 in conference. The Red Wolves' inconsistency is due in part to their atrocious road record as they have managed to win just two of 15 games outside of Jonesboro. They had an opportunity to win three straight games for the first time this season on Thursday, but fell to Western Kentucky in a 79-76 final.
Though UALR has just the fourth-best overall record in the Sun Belt's West Division at 14-15, it currently sits atop the standings with an 11-4 league ledger, and with a win today would clinch the No. 2 seed in the upcoming conference tournament. The Trojans had won six of their previous seven games before dropping a 75-67 decision to North Texas on Thursday.
UALR owns a commanding 47-26 advantage in the all-time series with ASU, which includes wins in each of the past two meetings.
Arkansas State appeared dead in the water in Thursday's game, as it was down by four points with 42 second to go, but four free-throws between Trey Finn and Darion Griswold tied the game at 76-76 with under 20 seconds to play before a late Western Kentucky three-pointer crushed ASU's hopes. The Red Wolves did their damage from stripe, connecting on 31-of-38 free throws, but they shot just 38.9 percent from the floor. Malcoln Kirkland led the squad in the defeat as he has all season, posting 22 points on 8-of-12 field goal efficiency. Kirkland averages 12.3 ppg and 6.0 rpg, and he is the Sun Belt's most efficient shooter (.578). Marcus Hooten (11.7 ppg) and Finn (11 ppg, 5.2 rpg) also contribute to an offense that ranks fourth in the conference in field goal percentage (.432). Brandon Peterson averages 9.1 ppg and 8.0 rpg, the latter ranking him second in the league.
UALR has been winning on the strength of its defense, which ranks third in the Sun Belt in allowing just 64.2 ppg, although it disappointed in Thursday's loss as North Texas shot 46 percent from the floor and the 75 points permitted was the most the team has allowed since giving up 80 to Northwestern State back on November 29. Even though the Trojans had four players score in double figures in the loss, they went just 18-of-57 from the floor. D'Andre Williams led the way with 18 points and five assists, while Courtney Jackson tallied 12 points and 14 rebounds, marking his first double-double of the season. Though the UALR offense ranks 10th in the conference in scoring at just 63.8 ppg, it gets solid nightly contributions from Williams (12.8 ppg, 4.1 apg), Will Neighbour (11 ppg, 5.1 rpg) and Chuck Guy (10.4 ppg).
UALR's conference run this season has been beyond impressive considering the way the season started out, and with Arkansas State's road woes well documented, the Trojans should be able to close out the regular season on a high note.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas-Little Rock 65, Arkansas State 58
02/25 10:43:58 ET
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