Denver (16-5) at Arkansas-Little Rock (9-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 28th, 8:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jack Stephens Center (5,600) -- Little Rock, Arkansas. Television: None. Home Record: Denver 10-2, UALR 5-5. Away Record: Denver 6-3, UALR 4-7. Neutral Record: Denver 0-0, UALR 0-1. Conference Record: Denver 6-2, UALR 6-2. Series Record: Arkansas-Little Rock leads, 12-9.
GAME NOTES: The Denver Pioneers and the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans duke it out tonight with sole possession of first place in the Sun Belt Conference West Division on the line.
Denver's 16-5 mark is its best start since joining Division I. The Pioneers are winners of three of their last four, including a 66-52 decision over Arkansas State on Thursday.
Despite having a sub-.500 record on the season, UALR has caught fire at the right time, going 6-2 in conference play. The Trojans are coming off a convincing 75-50 win against South Alabama on Thursday.
UALR holds a 12-9 advantage in the all-time series. The Trojans have won the past two meetings, including a 66-59 verdict on New Year's Eve behind a 17- point performance by Will Neighbour.
Denver was able to overcome a 43.1 percent overall shooting night in the recent win over Arkansas State by making good on 11-of-23 three-pointers. Chris Udofia led the way for the Pioneers, going 8-of-13 from the floor and 3- of-7 from beyond the arc to match his career-high with 21 points. Udofia averages 14.4 ppg on the year and leads the team in rebounding (5.1 rpg), assists (2.8 apg), and blocks (2.2 bpg). Brian Stafford barely tops Udofia as Denver's leading scorer, netting 14.6 ppg, second-best in the Sun Belt. The Pioneers have been one of the most efficient teams in the country this year, ranking second in Division I in free-throw percentage, 10th in field goal percentage and 12th in three-point field goal percentage. While Denver doesn't have a player averaging more than 2.8 apg, it still leads the Sun Belt in both assists (16.2 apg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3).
UALR enjoyed its second-biggest scoring output of the season in the recent win over South Alabama, as the Trojans shot 48.1 percent from the field, 45.5 percent from three-point range and 86.7 percent from the line. D'Andre Williams led three players in double figures with 14 points while also dishing out six assists and ripping down five rebounds. Williams leads the team in scoring at 11.4 ppg and is fourth in the conference in assists, handing out 4.1 apg. Williams, Neighbour (10.6 ppg) and Chuck Guy (10.6 ppg) form a trio of double-digit scorers that carry the Trojans' sub par offense, which is 10th in the Sun Belt in scoring at 62 ppg and field goal percentage at .405. In Thursday's win, UALR held a team under 52 points for the third time in the last six games, which has improved upon its third-ranked scoring defense on the season (63.6 ppg).
UALR has been playing surprisingly well of late and will surely give Denver a run for its money. However, the Pioneers have been getting it done all year long and will prevail, despite being on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Denver 68, Arkansas-Little Rock 62
01/28 10:41:14 ET