Arkansas-Little Rock (13-14) at Troy (8-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 18th, 8:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Trojan Arena (4,000) -- Troy, Alabama . Television: None. Home Record: Arkansas-Little Rock 8-5, Troy 6-6 . Away Record: Arkansas-Little Rock 5-8, Troy 2-10. Neutral Record: Arkansas-Little Rock 0-1, Troy 0-0. Conference Record: Arkansas-Little Rock 10-3, Troy 3-10. Series Record: Series is tied, 4-4.
GAMES NOTES: The Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans and Troy Trojans will meet for the first time this season as the Sun Belt Conference foes square off in a clash at Trojan Arena.
This will be just the ninth meeting all-time between these teams which they have split evenly at 4-4. Arkansas-Little Rock won last season's matchup after two consecutive wins by Troy.
Arkansas-Little Rock has climbed to the top of the Sun Belt West Division with wins in five of its last six contests that puts the visiting Trojans at 10-3 in league play. Arkansas-Little Rock will be at home in its final two games of the season beginning Thursday against North Texas.
Troy has been heading in the opposite direction with losses in five of its last six matchups while falling to 3-10 and last in the Sun Belt East Division. Troy will travel to the Sunshine State in each of its last two games with matchups against FIU and Florida Atlantic next on the schedule.
In its win on Thursday, Arkansas-Little Rock trailed by a slim 32-31 deficit at the half against FIU but dominated on defense in the second half by holding the Panthers to just 25.7 percent shooting in the last 20 minutes as the Trojans coasted to the win.
Defense has keyed Arkansas-Little Rock's ascension in the conference standings, as the Trojans allowed just 63.9 points per game which makes up for the teams struggles on offense. As a team Arkansas-Little Rock is scoring 63.3 points per game which is 10th in the conference, while shooting a paltry 40.8 percent from the field. Sophomore forward Will Neighbour (11.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg) had another fine game against FIU as he poured in 21 points to follow up a 22-point performance in the previous game against Middle Tennessee. Neighbour has now scored in double figures in three straight games after failing to do so in five of the previous seven. With Neighbour scoring so well, D'Andre Williams (12.6 ppg, 4.1 apg) was able to make his contributions felt in other areas, as the senior guard had a solid all around game in scoring 11 points while grabbing eight rebounds and handing out five assists.
Troy was dominated in its loss to Arkansas State on Thursday as the Trojans fell 83-59 by allowing the Red Wolves to shoot 56.4 percent from the floor while outscoring Troy 33-15 from beyond the arc. Troy shot a solid 48.0 percent but couldn't keep pace.
Failing to score has normally not been an issue for Troy this season as the Team is the third highest scoring unit in the Sun Belt on the year (70.6 ppg). Where Troy struggles is in efficiency (.407) and on defense as it allows 75.4 points per game. Steven Cunningham (5.9 ppg) had his first double-figure game since December by leading the team with 14 points on 7-fo-8 shooting in the loss to Arkansas State. Cunningham stepped in with the team's normal scoring options struggling. Will Weathers (11.6 ppg, 5.8 apg), Justin Wright (11.0 ppg) and Emil Jones (9.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg) managed to combine for only 19 points in the loss.
Arkansas-Little Rock is getting hot at the right time and will carry that momentum in this game. The scoring of Neighbour should continue for Arkansas- Little Rock in this matchup as he will be facing a weak defensive squad in Troy.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas-Little Rock 71, Troy 59
02/18 10:41:58 ET