The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: FAU Arena (5,000) -- Boca Raton, Florida. Television: None. Home Record: UALR 11-3, FAU 8-4. Away Record: UALR 3-9, FAU 3-13. Neutral Record: UALR 1-1, FAU 1-0. Conference Record: UALR 9-8, FAU 7-11. Series Record: Arkansas-Little Rock leads, 5-3.
GAME NOTES: The Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans will try to snap out of their worst losing streak of the season on Saturday night, as they pull into Boca Raton for a Sun Belt Conference tilt against the Florida Atlantic Owls.
UALR led the SBC West Division a few weeks back, but it has relinquished that spot by dropping four of its last five games, which includes a 65-52 loss at FIU on Thursday night. The Trojans are still solid on the season with a 15-13 overall record and a 9-8 mark in the conference, but things have not gone well away from home (3-9).
FAU is also trending in the wrong direction as the season begins to wind down, as it has lost back-to-back games and five of its last six to fall to 12-17 and 7-11 in league action. The Owls took North Texas to overtime on Thursday, but they eventually dropped the difficult road contest, 66-57.
UALR overcame a 16-point halftime deficit in a Jan. 24 matchup versus FAU to capture a 65-62 victory and extend its lead in the all-time series to 5-3.
The Trojans suffered a 13-point road loss to FIU earlier in the week due to an awful offensive showing. Not only did they make less than 40 percent of their field goal attempts overall, but they were a dismal 2-of-22 from 3-point range, went just 6-of-15 from the foul line, and committed 22 turnovers. Michael Javes (four blocks) and John Gillon (five assists) were the only players to put together noteworthy performances in the setback, each netting 12 points.
UALR has failed to stand out this season with either its scoring offense (66.4 ppg) or its scoring defense (66.1 ppg), although it does sport a +1.1 turnover margin. The squad has just one player averaging double figures in scoring in Will Neighbour, who pours in 10.9 ppg to go along with 7.0 ppg, 1.0 bpg and 1.3 spg. John Gillon puts up 9.8 ppg, and seven others net between 4.8 and 8.1 ppg.
The Owls led most of the way against North Texas before the Mean Green tied the game up on a pair of free throws in the final minute of regulation, then FAU was held scoreless in the extra session as it was handed the tough loss. Greg Gantt scored a team-high 18 points, but he did so while shooting a lowly 7-of-23 from the field. Stefan Moody finished with 13 points, but he too was lackluster from the floor (6-of-21). Jordan McCoy added eight points and nine rebounds.
FAU hasn't had much to be excited about this season, as it ranks in the lower half of the league in both scoring offense (64.2 ppg) and scoring defense (67.7 ppg). Gantt is the Sun Belt's top scorer with 21.2 ppg and his 80 3- pointers rank among the nation's leaders, but he has regressed in recent week, as he has shot 33.3 percent or worse from the field in four of his last six games. Moody is a solid second option with 14.3 ppg, and while McCoy isn't much of a threat on the scoreboard (5.8 ppg), he grabs a team-high 6.3 rpg.
Neither team has been all that impressive lately, with both falling farther down the Sub Belt standings as the conference tournament rapidly approaches. In the end, FAU gets the edge due to the home court advantage.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: FAU 68, Arkansas-Little Rock 67
02/23 10:42:46 ET