Texas-Arlington (13-15) at Troy (10-18)
GAME NOTES: In only their second meeting all-time, the Mavericks of Texas- Arlington pay a visit to the Troy Trojans for a Sun Belt Conference clash on Thursday night.
UTA won the first meeting between the two squads earlier this season at home, 59-56. The Mavericks come into this contest at 13-15 overall and 8-8 in conference, while the Trojans sport a dismal 5-11 league ledger and are 10-18 overall.
With the potential to improve seeding in next week's conference tournament, the Mavericks are hoping to end the regular season on a high note as they have alternated wins and losses over their last four games. UTA, which closes the campaign this Saturday at South Alabama, is just 4-10 in true road tilts, but won its last bout on enemy hardwood in a 75-71 decision at Arkansas-Little Rock on Feb. 22.
Troy is coming off a 61-46 win at ULM, the victory putting the brakes on a three-game slide. The Trojans are two games over .500 at home this season (7-5), but lost their game in front of the hometown faithful in a 62-55 defeat at the hands of Arkansas-Little Rock on Jan. 27.
UT-Arlington is the worst defensive team in the Sun Belt, as foes generate an average of 77.4 ppg in hitting 44.3 percent of their total shots, which includes a 37.5 percent showing from 3-point range. Offensively, the Mavericks are more confident, as they net 76.1 ppg to rank fourth in the conference, doing so behind a typical shooting effort of 43.8 percent, which takes into account their 34.7 percent effort from beyond the arc. UTA is fortunate to have the Sun Belt's top scorer on the roster in Reger Dowell (20.6 ppg). The team also has other productive players in Brandon Edwards (15.9 ppg, 9.4 rpg), Lonnie McClanahan (14.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.8 apg) and Jamel Outler (10.5 ppg).
The Mavericks rallied from 17 points down to topple visiting Western Kentucky last weekend, 80-73. Dowell paced the team with a career-high 37 points, while Edwards logged his 12th double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds. UTA knocked down six treys as part of a 45.6 percent overall shooting effort, and the home team earned a 22-15 edge in points from the foul line.
With a record well below .500, it's no great shock that the Trojans are one of the poorest offensive teams in the Sun Belt. They generate a mere 67.9 ppg, shooting just 41.8 percent from the field in the process. They are also one of the weaker free-throw shooting squads (.662). Their defensive effort hasn't been much better, as opponents put up an even 70 ppg in draining 44.4 percent of their total shots, which ranks Troy ninth in the 10-team league. The Trojans' effort in defending the 3-pointer though, actually has them ranked second (.323). Hunter Williams (13.4 ppg, 3.3 apg) paces the club in both scoring and assists, while help comes from Antoine Myers (11.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Tevin Calhoun (10.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg). Two others, Kevin Thomas and Jeff Mulahey, net 9.4 and 9.2 ppg, respectively.
Williams hit for 24 points and Calhoun tacked on 15 more to power the Trojans to their easy victory over ULM. Troy shot just 38.9 percent from the field, missing 16 of its 25 3-point tries along the way, and went a dismal 10-of-22 at the foul line, but the Warhawks were just 34 percent accurate from the floor, went 5-of-19 from beyond the arc, and only 7-of-13 at the charity stripe.
Neither team has done much in terms of striking fear into the hearts of opposing players and coaches, but the Mavericks do have the league's most potent scorer on their side. Expect Dowell to lead his team to a hard-fought victory, one of the few UTA will have earned on the road this season.
GAME NOTES: In only their second meeting all-time, the Mavericks of Texas-
Arlington pay a visit to the Troy Trojans for a Sun Belt Conference clash on
Thursday night.Fact Stats
FACTS & STATS: Site: Trojan Arena (6,000) -- Troy, Alabama.
Television: None. Home Record: UTA 9-5, Troy 7-5. Away Record: UTA 4-10, Troy
3-11. Neutral Record: UTA 0-0, Troy 0-2. Conference Record: UTA 8-8, Troy
5-11. Series Record: Texas-Arlington leads, 1-0.Game Date and Time
Thursday, March 6, 8 p.m. (ET)Predicted Outcome
Texas-Arlington 67, Troy 63