Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Sun Belt Tournament Game 3: No. 4 Arkansas State - No. 5 UALR


Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

So it begins- Day 2 of the SBC Tournament that is! Things couldn’t start off better than an in-state grudge match between two rivals. This one will be the tie-breaker for these two squads…as they split the regular season 1-1…with both teams winning on their home courts. The bragging rights for the season couldn’t be settled any better than the winner advancing…and the loser going home. Let’s break this match-up down!

Last night UALR got off to a good start, handing Troy a first round loss. The Arkansas-Little Rock shooting would be one of the highlights for the night as they shot 59% from the floor in the second half. (Click here for a full recap) The Trojans look to continue that hot hand into tonight’s match up trying to pull off the upset. Not only did their shooting have an effect last night, but their bench scoring helped lift them above Troy as well. UALR’s bench provided 30 points, making it a true team effort. Tonight…despite how average I have said this team is all season…they can most definitely pull out the win if they continue to play as a team.

The Trojan impact performers for tonight will be spread out like they were last night…with the main impact players being Josh Hagins (12.2 PPG; 4.1 RPG; 3.6 APG), James White (11.2 PPG; 7 RPG), and DeVonte Smith (4.9 PPG; 2.3 RPG; 2.8 APG).

Now for the Red Wolves! A-State has been a force in the Sun Belt all season, at times playing average, but mainly being a top SBC team. The Red Wolves are a team that puts up a lot of points…averaging 75.7 PPG this season…that is good enough for 62nd in the nation.

The offensive weapons putting up those points include Melvin Johnson III (15.2 PPG; 4.4 RPG), Kirk Van Slyke (14.9 PPG; 5.8 RPG), and Kendrick Washington (10 PPG; 6.3 RPG). Don’t expect these guys to be the only stat impacters though, this Red Wolves team has many offensive weapons that are loaded on the bench, just waiting to go off. Which could be another interesting stat to watch over the course of the night, which team will put up more bench points? UALR has some momentum with that but will they be able to match that figure for a second night? I love posing statistical questions.

This game will be a fun one no doubt, and will be great Friday evening entertainment for the Sun Belt.

The winner of this game will go on to face the dreaded Georgia State squad on Saturday, so tonight’s game could be a momentum and confidence builder for both of these squads as they each want to take down the number one seed.

Once again the game tips this evening at 6 on ESPN 3! So don’t miss out on great SBC action! WTRT will have you covered all evening and weekend, so make sure to continue stopping by to get your extra doses of Sun Belt Action! Enjoy the game folks!

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Tags: Basketball Gameday Sun Belt Conference

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