The Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans will be trying to remain on the winning track when they entertain the South Alabama Jaguars at the Jack Stephens Center on Saturday afternoon. Arkansas-Little Rock halted a four-game losing streak when it defeated Troy earlier this week. The Jaguars had won two in a row before falling at Arkansas State on Thursday.
Close but no cigar
South Alabama rallied from a 10-point deficit in the second half to take the lead but missed its next five shots and eventually lost to Arkansas State 66-65 on Thursday. The Red Wolves made three critical free throws in the final 12 seconds to hold off the Jaguars. USA senior Rodrick Sikes and junior Josh Ajayi accounted for all 10 points in the comeback, culminating in a three-point play from Sikes with 3:55 left for a 60-59 advantage. Sikes led all players with 24 points–14 in the first half alone–and Ajayi finished with 15.
— South Alabama Jaguar Athletics (@WeAreSouth_JAGS) January 11, 2019
In their previous outing, the Jaguars forced a season-high 20 turnovers against Coastal Carolina and recorded nine steals, one off its season best. Their 28 points off turnovers also marked a season-high. South Alabama recovered from a halftime deficit Saturday to improve to 1-5 this season when trailing at the half. Just once prior did the Jags even come back to take the lead after falling behind at the break (against Southern Miss). The Jaguars are 8-1 when leading at halftime, with the lone loss coming at New Orleans. They are 9-1 when posting a higher shooting percentage than their opponent and 8-0 when a player has a double-double.
Four different Arkansas-Little Rock players finished in double-figures in Thursday’s win over Troy, marking the eighth time this season that at least four Trojans have registered at least 10 points in the same game. The high mark for them came against Howard, when five Trojans scored in double-figures during a 97-76 victory. Seven men are averaging more than 8.0 points per game this season, with Rayjon Tucker (21.1 ppg), Markquis Nowell (12.3 ppg), and Nikola Maric (10.9 ppg) averaging in double-digits. Tucker continues to rank among the NCAA top-50 in five statistical categories, including 22nd nationally in minutes played per game (36) and 25th in points per game.
Arkansas-Little Rock remains one of the top shooting teams in the NCAA, connecting on 49.3 percent of its shots from the floor to rank second in the Sun Belt Conference and 21st nationally. Tucker has been a mainstay on the court in 2018-19, averaging 36:42 of playing time to rank first in the conference and 22nd nationally in minutes played. Tucker has logged at least 35 minutes in 12 of his 15 games, playing all 40 minutes against Troy on Thursday. Tucker has scored in double figures in each of the 15 games he has played in, surpassing the 20-point plateau seven times. His 15 straight performances of 10-plus points are the fourth-longest steak for the Trojans since the 2000-01 season as his 21.1 ppg average currently ranks as the third-highest season scoring average in program history.
The Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games against South Alabama
- 4-1 Under in their last five home games
- 6-2 Under in their last eight games against the Sun Belt Conference
The South Alabama Jaguars are:
- 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 road games against teams with winning home records
- 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 road games against teams with home winning percentages over .600
- 2-5 ATS in their last seven Saturday games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Arkansas-Little Rock sophomore Jaizec Lottie returned to the lineup on Thursday after missing the last three games with a hand injury, scoring nine points to go along with three rebounds in 31 minutes. Lottie has been a mainstay in his two years for the Trojans, playing in 44 games with 42 starts. They have posted a 129-72 overall record (.642) at home and are 70-45 (609) in Sun Belt play, compiling a winning home record in 12 of the 13 seasons. Through the first 16 games of the season, the Trojans are shooting 49.3 percent from the floor–ranking second in the Sun Belt and 15th nationally. Arkansas-Little Rock has shot better than 50 percent from the floor in nine of its first 16 contests. Four different Trojans are shooting at least 50 percent for the season, led by Kris Bankston’s 83.3 percent(60-of-72). Bankston has dunked on 42 of his 60 successful field goals. Arkansas-Little Rock is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between the two teams. It is also worth noting that the home team is 5-2 ATS in the last seven head-to-head matchups.
Prediction: Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans
Full-Game Total Pick
For South Alabama, Trhae Mitchell has rejected three or more shots eight times this season and now has 104 in his career–sixth most in program history. He is second in the conference and 16th in the nation this season with 2.5 blocks per contest. USA shot just 43.1 percent on Thursday. The under is 5-1 in the Jaguars’ last six on the road, 4-0 in their last four against losing opponents, and 15-5 in their last 20 against opponents with winning percentages under .400. It is also 4-1 in the Trojans’ last five at home, 7-1 in their last eight at home against opponents with losing road records, and 6-2 in their last eight against the Sun Belt Conference. Look for this one to stay under the total.