Tuesday, November 25th, 7PM
Jack Stephens Center
Audio to Listen To
Travis Justice reporting from Little Rock
Northwest Arkansas News Preview
The Jays start a 2 game road trip on Tuesday with their first stop in Little Rock Arkansas. Here is what you need to know:
- Arkansas-Little Rock is expected to win the West Division of the Sun Belt Conference this season.
- Valley brethren Evansville, Southern Illinois and Missouri St. are affiliate members of the Sun Belt in Men’s swimming and diving
- The Trojans returned all 5 starters this season. However, guard Steven Moore was suspended a week or so ago indefinitely because of conduct detrimental to the team. That indefinitely was not long as Moore is back with the team, but now comes off the bench
- UALR has 4 players averaging double figures and as a team averages 70 points per game
- This game is the 2nd of a three game series with the Trojans who visited Omaha last season and will likely return to Omaha next season to complete the series.
- Creighton is 2-0 all-time against Arkansas-Little Rock
- Derek Fisher from the LA Lakers is their only current NBA player.
- UALR plays its home games in the recently built Stephens Center, an on campus facility that seats 5,000 plus fans. Prior to this on campus home, the Trojans played at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Previous to that, UALR’s home games were played in Barton Coliseum on the Arkansas State Fairgrounds in Little Rock.
Some may remember last season’s blowout win by the Jays 80-61. However, looks are somehwat deceiving. In last season’s game UALR started horribly cold from the field (6-21 in the first half) while the Jays were hot and dug themselves a hole that they really were not able to handle. The game here on Tuesday has the makings for a great “trap game” that not only the Jays players need to watch out for, but the fans as well.
The Jays are a little emotionaly spent after having to come from behind again (albeit, not as bad as New Mexico), but then have to figure out how Justin Carter getting injured will affect the team chemistry and who will step up. The Jays reserves Kaleb Korver, Casey Harriman, and Chad Millard stepped up and really were able to do the little things to help the Jays to the win on Sunday. In addition, this is the Jays first road game and it is always hard to tell how a team is going to respond on the road. Then you have the anticipated matchup on Saturday with in-state rival Nebraska on the horizon, so you have to be careful not to overlook this UALR game.
Of course rebounding will be the name of the game again as the Jays will need to be tough on the boards. The Trojans inside game is starting to take shape, so it will be vital for the Jays to box out on the boards.
Since most of the players are returning from both teams, it might be worth it to check the stats of the last game to see where the Jays had the advantage last season. The two top scorers for each team in that game are gone (Dane Watts, De’Andre Eggins) so the scoring will probably come from others including P’Allen Stinnett who was the second leading scorer for the Jays in that game. Chad Millard had 8 rebounds and Josh Dotzler had 5 steals in the game and their performances I think will have a factor in this game in Little Rock. An up tempo game will be an advantage for the Jays. Creighton will need to control the tempo and play their style. The higher the score the more likely the Bluejays will win.
Sounds like Justin Carter might have a chance of playing. He will be traveling with the team and expected to practice with the team. Since nothing was torn, that is a good thing and really they may not know for sure until game time if he will be able to play depending on the swelling. It will be interesting to see how the Jays perform in their first road test and to see how the gameplan and substitution patterns may change if Justin isn’t playing or sees limited minutes. I could also see this injury as a springboard for the team to become even more cohesive and continue to play team ball like we saw on Saturday in the 2nd half that will make the Jays tough to beat.
UALR and the Stephens Center will be a rocking place (I hope Travis J. realizes that the game is there and not the Alltel Arena!!) I bet since they have great fan support. They have this game marked on their calendars as one of the biggest games at home this season. This will be a tough game no doubt and if the Jays can keep the turnovers down to a minimum, they will be able to get out of there with a win and have a great thing to build on to prepare for the game against the Huskers on Saturday…..but try not to look too much towards that game until after Tuesday :)
Prediction: Jays 76, UALR 71