All four of the Sun Belt Conference's Arkansas-based teams were in the same building Saturday and much was learned.
As the afternoon progressed, and UALR's women handled Arkansas State University 68-55 and ASU's men defeated the Trojans 84-83, it became obvious the state has at least one strong contender competing for a Sun Belt championship and a postseason berth.
To no surprise, it is the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's women's basketball team which is in the running for a regular season, division or tournament championship on a frequent basis.
The Trojans (12-8, 8-1 Sun Belt) are the league's hottest team and now sit alone in first place.
The Trojans have won six consecutive games dating back to Jan. 12. UALR's win streak is the longest active stretch in the Sun Belt. Texas-Arlington, which is 8-2 in conference play, has won four in a row.
Texas-Arlington (16-5) defeated Texas State on Saturday to become the Sun Belt's second team along with UALR to have eight league victories. The Mavericks' most recent loss was by the Trojans, 68-65, on Jan. 19 at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.
UALR's opponents are averaging 52.5 points per game during its winning streak. The Trojans have allowed 57.5 points per game for the season, good enough to qualify as the Sun Belt's top-ranked defense.
"They're so good defensively," said ASU Coach Brian Boyer after his squad scored 55 on Saturday.
"Well, you know, no coach is ever satisfied," said UALR Coach Joe Foley prior to Saturday's victory. "We make a lot of mistakes. Defensive-wise, even though we've been holding some people down, we're still not where we need to be defensively. We give up too many easy plays sometimes in a game."
South Alabama gave Troy (16-4, 7-2) its second Sun Belt loss of the season, leaving the Jaguars in third place behind UALR and Texas-Arlington.
UALR will host Troy at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Jack Stephens Center. Troy handed UALR its only conference loss, a 71-66 decision Jan. 10 at Troy, Ala.
Texas-Arlington (plus-14.6 points) and Troy (plus-13.3) lead the Sun Belt in scoring margin. Troy (82.5) is the league's only team to average more than 80 points this season.
Texas-Arlington has scored 74.5 points per game, the third-most in the Sun Belt.
The two teams will play only once this season when Troy travels to Arlington, Texas, on March 2.
UALR’s Kyra Collier scored nine points in the Trojans’ 68-55 victory over Arkansas State on Saturday at the Stephens Center in Little Rock. UALR hosts Troy on Thursday night.
Sports on 02/04/2019
Print Headline: UALR women No. 1 in Sun Belt at 8-1 after win Saturday vs. ASU