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story.lead_photo.caption UALR head coach Darrell Walker calls out a play during their game against Southeastern Oklahoman State at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock Thursday, Nov 8, 2018. - Photo by Mitchell PE Masilun

Darrell Walker was not pleased Saturday.

After the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's fourth consecutive loss -- a 77-73 defeat to Appalachian State at the Jack Stephens Center -- UALR's coach punctuated his post-game news conference with a warning.

"We're going to have some very tough practices coming up this week," he said.

How so?

"Everybody just better be ready, I'll leave it at that," Walker said. "It's going to be a week that some people don't like. I can guarantee that."

The Trojans' four-game losing streak ties their longest of the season, and it is the longest active losing streak in the Sun Belt.

They sandwiched two home victories over Troy on Jan. 10 and South Alabama on Jan. 12 between four-game losing streaks. UALR (7-14, 2-6 Sun Belt Conference) is 2-8 in its past 10 games.

The victories against Troy and South Alabama are the high points of UALR's season, giving the Trojans hope they could be a sneaky contender in the conference.

Then the past four games happened.

Two road losses at Texas State (80-62) and Texas-Arlington (82-73) on Jan. 17 and 19, respectively, were deflating as UALR's defense was all but nonexistent.

UALR returned home and lost to Coastal Carolina (72-71) and Appalachian State. The Trojans are just one rung from the basement in the Sun Belt.

"Ten games left, and we need to start running off a bunch of wins," Walker said. "I'm not going to hide from that fact."

At a point in the season when the Trojans need time to regroup, this is essentially a bye week.

For the first time since Sun Belt Conference play began Jan. 3, UALR does not have a traditional Thursday night in-conference game. But that doesn't mean the Trojans will take today off.

This week is not about relaxing.

"We practiced really hard Monday and Tuesday," Walker said. "Wednesday was just a skills day, working on a bunch of skills stuff. We'll go hard Thursday. Friday we won't go as hard. Then we'll play Saturday."

Wednesday was an easier day during UALR's prep for Arkansas State University, which it will host at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Jack Stephens Center.

Arkansas State (9-12, 3-5) is 1-4 in its past five games and has dropped into a three-way tie with Troy and South Alabama in the lower half of the Sun Belt standings. The Trojans and Red Wolves each have 10 Sun Belt games remaining. The Red Wolves are 1-3 on the road this season against Sun Belt opponents.

A win Saturday for UALR would tie the Trojans and Red Wolves at 3-6 in the Sun Belt.

"Both teams are hungry for a win," Walker said.

Saturday’s games

ARKANSAS STATE AT UALR

WHERE Jack Stephens Center, Little Rock

MEN

WHEN 5:30 p.m.

RECORDS Arkansas State 9-12, 3-5 Sun Belt Conference; UALR 7-14, 2-6

WOMEN

WHEN 3 p.m.

RECORDS Arkansas State 8-11, 3-5 Sun Belt Conference; UALR 11-8, 7-1

Photo by Mitchell PE Masilun
Nikola Maric (55) and the UALR Trojans need a victory Saturday to tie Arkansas State in the Sun Belt standings. “Both teams are hungry for a win,” UALR Coach Darrell Walker said.

Sports on 01/31/2019

Print Headline: Skid puts practice into place for UALR

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