Pair of UALR-ASU men's games canceled
The University of Arkansas-Little Rock announced Tuesday afternoon that it had canceled both of its men's basketball games this week against Arkansas State University, in accordance with the Sun Belt Conference's covid-19 protocols.
The Trojans were to play Thursday night in Jonesboro before hosting the Red Wolves in Little Rock on Saturday but will now go at least two weeks in between games -- UALR lost 80-72 at Louisiana-Monroe on Thursday and then saw their game at Louisiana-Lafayette knocked off the schedule due to covid issues.
Per the league's policy, teams must have a minimum of seven players to play and one coach. With the Trojans already limited by injuries and Sun Belt rules preventing players from returning to game action for at least a full week following a positive test, UALR called off both games.
By the end of the weekend, both sides will have played just three of a possible six Sun Belt games. And while it's possible that the schools could choose to reschedule one or both of the final two conference matchups, current Sun Belt policies stipulate that they would not count toward the conference standings and would instead be non-conference games.
The Trojans' next game is scheduled for Jan. 20 at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock against Texas State, while ASU will play Texas-Arlington that night at First National Bank Arena in Jonesboro.
-- Mitchell Gladstone
ASU's Omier wins Sun Belt award
For the third time in three weeks, Arkansas State sophomore Norchad Omier was named the Sun Belt Conference men's basketball Player of the Week. Omier logged a pair of double-doubles during a 1-1 weekend for the Red Wolves, going 21 of 29 from the field and scoring 53 combined points against Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe.
The Bluefields, Nicaragua, native was the first player to score post at least 29 points and 17 rebounds against the Ragin' Cajuns since 2010-11, and in ASU's comeback win at Louisiana-Monroe, Omier had four blocks in a career-best 39 minutes.
Omier is now the NCAA Division I active career leader in rebound average at 11.7 per game. He began Tuesday among the top 10 nationally in double-doubles, shooting percentage, total rebounds and rebounds per game.
Patton earns league honor
Keya Patton earned Arkansas State University's first women's basketball Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week honor since Nov. 2018 with a dominant first-half showing Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe.
Patton came off the bench and scored all of her game-high 30 points before intermission, going 10 of 14 from the field and 7 of 10 on three-pointers as the Red Wolves made a program-record 16 three-pointers in their 98-70 home win over the Warhawks.
The Auburn transfer is the only player in NCAA Division I with 30 points in a single half this season. She also blocked a career-high three shots in the second half to go along with four rebounds in the game.
-- Mitchell Gladstone
Fayetteville's Phelan named Gatorade POY
Fayetteville junior setter Kennedy Phelan was named the 2021-22 Gatorade Arkansas Volleyball Player of the Year on Tuesday.
Phelan, who was also named the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas Preps Player of the Year in November, led the Bulldogs to a 32-4 record and a second consecutive Class 6A state championship in 2021. She finished with 1,123 assists along with 274 digs, 112 service aces, 88 kills and 31 blocks.
Off the court, Phelan has maintained a 3.91 grade-point average and has orally committed to Florida State.
-- Democrat-Gazette Press Services