The University of Central Arkansas is expecting the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's best shots today.
On Nov. 28, the Bears handled the Trojans 78-65 in Conway in the schools' first meeting of the season. Leading 33-32 at halftime, UCA (3-5) scored 15 of the second half's first 17 points, while UALR (4-5) did itself no favors, making 4 of 21 free throws in the loss.
"It was probably a little closer game than the final score," said UCA Coach Russ Pennell. "We had a little stretch there at the start of the second half where we extended the game and it kind of helped us get to the finish line. They shot free throws rather poorly. They think they probably should've cashed in on those."
Today's second round at 5:30 p.m. at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock will feature different lineups than Game 1.
UALR guard Markquis Nowell has missed three consecutive games with a high ankle sprain, dating back to the Nov. 28 loss. The 5-8 point guard has returned to practice in recent days and could return against the Bears.
Nowell averaged 12 points in six games before his injury, the second-highest mark on the Trojans behind redshirt junior guard Rayjon Tucker's 20 points per game.
Nowell or not, the Bears expect UALR to be hungry for revenge.
"You play someone a second time, especially when you're this close to each other, there will be adjustments made on both sides," Pennell said. "But the team that lost comes out the aggressor. You have to be really mindful of that and try to not get knocked out early in the game."
Bears 6-7 forward Eddy Kayouloud, who has started three games and had 9 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists against UALR, is out for today's game because of a violation of team rules, Pennell said.
Kayouloud is UCA's leading scorer with 13.6 points in seven games. The freshman's suspension also held him out of UCA's 86-41 loss at Louisville on Wednesday.
"That sets you back a little bit," Pennell said. "He's doing what he's supposed to do to get back on the floor. But young men sometimes have to learn that it's a privilege to play this game and it's not a right. When you don't do what you're supposed to do, there has to be a consequence."
At Louisville, UCA had no players score 10 or more points in a game for the first time since Dec. 6, 2015. Wednesday was UCA's lowest-scoring game since a 79-47 loss at Wisconsin on Nov. 11, 2016.
"We probably need a little more offense, whether it's [senior guard] Thatch Unruh or [sophomore guard] Matthew Mondesir or someone like that," Pennell added in Kayouloud's absence. "[Freshman guard] Khaleem Bennett's been a pretty good player. He's still a freshman and trying to figure it out."
UALR women host Kansas State
UALR's women's basketball will kick off today's doubleheader at 3 p.m. by hosting Kansas State.
The Trojans (2-5) have lost all five in a row. UALR's four most recent losses were to NCAA Tournament teams from the 2017-18 season, including Texas A&M (61-40), LSU (60-45), Mississippi State (98-63) and Western Kentucky (68-56).
Today's matchup with Kansas State (6-2) will be UALR's final home nonconference game until Sun Belt play begins Jan. 3 against Louisiana-Monroe.
Sports on 12/08/2018
Print Headline: UCA Bears anticipating hungrier UALR Trojans