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Red Wolves face biggest game of year

Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 17:02


Xinzhong Zhao, Staff Photographer

Freshman forward Kelvin Downs dunks the ball on the Mean Green during a game on Feb. 2.

The Arkansas State Red Wolves men’s basketball team has a hot date for Valentine’s Day as it hosts in-state rivals, the University of Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans, in the Convocation Center.  
This is the first of two regular season meetings between the two teams and the winner will seize the top spot in the Western Division of the Sun Belt Conference.

The Red Wolves (15-9, 9-6) are coming off of a dominating performance on the road against Western Kentucky University and have won four out of their last five games.

The Trojans (15-10, 9-5) currently sit at the top of the Western Division of the SBC and like the Red Wolves, have won four out of their last five.  
They are coming off a victory at the University of Louisiana-Monroe on Feb. 7.

Red Wolves head coach John Brady said that his team won’t need any extra motivation come tip-off.   
“I think the guys are motivated enough,” Brady said.  “It’s really more about keeping their temper and excitement under control come game time so they can focus on playing.”

Brady stressed that this is a big game for them and that a win won’t come easy.  
He said the Trojans are “a very physical team” and that in order to beat them, they’re going to have to play hard.  
He mentioned they’re not always going to get what they want out of every play.

“I think the key is that we’re going to have to out physical them,” Brady continued.  “We’re going to have to make timely baskets and really play with a sense of urgency and toughness.”

In the past five games the Red Wolves have held their opponents to less than 58 points per game and have caused them to turn the ball over more than 14 times per game.

 “We have got to keep defending and rebounding and trying to get to the line.  I really think it’s going to be a fun game to play but we just need to keep the intensity we’ve shown for the past few games,” Brady said.

He thinks that it is crucial that the fans pack the Convocation Center for this game, especially the students.   
“The student section has been excellent so far this year and I think that that we’re really going to need them for this one,” he said.

The rivalry between the two teams dates all of the way back to the 1927-1928 season when the teams first met.

The Trojans have won 7 of the past 11 meetings with the Red Wolves but ASU has a record of 27-10 at home against UALR.   
ASU currently leads the all-time series against UALR 46-28.

Tip-off for the game is set for Thursday night at 7:05 p.m.


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