That Arkansas-Pine Bluff held a lead on the home floor of a Pacific-12 team with less than 14 minutes left in its last outing might be an encouraging thing for the Golden Lions men’s basketball team.
Because, today, things might not get any easier for them.
UAPB (1-5) hopes to end a three-game losing streak this evening at Oregon (6-1) to close a string of three straight games against Pac-12 teams. The host Ducks, coached by Dana Altman, are coming off a 95-78 victory over Texas-San Antonio on Thursday and have defeated one of two top-25 opponents so far this season.
The Golden Lions lost 67-54 at Arizona State on Wednesday but found some positives in the defeat. They stuck within striking distance of the Sun Devils for most of the game, shot the ball well from three-point range (7 of 15 after starting 5 of 6) and got 20 points from guard Lazabian Jackson.
And they’ve done it without two of their centers. Terrell Kennedy will miss his second straight outing with a foot injury he sustained the game before at Washington State, and Daniel Broughton has been out while recovering from knee surgery.
Against Washington State, UAPB had the task of slowing down the nation’s leading freshman scorer in guard Jahii Carson. The Lions did just that in holding him to nine points, but now, they’ll have to contend with another standout freshman in Oregon guard Dominic Artis, who scored a season-high 16 against UTSA. Senior forward Arsalan Kazemi of Iran is an offensive and defensive threat for the Ducks, coming off a 20-point, five-steal performance Thursday, and senior forward E.J. Singler has almost 1,200 points for his career.
The Lions, who have been a cold-shooting team all season, will need to find a hot hand from the field tonight against a team that hit 63.3 percent of its shots Thursday. Three Oregon players, led by Kazemi’s 88.9 percent, shot 80 percent for better against UTSA.
Among Oregon’s victories this season was an 83-79 decision over now-20th ranked UNLV on Nov. 23 in Las Vegas. That was followed by a 77-66 loss to now-No. 16 Cincinnati and the win over UTSA.
This is the second of a four-game homestand for the Ducks. It is also the Lions’ last game before playing No. 14 Michigan State on Wednesday.