Arkansas-Pine Bluff plays at winless Grambling State today. What can go wrong?
Simple — losing to winless Grambling State.
But coach George Ivory didn’t seem concerned this would be a trap game for his Golden Lions, who are second in the SWAC men’s basketball standings only to Southern.
“I think the guys understand we have to play better than we did against Prairie View,” Ivory said. “You respect all your opponents.”
Monday’s 55-51 home victory over Prairie View wasn’t all that pretty. UAPB had to adjust to a slower-than-usual tempo and struggled to find its shooting touch from the field and free-throw line.
Lack of a shooting touch has been an issue all year for the Lions, who hit only 60.7 percent from the line and 36.6 percent from the field. Ivory said they spent this week focusing on improving their free throws as well as being more consistent with execution on defensive assignments.
Despite different records, there are some statistical similarities between Grambling State (0-16, 0-7 SWAC) and UAPB (7-12, 6-1). Grambling State shoots 36.5 percent from the floor and 61.3 percent from the line.
The Tigers, however, have only one consistent scorer to depend on, Tery Lee. At 15.1 points per game, he is the only player on the team who averages double figures. The second-leading scorer, Bryant Purvis, averages 7.4.
Grambling State has been hurting without the services of Quincy Roberts, who declared for last year’s NBA draft after averaging 22.7 points per game in his junior season. Roberts went undrafted.
The Lions start a string of four straight road games with today’s game, closing out the first half of their conference schedule with Grambling State today and Jackson State on Monday. They will visit Alabama State and Alabama A&M next Saturday and Monday.
“You’re going to another team’s place to play, but the most important thing to do is to go in and be focused,” Ivory said.
UAPB at Grambling State
• When: Today, women’s game at 3 p.m.; men’s game at 5 p.m.
• Where: Fredrick C. Hobdy Arena, Grambling, La.
• Records: Women, UAPB 7-10, 3-4 SWAC; Grambling State 3-16, 1-6. Men, UAPB 7-12, 6-1; Grambling State 0-16, 0-7.
• Page 3B: College basketball conference standings