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31
May
2020

No. 7 Bears Upend No. 6 Islanders to Live Another Day

first_imgDefense has been the key to UCA’s revival and it continued on Wednesday as the Bears allowed fewer than 65 points for the fifth time in their six-game run. After watching the Islanders (14-18) connect on three of their first four 3-point attempts in the first 3:02 of the contest, UCA clamped down on A&M-CC’s long-range attack, holding them to just 4-of-24 the remainder of the night. Box Score | Photo GalleryKATY, Texas — After losing seven straight and nearly capsizing their chances to return to the Southland Conference men’s basketball tournament, Central Arkansas’ recent run has its title hopes afloat for at least one more day. UCA put together a key run capped off by a pair of free throws from Hayden Koval (15 points, 11 rebounds) that stretched the lead to 51-41 at the 8:33 mark. A&M-CC would never get closer than nine points. The Islanders relied on the shooting of guard Jashawn Talton in the first half. Talton scored 17 of the team’s 25 first half points, going 6-for-9 from the field while his teammates managed only three field goals in 20 attempts. However, UCA’s locker room adjustments resulted in Talton going scoreless after intermission – a critical blow to A&M-CC’s hopes of closing the deficit. Thatch Unruh scored 21 points while an aggressive Bears defense limited Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to just 33.9 percent from the field on their way to a 73-53 win over the Islanders in an opening round game at Merrell Center on Wednesday night. The victory pushes seventh-seed UCA (14-18) to a 7:30 p.m. date against third-seed Southeastern Louisiana on Thursday.MBB: @UCAMBB Unruh hits one from waaaaaaaay downtown. @islandersmbb Clark counters with jam. Bears up 62-50 w/ 1:35 remaining. Winner gets @SLU_Hoops.?? https://t.co/dZeRYkvDI1???? @espn apps #ShakasUp #BearClawsUp #SouthlandStrong ?? #ChampWeek pic.twitter.com/5j74J5KGmA— #SouthlandStrong (@SouthlandSports) March 14, 2019“I thought our guys really competed hard,” said Bear’s coach Russ Pennell, whose team has won five of their last six. “I thought (Wednesday) was an extension of what we’ve been doing. How long we can do that, I don’t know, but right now with the enthusiasm and the effort that the guys are putting in, I wouldn’t think they’re going to have much of a letdown.” Still, the Islanders were able to pull within 42-38 when South hit a pair of free throws with 12:51 remaining. It would be as close as they would get as the flash of offensive production they showed early in the second half faded away.MBB: @UCAMBB with the exclamation point courtesy of Mondesir. BOOM!Bears win 73-53 over the Islanders. UCA advances to face @SLU_Hoops Thursday. 7:30 start inside @MerrellCenter. #BearClawsUp #SouthlandStrong ?? #ChampWeek pic.twitter.com/GFsAcd85rV— #SouthlandStrong (@SouthlandSports) March 14, 2019 The duo of Kareem South and Emmanuel Toney were unable to get into an offensive groove. Combined, the pair hit on just three of 20 shots, including 1-for-10 from 3-point range.“We weren’t locked in defensively as we needed to be,” said Islanders’ coach Willis Wilson. “There were just situations where the ball just did not bounce our way. We had some shots that went in and out. We had a couple of balls that we struggled to get the handle on. Things just kind of escalated.”last_img read more

22
Dec
2019

La Liga match-day 14: Barca, Real face winnable fixtures

first_imgLevante vs MallorcaEstadio Ciudad de Valencia, ValenciaFriday, 22-11-2019 @11pmJust three points separate 12th placed Levante and 16th placed Mallorca going into their clash at Ciutat de Valencia this Friday evening; however, we’re expecting that margin to double come the final whistle based on Levante’s strong home results this term and Mallorca’s woeful record on the road since returning to La Liga.A three-goal blitz in seven superb second-half minutes saw Levante dismantle champions Barcelona 3-1 at Ciudad de Valencia on Matchday 12, the result and performance doing much to show that Granotas are capable of beating anyone at home when putting their best foot forward.Paco Lopez’ charges are far from bombproof on their own patch as a 0-1 reverse against second-bottom Espanyol in late October suggests, but overall they have been extremely solid in front of their own supporters this season with three wins and two draws gained from six outings.Granotas have kept two clean sheets and conceded just four goals in total across those fixtures, so it’s easy to see why they are favourites this Friday to see off a Mallorca side who have been toiling on their travels.Mallorca have turned in some cracking efforts at Son Moix this season including a 1-0 triumph over Real Madrid in mid-October and a 3-1 victory against Villarreal before the international break; however, the Balearic Islanders are failing to acclimatise to the demands of top-flight football on the mainland.Los Bermellones have lost all five of their away trips thus far including a 3-0 hammering against Valladolid two starts ago and they were also beaten 1-0 by bottom club Leganes on Matchday 10.Vicente Moreno’s side have shipped 12 goals in those five matches and have failed to score themselves in four – clear evidence that Mallorca simply doesn’t seem up to scratch at this level when playing outside of Son Moix.Consequently, Mallorca almost have to be treat as two different teams at the moment depending on whether they are playing home or away, and that means we’re readily opposing them to get anything from this week’s contest.Levante signed off with an away defeat to Atletico Madrid a fortnight ago, but the 2-1 loss was no disgrace considering how formidable Atleti are at Wanda Metropolitano. Granotas should still be brimming with confidence after beating Barca in such tremendous style.Leganes vs BarcelonaEstádio Municipal de Butarque, LeganesSaturday, 22-11-2019 @3pm  Barcelona lost just three league matches throughout 2018/19 en route to securing their 26th La Liga title, so they will be bitterly disappointed to have registered the same amount of defeats already this term after just 12 games.All three disappointments have been away from home, which raises a few doubts ahead of this Saturday’s clash with Leganes; however, we expect Ernesto Valverde’s side to have too much class for a Los Pepineros side who are propping up the league table after nine defeats from 13.Barca’s poor results on the road in the opening weeks of the campaign appeared to be nothing more than a blip after they went on to bag convincing consecutive away victories without conceding against Getafe (0-2) and Eibar (0-3), but problems resurfaced at the beginning of the month against Levante.The Catalan giants looked set for another routine three points at Ciutat de Valencia after Lionel Messi gave them a first-half advantage via the penalty spot. But they were stunned by three Levante goals in a superb seven-minute spell in the second half. Barca couldn’t muster any form of response, leaving their away points haul at a meagre seven from a possible 18 thus far.Nonetheless, no other team has really managed to capitalise on their less-than-perfect start to the season and Ernesto Valverde’s men sit joint-top of the standings alongside arch-rivals Real Madrid heading into Matchday 14, following a 4-1 thumping of Celta Vigo at Camp Nou before the international break. With a trip to Wanda Metropolitano to face Atleti next week and the rescheduled El Clasico at Camp Nou around the corner on December 18, the next month or so is likely to define Barca’s domestic campaign; they must ensure they succumb to no more slip-ups against inferior opposition.They did just that against Leganes in last season’s corresponding fixture (2-1), but it’s hard to envisage a repeat this time around. Lega have lost nine of their 13 league games so far and have picked up just four points from their seven outings at Butarque. Barca have triumphed in the other five previous meetings between the teams and we expect them to bolster that record here – albeit with both teams scoring.Lega have managed to score in each of their last four home matches, while Barcelona have kept just two clean sheets from their six games on the road.Real Betis vs ValenciaEstadio Benito Villamarín, SevillaSaturday, 22-11-2019 @6pmAfter back to back La Liga wins against Espanyol (1-2) and Granada (2-0) either side of a 4-1 success at home to Lille in the Champions League, the international break clearly arrived at the wrong time for Albert Celades’ Valencia.Los Che supporters will be hoping that a fortnight off hasn’t interrupted their side’s progress and momentum heading into this Saturday’s clash with Betis at Benito Villamarin, which we envisage being an open and attacking encounter.Following an extremely slow start to the campaign, Valencia’s recent results have seen them move into the top half of the La Liga table, where they sit just four points behind the Champions League places in 9th.On the European front, Los Che forced themselves into a three-way tie at the top of Group H with their aforementioned victory over Lille and will definitely qualify for the knockout stages if able to beat Chelsea at Mestalla next week.Up first though for Valencia is a trip to Benito Villamarin this weekend – a venue at which they have tasted success in each of the last two seasons including when drubbing Betis 3-6 in a thriller two years ago.They are marginal favourites with the bookmakers to claim all three points once again this time around, and odds of around 6/4 seem quite fair on face value considering Los Che’s recent results and the seven-point advantage they hold over 17th placed Betis in the standings.Nevertheless, Valencia have lost three of their six away league fixtures this term and we’re opting to give them the swerve in the match betting this Saturday despite narrowly favouring the visitors for the win.Instead, we’re backing both teams to score as there’s plenty to suggest that we’ll see goals at both ends of the field in Andalusia on Matchday 14.Valencia have netted in all but one of their 13 league games this season, but have kept only three clean sheets in total and just one from six outings on the road.Betis meanwhile have registered at least once in all seven of their fixtures at Benito Villamarin but have also conceded in all of those games. Overall, Los Verdiblancos currently boast the joint-worst defensive record in La Liga with 23 goals leaked, but they have managed a decent return of 15 goals themselves despite their poor results this term.Granada vs Atletico MadridEstadio Nuevo Los Cármenes, GranadaSaturday, 22-11-2019 @8:30pmAtletico Madrid have been as solid and reliable as ever so far this season with just one defeat suffered from 13 league outings, but a tally of six draws means that Los Rojiblancos are still playing catch-up with likely title rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid who are both a point clear with a game in hand.Diego Simeone’s men will get the chance to leapfrog Barca next weekend when they entertain the champions at Wanda Metropolitano, but they must first take care of Granada at Los Carmenes this Saturday. With newly promoted Nazaries now struggling after a fine start to life in La Liga, we’re backing Atleti to bag the three points they need to stay in touch at the top of the table.After a huge overhaul in personnel during the summer, Atleti began the campaign clinically with three consecutive victories; however old frustrations soon resurfaced for Diego Simeone and his team.Atleti failed too often to see off inferior opposition last term which is why they wound up as distant runners-up to Barcelona, and the same can be said for the majority of their last ten matches. Atleti have amassed a mediocre haul of 15 points in that period which is more akin to mid-table form, and they simply need to get into the winning habit more regularly to seriously challenge this season.Fortunately for Los Rojiblancos, Barcelona and Real Madrid have also dropped their fair share of points thus far, meaning they are in touching distance of top spot heading into Matchday 14.This Saturday’s game at Los Carmenes is certainly a must-win for Atleti though with a clash against Barca next up, and Simeone’s side should secure the points based on the difference in quality between the sides and Granada’s recent results.Nazaries made a cracking start to the season following promotion from Segunda last term and briefly led the way a few weeks ago after a run of four wins and a draw from five matches.Diego Martinez’ charges have dropped off quite dramatically since though and they head into this daunting fixture on the back of three straights defeats after going down 2-0 to Valencia at Mestalla before the international break.Granada have shown themselves to be a highly capable outfit overall at Los Carmenes with four wins posted from six including a 2-0 win against Barca in late September, but it’s asking a lot of Nazaries to get anything from this contest based on recent evidence.Real Madrid vs Real SociedadEstadio Santiago Bernabéu, MadridSaturday, 22-11-2019 @11pmReal Madrid vs Real Sociedad has become one of the most entertaining and watchable La Liga match-ups in recent years and it’s easy to see why, with a whopping 67 goals netted in the last 15 encounters between the sides. Los Blancos have largely had the better of things during that period, with 11 wins to Sociedad’s three. But two of those Sociedad successes came last season, including a tremendous 0-2 triumph at the Bernabeu. Can Imanol Alguacil’s side repeat the dose this time around, or will Madrid re-affirm their dominance in the head to head?Madrid are favourites to land the spoils on Saturday night and that’s not surprising based on their home advantage and form displayed prior to the international break. Los Blancos have won four and drawn two of their six league matches at the Bernabeu and they go into Saturday’s showdown with Sociedad on the back of some emphatic victories. Madrid beat Leganes 5-0 here at the end of October and, although they failed to break down Real Betis next time out in a poor 0-0 stalemate, they hit back to swat Galatasaray aside 6-0 in the Champions League before signing off for the break with an impressive 0-4 success at Eibar.The latter result ensured Madrid stayed joint-top of the table with main rivals Barcelona, and Los Blancos will be focused on keeping pace with the Catalan giants in the coming weeks before the rescheduled El Clasico at Camp Nou on 18th December. It’s difficult to oppose Madrid for the three points this Saturday night, but Los Blancos are equally far too short in the match betting to merit interest.After all, Sociedad are just two points behind them in 5th and have notched four wins from seven on the road this season, including a 1-2 victory at Granada on their last away day. Imanol Alguacil’s charges can blow hot and cold as typified by their 1-1 home draw against bottom side Leganes last time out, but they have a habit of raising their game against the bigger teams.That was demonstrated last term when they secured a historic league double over Los Blancos and they already have a 2-0 home win against Atletico Madrid on their dance card this term. We expect Sociedad to really take the game to Madrid in this clash and that should lead to plenty of goals, as has been the case in so many recent encounters between the teams.Espanyol vs GetafeRCDE Stadium, BarcelonaSunday, 23-11-2019 @2pmGetafe drew a blank at home to Osasuna in a 0-0 stalemate before the international break; however last season’s 5th placed side have been moving nicely into contention over the past month or so with 13 points accrued from their last six games. Pepe Bordalas’ charges take on an Espanyol side this weekend who have lost all six of their home matches this term, and we think the in-form visitors are well priced to inflict further pain upon Periquitos at RCDE Stadium.Espanyol have enjoyed plenty of success against Getafe in recent seasons with three wins and a draw from the last four encounters between the teams in Barcelona; however we expect the tide to turn this weekend based on how Pablo Machin’s men have performed in the league at RCDE Stadium this term.A 1-2 reverse against Valencia on Matchday 12 marked Espanyol’s sixth La Liga home defeat from six outings this season – a truly dismal run which has left Periquitos firmly entrenched in the relegation zone.Espanyol have just eight points on the board and are five adrift of the safety line going into this weekend’s fixture, and already boss Pablo Machin is feeling the heat after replacing David Gallego a few weeks ago.The only bright spark for Espanyol this season has been their Europa League form – a stark contrast to their domestic showings with ten points gained from their four games so far. Periquitos are all but through to the last 32 of that competition, but success on the continent is coming at a serious cost for the Barcelona based outfit who performed so admirably to finish 7th in 2018/19.They take on one of La Liga’s most in-form sides this Sunday in the shape of Getafe, who, unlike Espanyol, look fully on course to at least repeat what they achieved in the league last season.Getafe punched well above their weight to secure 5th last term and only narrowly missed out on Champions League qualification. They had a sticky start to the new campaign with just one win landed in their first seven games; however they have gone from strength to strength since the end of September.Pepe Bordalas’ men have bagged away wins against Real Sociedad (1-2) and Celta Vigo (0-1) in recent weeks and have also secured cosy home victories against Leganes (2-0) and Granada (3-1) to lift themselves into 7th. They are seemingly getting the balance right between La Liga and Europa League commitments (on course to just do enough to qualify from Group C with two games remaining) and go into this Sunday’s clash in excellent shape overall.It’s difficult to understand how Espanyol can even dispute favouritism for this fixture based on their home record and the fact they have lost six of their last seven La Liga games overallOsasuna vs Athletic BilbaoEstadio El Sadar, IruneaSunday, 23-11-2019 @4pm10th placed Osasuna take on 6th placed Athletic Bilbao at El Sadar this Sunday afternoon and everything points towards a tight, low scoring affair in Pamplona. Just a point separates the teams in the La Liga standings and the pair have 12 draws between them already this season.Osasuna will put their unbeaten home record on the line against a Bilbao side who boast the joint best defence in Spain, leading us to fancy under 2.5 goals and a 1-1 draw in what should be a fascinating all Basque contest.Osasuna were somewhat overshadowed by fellow promoted side Granada in the opening weeks of the campaign, including when succumbing to a 1-0 defeat against Nazaries at Los Carmenes in mid-October.But since that result, Granada have dropped to 8th from a surprise share of the lead, whilst Osasuna have begun to flourish. Jagoba Arrasate’s side have amassed eight points from their last four matches to move within a point of a Europa League place, including a 4-2 home success against Alaves two starts ago which extended their record at El Sadar this term to three wins and three draws from six.Los Rojillos were unbeaten in front of their own supporters last season en route to their runaway triumph in Segunda and they are now firmly establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with at home in the top flight. They held champions Barcelona to a 2-2 draw back in August and have also comfortably beaten Valencia (3-1) in their own backyard.It’s clear to see then that Athletic Club face a real test this weekend and they go into the fixture in the unenviable position of searching for their first away win of the season after four draws and two defeats.Gaizka Garitano’s charges have been superb at San Mames with five wins and a draw posted from seven including a 2-1 triumph over Barcelona’s latest conquerors Levante before the international break, but things just haven’t quite clicked for the Basque giants on the road.Nonetheless, a 0-0 stalemate away to Villarreal two starts ago was a huge step in the right direction considering how strong El Submarino Amarillo have been at La Ceramica this season and the result marked Bilbao’s sixth clean sheet of the campaign.Athletic have conceded just eight goals in total from their 13 matches this season which puts them at the top of the defensive charts alongside Atletico Madrid, and Garitano’s side are likely to approach this Sunday’s clash with the main aim of keeping their powder dry.Eibar vs Deportivo AlavésEstadio Municipal de Ipurua, EibarSunday, 23-11-2019 @6pmEibar’s home record this season isn’t exactly sparkling with three wins and three defeats from six and they were crushed 0-4 last tie out at Ipurua by Real Madrid. Nonetheless, Los Armeros take on an Alaves side this weekend who have claimed just one point from six outings on the road this term and who are without a win in their last 11 away games. Whilst we expect a close tussle in this all-Basque clash, we’re forecasting an Eibar triumph and more travelling woe for Babazorros.More was expected of Eibar on Matchday 13 considering they had won three of their last four at Ipurua and entertained a Real Madrid side who had recently suffered a 1-0 defeat in Palma against Mallorca.However, Real showed their class and Eibar froze, resulting in a resounding 0-4 success for Los Blancos. The international break definitely came at the right time for Eibar on the back of that fixture, and Jose Luis Mendilibar will have been doing much to focus and prepare his squad for this Sunday’s crucial encounter with Alaves over the past fortnight.Eibar won this corresponding fixture narrowly 2-1 last term, and it looks like a case of any win will do this time around for Los Armeros who have slipped down to 15th. Eibar still hold a six point buffer over the relegation zone, but that could soon shrink on the run up to Christmas with tough assignments against Real Sociedad, Getafe and Athletic Bilbao to come – teams all currently placed in the top seven.Three points here will give Eibar the breathing space they need and we fancy them to hit back based on their prior victories against Sevilla (3-2) and Villarreal (2-1) at Ipurua, as well as Alaves’ dismal away form.The visitors have been nothing short of diabolical on their travels, losing five on the spin since their 1-1 draw at Getafe in August including a 4-2 defeat at Osasuna two starts ago.Babazorros have shipped 16 goals in total across their six matches on the road and their form is a continuation from troubles at the back end of last term when they picked up just one point from their last four away.Garitano’s side have consequently not tasted success outside of Mendizorroza since beating relegated Huesca 1-3 in mid-March, so there’s nothing to recommend their cause this weekend despite Eibar’s embarrassment last time out.Villarreal vs Celta VigoEstadio de la Cerámica, VillarrealSunday, 23-11-2019 @8:30pmVillarreal were moving smoothly into contention to challenge for the European qualification spots towards the end of October, but a run of one draw and two defeats from their last three games has seen El Submarino Amarillo drop back down to 11th. Javier Calleja’s men desperately need a win this weekend to get back on track and we fancy them to deliver the goods against a Celestes side who are without a win in 18 away La Liga matches.Indeed, you have to go back to 8th December 2018 for Celta’s last success on the road, which ironically came here at La Ceramica. Vigo secured a thrilling 2-3 triumph and they repeated that scoreline in March’s return fixture at Balaidos to notch an impressive league double over El Submarino Amarillo.That achievement was one of very few bright sparks for Celta last term as they slumped to a 17th placed finish and they are not faring any better this time around. Celestes have lost their last five La Liga matches including a 4-1 beating at Barcelona last time out and sit 18th in the league, four points adrift of 17th placed Real Betis.Whilst the international break will have given new boss Oscar Garcia time to work with his squad and last season’s aforementioned victory at La Ceramica may rekindle good memories, Celestes simply can’t be fancied to take anything from this game based on their overall form an their dreadful run of six draws and 12 defeats from their last 18 La Liga matches outside of Galicia.Villarreal boss Javier Calleja will be deeply frustrated by his team’s recent away losses against 15th placed Eibar (2-1) and 16th placed Mallorca (3-1) which took his side’s record on the road this term to two wins and five defeats from seven, and the Valencian outfit must improve on their travels if they are to stay in the hunt for European qualification this season.Nonetheless, Villarreal remain extremely reliable at home, where they have won three and drawn three from six outings this term. They may have expected more than a 0-0 stalemate against Athletic Bilbao two starts ago, but that result was no disgrace considering how defensively strong Los Leones are.Prior to that result, Villarreal posted three consecutive wins on their own turf against Valladolid (2-0), Real Betis (5-1) and Alaves (4-1), and a repeat of those performances here should see them gain revenge for their reversals against Celestes in 2018/19.Real Valladolid vs SevillaEstadio Municipal Jose Zorrilla, ValladolidSunday, 23-11-2019 @11pmValladolid are having a tough time on the road with four defeats from their last six including a 3-0 beating at Alaves before the international break, however they are holding their own overall in mid-table this term thanks to an unbeaten home record. Pucela have posted three wins and two draws from five outings thus far at Jose Zorrilla and will hope to enhance that run when they host 4th placed Sevilla this weekend.We don’t think that Sergio’s side will be quite good enough to overcome a Sevilla side who go into this fixture unbeaten in seven across all competitions; however we think Pucela can hold Sevillistas to a 1-1 draw, with under 2.5 goals also forecasted.Valladolid’s two home victories this term have come on their last two starts at Jose Zorrilla, with comprehensive successes gained against Eibar (2-0) and Mallorca (3-0).  Those are evidently solid results against teams just below them in the league table, but it’s Pucela’s prior 0-0 stalemate against 3rd placed Atletico Madrid that mainly leads us to believe that they can grind something out of this encounter with Sevilla.A point for the hosts this Sunday will further help to solidify their position in mid-table, and a draw would also have to be classed as a fair result for the visitors.Sevilla obviously need wins if they are to mount a challenge for the La Liga title this season, though qualification for the Champions League looks a more realistic target for Julen Lopetegui’s side.They are on course to achieve that so far having transformed themselves into a far sturdier outfit this term and it would be a surprise were they to lose anywhere near the amount of games which they did last season. Sevillistas were beaten 13 times in all, which ultimately meant they failed narrowly to finish in the top four.Sevilla go into Sunday’s clash unbeaten in seven across all competitions and they have lost just one of their last seven in La Liga, a defeat which came against champions Barcelona at Camp Nou. With draws posted against Atletico Madrid and Valencia on that run alongside wins against the likes of Real Sociedad and Getafe who are in the top seven, it’s hard to envisage 13th placed Valladolid getting the better of them.Comments Tags: Atletico Madridbarcelonareal madridValencialast_img read more