The Urbana University men’s basketball team will look to erase a six-game slide as it closes out a three-game road trip this week.
UU (3-16, 2-12 MEC) travels to Fairmont State (15-5, 11-3 MEC) today for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff at Joe Retton Arena, followed by a Saturday afternoon contest at Shepherd (12-8, 8-6 MEC). Both games will feature live steams that can be accessed on UUBlueKnights.com.
The Blue Knights, who have never defeated the pair of upcoming opponents, are playing better than their record indicates this season. Three weeks ago, UU limited Fairmont State to its lowest scoring total in conference play while hanging with the Falcons, who toppled No. 1 West Liberty on Sunday, 98-97. The following game, UU led Shepherd for the majority of the contest before falling late by three points in overtime. The Rams are coming off a 10-point victory over No. 19 Wheeling Jesuit, 98-88.
Here are some things you need to know heading into this week’s slate of games:
* Despite three wins, UU has kept games more competitive than the record shows. The Blue Knights held a lead in each of the past six matchups and during 12 of their 16 losses on the year.
* The Blue Knights have played well on defense, for the most part, while holding five of their previous seven MEC opponents to their lowest scoring total of the season.
* UU is currently shooting 38.5 percent from beyond the arc, good for second-best in the conference. If the Blue Knights keep shooting at that same percentage or higher over the final nine games, it will mark the best three-point shooting performance since the 1993-94 squad shot 39.5 percent from deep.
* Senior guard Carlas Jackson currently ranks 10th on UU’s all-time scoring list (first in NCAA D-II era) and needs 18 points to reach 1,500 in his career. Also, Jackson is closing in on the school’s all-time career mark for made 3-pointers, which has stood since 1998 when former standout Donnie Gillespie finished his career with 257 treys. Jackson currently has made 245 3-pointers on 645 attempts from beyond the arc.
* Junior guard Malik Jacobs leads the Blue Knights in scoring (16.2) and senior forward AJ Washington leads the squad in rebounding (5.8). Washington is coming off a season-high 14 points scored at West Virginia State.