BasketBrawl? UCA, UALR Basketball Ink 5-Year Deal


CONWAY, Ark. – The University of Central Arkansas men’s basketball program has a new nearby, in-state rival in the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Trojans.

The Bears and Trojans will meet once this season at UALR’s Jack Stephens Center on Nov. 29, then twice a year in Conway and Little Rock for the next four seasons, according to a new deal struck between the two athletic departments.

“Our series with UALR will be great for basketball fans in central Arkansas,” said Dr. Brad Teague, UCA’s director of athetics. “Being able to play twice each year at both locations, which are 25 miles apart, will be very advantageous for each program on many levels.

“We appreciate (UALR) athletic director Chris Peterson and Coach Steve Shields for their intention and willingness to participate in a long-term contract of Division I schools in central Arkansas. This partnership will be mutually beneficial and will provide great competition for our student-athletes and fans, competition that will be easily accessible at either location.”

“It’s great that we are able to put this together, as non-conference scheduling can be difficult at times,” said UALR athletic director, Chris Peterson. “The ability to schedule a Division-I, in-state opponent just 30 miles away is great for basketball in the state of Arkansas.”

The Bears and Trojans last met in men’s basketball during the 2002-03 season, while UCA was still an NCAA Division II school. The teams met three consecutive years from 2000-2003, all in Little Rock, with UALR basketball winning all three matchups. UCA leads the overall series 32-8.

“With Coach Russ Pennell and our new coaching staff, we believe UCA will soon be one of the top programs in the Southland Conference,” said Teague. “UALR is one of the top programs in the Sun Belt Conference, so this series should provide great and exciting entertainment for all.”

Pennell took over the UCA program in March and will field a completely new team in 2014-15, having retained just one player from last year’s squad. A former UCA player, Pennell is excited about facing an in-state opponent in UALR.

“We are always wanting to lift our level of play and competing against UALR will certainly test us,” said Pennell. “I am excited to start a series with the Trojans.  I have the utmost respect for Coach Shields and his staff and the way they run their program. 

“It should be exciting for fans and alumni to have two schools 25 miles apart going at one another. I believe it is good for college basketball in the state of Arkansas.”

The UALR-UCA rivalry dates back to the 1930-31 season. The Trojans and Bears met 25 times from 1930 to 1974. The teams renewed their rivalry with a pair of matchups in the early 1980s and last met during the 2002-03 season at what was then Alltel Arena, with UALR earning an 82-69 victory. UALR has won all five meetings between the programs since the Trojans made the move to Division I in 1979.

uca ualr basketball announcement


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