PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico - Trailing by one at the half, UALR (4-2) outscored SMU (5-1) 37-to-23 and held the Mustangs to 33 percent shooting over the final 20 minutes to earn a 69-56 win Saturday night at the Puerto Vallarta Convention Center. UALR turned it over just seven times and finished the night shooting 50 percent (25-of-50) from the floor for the second time in three games.
Juniors Leroy Isler and Will Neighbour led UALR on offense with 15 points each. Neighbour finished the night 6-of-9 from the field and knocked down two treys for the second-straight game, while Isler hit two threes and went 5-of-6 from the foul line. Isler and Neighbour also led the Trojans with seven boards apiece.
Freshman James White scored 12 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists for the Trojans. Freshmen guards John Gillon and Josh Hagins combined for 14 points and nine assists, while sophomoreMichael Javes blocked a season-high four shots
Sophomore Taggart Lockhart came off the bench to score eight points on 3-of-4 shooting, including 2-of-2 from long range, in 25 minutes of work.
Led by a career-best six from Gillon, UALR's 17 assists on 25 field goals Saturday night were a season high.
UALR held an SMU offense that entered the game shooting 49.2 percent from the field in its first five games to just 36.0 percent (18-of-50) shooting on the night. Leading scorer Jalen Jones, who came into the game averaging over 18 points per contest, finished with no points in just 13 minutes before fouling out with 5:25 remaining.
SMU outrebounded UALR by a 34-to-27 count on the night, including 10-to-3 on the offensive end, with seven of SMU's offensive boards coming in the first half. The Trojans limited the Mustangs to just three offensive rebounds and two second-chance points over the final 20 minutes.
With the Trojans up 15-9 following a Lockhart trey at the 12:42 mark, SMU scored 10 straight points and held UALR scoreless for over six minutes to take a 19-15 lead. A three by Isler at the 6:00 mark got the Trojans back within one, but SMU rattled off five straight to build its lead back to six. UALR ended the half by outscoring the Mustangs 14-to-9 to pull within one, 33-32, at halftime.
The Trojans took their first lead of the second half on a layup by Isler at the 15:53 mark to make it 36-35 and would not trail for the rest of the game. A three pointer by SMU's Landon Giles tied the score at 42-all with 11:05 remaining, but UALR answered with seven-straight points, all by Neighbour, to make it 49-42 with 9:32 left.
UALR got its lead to double digits on two free throws by sophomore Ben Dillard with 3:50 left in regulation. A jumper by SMU's Cannen Cunningham on the next play was answered with a three by Neighbour to put UALR up 12, 61-45 with just under three minutes remaining, and SMU got no closer than seven the rest of the way.
UALR returns to action tomorrow evening with its final game of the Hoops for Hope Classic against South Carolina at 8:30 p.m.