Courtesy: Mark Wagner
UALR improved to 8-1 at home this season with Thursday's win over Western Kentucky.
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UALR Hands Western Kentucky First SBC Loss of the Season, 75-67
UALR Sports Information
Release: 01/03/2013

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UALR MBB Highlights vs. Western Kentucky (Jan. 3, 2013)

LITTLE ROCK - UALR finished the night shooting 48.1 percent from the floor (26-of-54) and forced Western Kentucky into 22 turnovers, as the Trojans (9-7, 3-2 SBC) dealt the Hilltoppers (10-6, 4-1 SBC) its first Sun Belt loss of the season, 75-67, Thursday night at the Jack Stephens Center. UALR improved to 9-0 on the season when holdings its opponent below 70 points.

"If you're going to be in a conference race you have to protect your home court," said head coach Steve Shields. "To come back off a three-game losing streak, two of which were on the road, this was a test for our guys. And I thought our guys did a good job handling the preparation leading up to it, and I thought we had a good team effort."

The win snapped an eight-game losing streak against Western Kentucky. UALR's most-recent win against the Hilltoppers before Thursday came on Jan. 17, 2007.

Junior Leroy Isler led three Trojans in double figures with 13 points, four rebounds and a career-high tying four steals. Sophomore Michael Javes scored 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting and sophomore Ben Dillard came off the bench to score 10 points helped by a 2-of-3 effort from three-point range.

Freshman Josh Hagins got the start at point guard and dished out five assists in a career-high 28 minutes. Junior Will Neighbour led UALR with six rebounds on the night.

UALR was outrebounded 42-to-30 on the night against WKU, who entered the game with the best rebounding margin in the SBC. Despite the -12 deficit on the boards, the Trojans led 24-to-20 in points in the paint and 13-to-8 in second-chance points. UALR also held a 27-to-13 lead in points off turnovers and led 32-to-24 in bench scoring.

UALR shot 51.9 percent from the field (14-of-27) in a second half that saw them outscore the Hilltoppers 39-31 after being tied 36-all at halftime. WKU shot 48.0 percent over the first 20 minutes (12-of-25) but that number dropped to 37.5 percent (12-of-32) in the second half.

Brandon Harris led Western Kentucky with 18 points, but finished the night shooting just 5-of-18 from the floor. Kevin Kaspar (13) and Teeng Akol (10) gave the Hilltoppers three players in double figures on the night.

After being tied 36-all at intermission, UALR went up by as many as 12 in the second half and led by five or more for the entirety of the last seven-plus minutes of the game.

WKU scored five-straight points capped by a layup by Harris with 8:30 to play to cut their deficit to three, but a lay-in by Javes and a jumper by Dillard stretched the Trojans' lead back out to seven with 6:59 remaining. Back-to-back dunks by freshman James White grew UALR's lead to nine with 3:03 left to play, and a pair of free throws by sophomore Taggart Lockhart got UALR's lead to double-digits, 67-57.

Another bucket by Lockhart gave UALR a 12-point edge with 2:26 remaining, but a 7-1 run by the Hilltoppers got WKU within six with 1:18 left on the clock. Isler did the rest for UALR, scoring the final five points of the game for the Trojans to hold off WKU's late rally.

UALR returns to action this weekend when it plays at Troy on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

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