- UALR played its best offensive game of the season, finishing with five
players in double figures and setting or equaling season highs in shooting
(59.2 percent), assists (21) and made free throws (24), as the Trojans (11-8,
5-3 SBC) beat FIU (8-8, 3-4 SBC) 88-76 Saturday afternoon at the Jack Stephens
Center. Junior Will Neighbour and sophomore Michael Javes paced the UALR
scoring attack with 15 points each.
"I thought our guys did a very good job of moving the
basketball," said head coach Steve
Shields. "I thought we shared it; I thought we got it to the paint. I felt
like coming in that we wanted to get the ball to the high post, and I thought
our guys did an excellent job of sharing the basketball in the first half."
The Trojans finished the game 29-of-49 from the field,
and their 88 points scored were the most since they totaled 91 against St. Gregory's
on Dec. 4. UALR finished the night shooting 85.7 percent from the foul stripe
(24-of-28), which was also a season best. With the win, the Trojans improved to
10-1 this season at the Jack Stephens Center.
UALR ended the night with a 29-to-25 advantage on the
boards, led by seven rebounds from Neighbour and six from sophomore Taggart Lockhart. UALR big men
Neighbour and Javes combined for 30 points and helped UALR earn a 42-to-18
advantage in points in the paint.
Making his fourth-straight start at point guard,
freshman Josh Hagins scored 10
points to go along with seven assists and finished a perfect 4-of-4 from the
foul line. Sophomore Ben Dillard
added 11 points in 29 minutes, while freshman James White came off the bench to score 14 points, 12 of which came
in the second half. White also tied his career high with three blocked shots.
Lockhart and freshman Kemy Osse scored nine and eight points, respectively, to help UALR
to a 35-to-27 lead in bench scoring.
FIU finished the night with six players in double
figures, led by Malik Smith who scored 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
After UALR grabbed a quick 2-0 lead to begin the game,
FIU knocked down consecutive three pointers to take a 6-2 lead, and eventually went
up 13-8 on a jumper by Tymell Murphy. A Javes dunk regained the lead for UALR
at 17-16, and from there UALR scored 14-unanswerd points and went up 31-16 on a
pair of free throws by sophomore Gus
Leeper. The Trojans got their lead as high as 19 points in the first half
when Hagins converted a pair of free throws to make it 43-24 with 4:21 left in the
half. A three pointer by FIU's Marco Porcher Jiminez with 23 seconds left in
the half made it 51-36 as the teams went to their locker rooms.
The Trojans finished the first half shooting 66.7
percent from the floor (14-of-21) and 20-of-22 from the foul line (90.9
UALR got its lead to 20 in the second half on a trey by
Dillard at the 18:00 mark. But the Panthers didn't go away, pulling with 10 on
two occasions, with the latest coming on a pair of free throws by Jerome Frink
with 1:02 left to play. Junior Leroy
Isler converted on fastbreak layup with 29 ticks left on the clock to bring
the game to its 88-76 final.
UALR returns to action next week when it hits the road
for a pair of road matchups at Middle Tennessee (Jan. 17) and Western Kentucky
(Jan. 19). Both games will be available on ESPN3.