– UALR (9-8, 4-1 SBC) and Georgia State (11-6, 4-0 SBC) will meet in a clash of the Sun Belt’s top two teams on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. (CST) at GSU Sports Arena. The Trojans have won five of their last six games and are coming off an overtime victory at Western Kentucky on Thursday.
Senior Will Neighbour scored a career-best 32 points in the win at WKU, becoming the first UALR player to hit the 30-point mark since Brandon Freeman scored 38 at FIU during the 2004-05 season. Neighbour also became just the 15th player in program history to surpass the 500-rebound mark in the win over the Hilltoppers.
Neighbour’s 32 points led four UALR players in double figures. Sophomore James White totaled his second double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds. White also blocked two shots and now has eight blocks over UALR’s last three games.
Saturday’s meeting will be the first between UALR and Georgia State since the 1990-91 season – UALR’s last as a member of the Trans America Athletic Conference. The Trojans lead 16-1 in the all-time series, including 7-0 in games played in Atlanta.
Fans can follow the game online at GeorgiaStateSports.com with live stats and live video. GSU’s live video (Panther Vision) is available by subscription only, with packages starting as low as $6.95. The game can also be heard online at 106.7 FM in Little Rock, or online at Heartbeat 1067.com.
Stat and score updates will be provided throughout the game by the UALR basketball team’s Twitter account (@UALR_MBB).
GM18 // UALR (9-8, 4-1 SBC) at Georgia State (11-6, 4-0 SBC)
Saturday, Jan. 18 • 1:30 PM (CST)
Atlanta, Ga. • GSU Sports Arena (3,455)
Twitter: @UALRathletics // @UALR_MBB
Radio: KHLR – 106.7 FM
Online Radio: Heartbeat1067.com
Radio Talent: Phil Elson (PXP)
Live Stats: GeorgiaStateSports.com
Live Video: GeorgiaStateSports.com
SBC Record: 4-1
Head Coach: Steve Shields (11th year)
Record at UALR: 173-151
Career Record: Same
UALR Statistical Leaders
Points: Will Neighbour (17.8)
Rebounds: Will Neighbour (7.4)
Assists: DeVonte Smith (2.9)
Steals: Will Neighbour (1.5)
Blocks: James White (1.1)
Georgia State Panthers
SBC Record: 4-0
Head Coach: Ron Hunter (3rd year)
Record at GSU: 48-34
Career Record: 321-253(20th year)
Georgia State Statistical Leaders
Points: R.J. Hunter (18.7)
Rebounds: Curtis Washington (6.2)
Assists: Ryan Harrow (4.5)
Steals: R.J. Hunter (1.8)
Blocks: Curtis Washington (2.9)
Series (Overall): UALR leads 16-1
Series (at GSU): UALR leads 7-0
Current Streak: GSU won 1
Last Meeting: 3/7/91 – GSU, 80-60
Shields Record vs. GSU: First Meeting
• UALR picked up an 87-83 overtime victory over Western Kentucky at E.A. Diddle Arena on Thursday night to improve to 9-8 overall and 4-1 in Sun Belt play. The win was also UALR’s fifth in six games.
• Joined by Georgia State, UALR is one of just two Sun Belt teams with four conference victories.
• Senior Will Neighbour led the Trojans with a career-high 32 points (11-14 FGs, 9-11 FTs) and seven rebounds.
• Neighbour’s effort was UALR’s first 30-point game since Brandon Freeman scored 38 at FIU on Jan. 30, 2005.
• Neighbour has now reached double figures in scoring in 17 straight games to start the season – the longest streak by a UALR player this century.
• Neighbour also surpassed the 500-rebound mark for his career in the win, becoming just the 15th player in program history to hit that milestone.
• Sophomore James White added 14 points (7-13 FGs) and 10 rebounds for his second career double-double.
• White has now scored in double figures in six of the last seven games and is averaging 13.9 points and shooting 66.7 percent from the floor over the same span.
• DeVonte Smith has racked up 48 assists against 13 turnovers in 13 games as the team’s starting point guard and boasts a 3.3 assist-to-turnover ratio this season.
• Now in his 11th season as head coach, Steve Shields ranks first among active Sun Belt coaches with 96 career conference wins and first in win percentage in conference play (.561).
• The Trojans’ 2013-14 slate features 13 games against teams that played postseason basketball a year ago. The schedule features seven games against teams that earned bids to the 2013 NCAA Tournament, including matchups against No. 12/13 Florida and No. 18/18 Memphis.
• UALR has more road victories through 17 games this year (4) than it did for the entire 2012-13 season (3).
• UALR’s field goal percentage defense currently ranks second in the Sun Belt (42.8 percent).
• Through five SBC games, UALR is holding its conference opponents to 39.7 percent shooting from the floor.
• With its 87-83 win over Western Kentucky, UALR is now 6-1 on the season in games decided by five or fewer points. The Trojans’ only loss within a five-point margin was a 72-70 defeat against North Florida to open the year.
• UALR is 8-2 on the season when finishing even or better on the glass.
• UALR is 5-2 on the season when committing fewer turnovers than its opponent.
• The Trojans have already reached 80 points in a game six times this year, surpassing their total from the previous two seasons combined (5).
• UALR is second in the Sun Belt Conference in free throw shooting percentage (71.5 percent).
• The Trojans are 8-2 on the year when finishing even or better at the foul line.
• UALR put four players in double figures for the fifth time this season in its win at WKU. Under Shields, UALR is 66-20 when finishing with four or more players in double figures.
• UALR’s 11 steals at WKU, including three each by Josh Hagins and DeVonte Smith, were a new team high this season.
• The Trojans have used the same starting lineup over the last six games (Smith, Dillard, Isler, White, Neighbour) and are 5-1 over that span.
• Senior Will Neighbour currently ranks in the top ten of the Sun Belt Conference in scoring (17.8-6th), rebounding (7.4-5th) and steals (1.5-4th).
• Neighbour has reached double figures in scoring in each of UALR’s first 17 games to start the season and already has more than twice as many games of 20+ points this season (7) than he did over his first two seasons at UALR combined (3).
• Neighbour totaled his fifth double-double of the season – matching his total from all of 2012-13 – and 12th of his career with 22 points and 10 rebounds vs. South Alabama (1/9). UALR is 9-3 in Neighbour’s 12 career double-double games.
• Neighbour’s 117 free throw attempts lead the SBC. He is averaging 6.9 free throw attempts per game this season, up from 2.0 over his first two seasons at UALR.
• Sophomore James White is averaging 13.9 points while shooting 66.7 percent from the floor over UALR’s last seven games.
• White currently ranks fifth in the Sun Belt in field goal percentage (54.8 percent).
• White now has 19 career double-figure scoring games and UALR is 15-4 in those games.
• White has blocked eight shots in UALR’s last three games.
• White now has 12 career games of 2+ blocks and UALR is 9-4 in those games.
• Neighbour (2.0-11th) and White (1.9-14th) both rank in the top 15 of the SBC in offensive boards per game.
• In UALR’s nine wins, sophomore Josh Hagins is averaging 13.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game while shooting 51.9 percent from the floor and 52.9 percent from 3-point range.
• With 15 points at WKU, Hagins now has 10 double-figure scoring games this season.
• Hagins ranks seventh in the SBC in 3-point percentage (40.0 percent) and 11th in 3’s per game (1.8).
• Junior DeVonte Smith has racked up 48 assists against just 13 turnovers in 13 games as a starter.
• Smith’s 3.2 assist-to-turnover ratio leads the Sun Belt, while his 2.9 assists per game rank ninth.
• Smith has committed just four turnovers in 210 minutes over UALR’s last five games.
• Junior Ben Dillard is shooting 54.2 percent from 3-point range on the season.
• UALR is now 12-5 in Dillard’s career when he goes for 10+ points and 9-3 when he hits 2+ treys.
• Sophomore Kemy Osse came off the bench to score a career-best matching 16 points in UALR’s win at WKU and now has back-to-back double-digit scoring games.
• Senior Will Neighbour currently sits in eighth place on UALR’s all-time blocks list (74). He now sits one back from tying Gilbert Maxwell (1979-81) for seventh place.
• Neighbour is 51 points away from becoming the 19th member of UALR’s 1,000-point club.
• With seven rebounds against WKU, Neighbour sits at 503 for his career and becomes the 15th member of UALR’s 500-rebound club. Neighbour’s 225 boards a year ago were the most by a UALR player since Rashad Jones-Jennings (392) in the 2006-07 season.
• Junior Ben Dillard is a 45.0 percent career 3-point shooter, putting him on pace to pass Alan Barksdale (41.1 percent) as the top 3-point shooter in school history.
• Dillard’s career free-throw shooting percentage of 81.4 currently ranks sixth on UALR’s all-time list.
About Georgia State
• Georgia State is undefeated in Sun Belt play through its first four games as a league member. Most recently, the Panthers defeated Arkansas State 73-72 at GSU Sports Arena on Thursday night.
• R.J. Hunter (18.7 ppg) and Ryan Harrow (18.2 ppg) are combining to average nearly 37 points per night. Curtis Washington is tied for the Sun Belt lead in blocked shots at 2.9 per night.
• The Panthers are third in the conference in scoring offense (78.1 ppg) and lead the league in offensive field goal percentage (47.5 percent).
• Ron Hunter is in his third season as head coach.
All-Time Against the Panthers
• Saturday’s matchup will be the first time these two programs have met since March 7, 1991, when Georgia State defeated UALR 80-60 in the Trans America Athletic Conference (TAAC) Tournament. It is GSU’s only win in the all-time series.
• UALR leads 16-1 in the series, including 7-0 in games played in Atlanta.
• Saturday’s game will be the first against GSU for head coach Steve Shields.
History in the Making
• Senior Will Neighbour has a chance to become the first player in UALR history to finish his career with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 100 steals, 100 assists and 75 blocked shots.
• Neighbour currently sits at 949 points, 503 rebounds, 91 steals, 91 assists and 74 blocks with 13 games remaining in the regular season.
• Assuming Neighbour reaches the 1,000-point mark, he will be just the sixth player in program history to score 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds.