LITTLE ROCK – Sitting second in the Sun Belt standings through the first three weeks of conference play, UALR (9-9, 4-2 SBC) will be looking for its fifth win in seven league games when it hosts Texas State at the Jack Stephens Center on Thursday at 7 p.m. Last week, UALR split a pair of road games at preseason favorite Western Kentucky and league-leading Georgia State.
Senior Will Neighbour poured in a career-high 32 points (11-14 FGs, 9-11 FTs) in the Trojans’ victory at WKU last week, becoming the first Trojan to surpass the 30-point mark since Brandon Freeman at FIU on Jan. 30, 2005. Neighbour followed that performance with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting at Georgia State and averaged 25.0 points on 75.0 percent shooting from the floor in the two games.
Sophomore James White also played well last week, notching his second career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds at WKU. White followed that up with a career-best 23 points at Georgia State. The Jonesboro, Ga., native has reached double figures in seven of his last eight games and is averaging 15.0 points and shooting 63.2 percent from the floor over the same span.
UALR and Texas State will meet for the second time this season on Thursday. On Jan. 2 in San Marcos, UALR topped the Bobcats 63-59 after trailing by three at halftime. Neighbour led the Trojans with 20 points, 16 of which came over the final 20 minutes.
The Trojans lead 4-1 in the all-time series and have won four straight entering Thursday night.
Tickets for Thursday’s game against Texas State are available through the UALR Ticket Office by calling 565-UALR or visiting UALRTrojans.com. Single-game tickets start as low as $7 for adults and $5 for children. UALR students receive free admission and a free soda and hot dog to all home games if they show a valid UALR Student ID.
Ticket booklets to this year's men's and women's basketball conference tournament in New Orleans are now on sale through the UALR Ticket Office. Total cost for each booklet will be $115. Each booklet contains eight general admission tickets for a total of eight sessions (session seven will be the women's championship and session eight will be the men's championship), and includes parking throughout the tournament, as well as a shuttle service to and from the UNO Lakefront Arena, Downtown New Orleans and Metairie hotels.
GM19 // UALR (9-9, 4-2 SBC) vs. Texas State (5-13, 1-4 SBC)
Thursday, Jan. 23 • 7 PM (CST)
Little Rock, Ark. • Jack Stephens Center (5,600)
Twitter: @UALRathletics // @UALR_MBB
Radio: KABZ – 103.7 FM
Online Radio: 1037TheBuzz.com
Radio Talent: Ray Tucker (PXP) & Bobby Vint (Analyst)
Live Stats: UALRTrojans.com
Live Video: UALRTrojans.com
SBC Record: 4-2
Head Coach: Steve Shields (11th year)
Record at UALR: 173-152
Career Record: Same
UALR Statistical Leaders
Points: Will Neighbour (17.8)
Rebounds: Will Neighbour (7.2)
Assists: DeVonte Smith (2.9)
Steals: Will Neighbour (1.4)
Blocks: James White (1.1)
Texas State Bobcats
SBC Record: 1-4
Head Coach: Danny Kaspar (1st year)
Record at TXST: 5-13
Career Record: 470-205 (24th year)
Texas State Statistical Leaders
Points: Joel Wright (14.8)
Rebounds: Joel Wright (6.3)
Assists: Wesley Davis (2.1)
Steals: Wesley Davis (1.4)
Blocks: Kavin Tilbury (0.7)
Series (Overall): UALR leads 4-1
Series (at UALR): UALR leads 2-0
Current Streak: UALR won 4
Last Meeting: 1/2/14 – UALR, 63-59
Shields Record vs. TXST: 3-0
• UALR split two Sun Belt games on the road last week, topping WKU 87-83 in overtime on Thursday before falling 99-73 at Georgia State on Saturday.
• The Trojans shot a combined 52.2 percent from the floor and and 84.8 percent from the FT line in the two games.
• UALR (4-2 SBC) is currently in second place in the Sun Belt standings and trails only Georgia State (5-0).
• Senior Will Neighbour averaged 25.0 points on 75.0 percent shooting from the floor in last week’s road trip.
• Neighbour scored 32 points (11-14 FGs, 9-11 FTs) in the Trojans’ overtime win at WKU, becoming the first UALR player to score 30 points in a game since Brandon Freeman scored 38 at FIU on Jan. 30, 2005.
• Neighbour has now reached double figures in scoring in 18 straight games to start the season – the longest streak by a UALR player this century.
• Neighbour is 33 points away from becoming the sixth player in program history to score 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds. He recently passed the 500-rebound mark at WKU and now sits at 508 for his career.
• Sophomore James White averaged 18.5 points and 7.0 rebounds over the last two games, including a career best 23 points (6-13 FGs, 11-13 FTs) at Georgia State.
• White has now reached double figures in seven of the last eight games and is averaging 15.0 points and shooting 63.2 percent from the floor over the same span.
• Through six Sun Belt games, junior DeVonte Smith boasts a 5.3 assist-to-turnover ratio to lead the conference. Smith has committed just four turnovers in 174 minutes of league play.
• Now in his 11th season as head coach, Steve Shields ranks first among active Sun Belt coaches with 96 career conference wins and second in win percentage in conference play (.558).
• UALR has more road victories through 18 games this year (4) than it did for the entire 2012-13 season (3).
• With its 87-83 win over WKU, 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 8-3 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 (72.7 percent).
• UALR’s 21-of-23 performance at the foul line at Georgia State (91.3 percent) marked the first time the Trojans shot 90 percent or better from the foul line since the title game of the 2011 SBC Tournament vs. North Texas (15 of 16).
• UALR shot a combined 84.8 percent (39 of 46) from the foul line in games at WKU and Georgia State last week.
• The Trojans are 8-3 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 20 turnovers at Georgia State were a new season high.
• UALR’s 11 steals at WKU, including three each by Josh Hagins and DeVonte Smith, were a new team high this season.
• Senior Will Neighbour ranks in the top ten of the Sun Belt Conference in scoring (17.8-5th), rebounding (7.2-7th), steals (1.4-5th), field goal percentage (52.0-10th) and 3FG percentage (37.5-T-10th).
• Neighbour has reached double figures in scoring in each of UALR’s first 18 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 121 free throw attempts lead the SBC. He is averaging 6.7 free throw attempts per game this season, up from 2.0 over his first two seasons at UALR.
• Sophomore James White is averaging 15.0 points while shooting 63.2 percent from the floor over UALR’s last eight games.
• White currently ranks seventh in the Sun Belt in field goal percentage (54.1 percent).
• White now has 20 career double-figure scoring games and UALR is 15-5 in those games.
• White has blocked nine shots in UALR’s last four games.
• White now has 13 career games of 2+ blocks and UALR is 9-4 in those games.
• Neighbour (2.1-10th) & White (1.9-14th) 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.
• Hagins has 10 double-figure scoring games this season, second-most on the team.
• Hagins ranks seventh in the SBC in 3-point percentage (40.3 percent) and 11th in 3’s per game (1.7).
• Hagins has 2+ steals in five of UALR’s last seven games and is now tied for ninth in the league at 1.2 steals per game.
• Junior DeVonte Smith has racked up 51 assists against just 14 turnovers in 14 games as a starter.
• Smith boasts a 3.3 assist-to-turnover ratio on the season.
• Smith has committed just five turnovers in 232 minutes over UALR’s last five games.
• Junior Ben Dillard is shooting 50.0 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 is shooting 45.4 percent from 3-point range over UALR’s last 10 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 33 points away from becoming the 19th member of UALR’s 1,000-point club.
• Neighbour now sits at 508 rebounds for his career, making him the 14th member of UALR’s 500-rebound club. He is 28 rebounds away from tying Tom Butler (539, 1968-71) for 13th place.
• Junior Ben Dillard is a 44.3 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 81.6 currently ranks sixth on UALR’s all-time list.
About Texas State
• Texas State is off to a 1-4 start to Sun Belt play in its first season as a league member. The Bobcats lost to UALR in its first-ever SBC game on Jan. 2 by a 63-59 final, and defeated ULM 61-36 on Jan. 11 for its only conference win.
• The Bobcats’ scoring defense (66.3 ppg) leads the Sun Belt, while their scoring offense (62.5 ppg) ranks 10th in the league.
• Forward Joel Wright ranks in the top 15 of the SBC in scoring (14.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg).
• Head coach Danny Kaspar is in his first season with the team.
All-Time Against the Bobcats
• UALR and Texas State had only met four times before their matchup in San Marcos on Jan. 2. The Trojans hold a 4-1 lead in the all-time series.
• The last time these two met in Little Rock, UALR won 73-54 on Nov. 26, 2005. Rashad Jones-Jennings and Zack Wright led the Trojans with 17 points each.
• Head coach Steve Shields is 3-0 all-time against Texas State.
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 967 points, 508 rebounds, 91 steals, 91 assists and 74 blocks with 12 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.