SUN BELT CHAMPIONSHIP CENTRAL
UALR TROJANS (15-15, 12-4)
vs. No. 7 WKU/No. 10 FIU
Sun., March 4, 2012 - 8:30 PM (Central)
Hot Springs, Ark. (Summit Arena)
TV: CSS/CST [Joe Davis - play-by-play; Dave Odom - analyst]
Radio: The game can be heard live on 103.7 FM (online at www.1037thebuzz.com)
Online: Live audio/video stream available at www.SunBeltSports.org
UALR at SBC TOURNAMENT
All-Time Record: 20-19 (5-2 in Hot Springs)
Tournament Championships (last): 1 (2011)
Semifinals appearances: 10 (3-7 record)
Finals appearances: 3 (1-2 record)
UALR - Steve Shields, 9th season as head coach (Baylor, 1988)
Record at school: 147-127 (.536) Career record: 223-177 (.558) at SBC Tourn: 8-7 (.533)
UALR (15-15, 12-4) begins the defense of its 2011 Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship on Sunday night when it takes on the winner of No. 7 WKU/No. 10 FIU at 8:30 p.m. ... The Trojans closed out the regular season with a 62-60 victory over Arkansas State on Feb. 25 at the Jack Stephens Center to win the West Division Championship outright ... Senior Tramar Sutherland drew a foul on a drive to the basket with 0.8 seconds remaining and hit both foul shots to give UALR its fifth division title in nine years under Steve Shields ... UALR's head coach has led the Trojans to more division titles than any other program during his nine-year tenure, with WKU and South Alabama tied for second at three apiece ... Shields guided the Trojans to back-to-back East Division titles in 2003-04 and 2004-05, and consecutive West Division championships in 2007-08 and 2008-09, not to mention last year's Sun Belt Tournament title and NCAA Tournament appearance ... UALR had two players named to the All-Sun Belt Conference Team on Wednesday, as senior point guard D'Andre Williams garnered First Team honors, while sophomore forward Will Neighbour received Second Team accolades ... Williams leads the Trojans in scoring (13.0 ppg), steals (51) and assists (120), and averaged a team-high 16.8 points per game over the final 10 games to fuel UALR's West Division title run ... Neighbour ranks second on the team in scoring (10.8 ppg) and rebounding (5.3 rpg), while pacing the Trojans in three-point field goals (42), three-point shooting (42.0 pct.) and free-throw percentage (.823) ... Senior Courtney Jackson enters the SBC Tournament with 119 games under his belt as a Trojan, and will tie Myron Jackson (1982-86) for first place on the school's all-time list for career games played when UALR takes the floor on Sunday ... Should UALR advance to the Semifinals, Jackson would become the school's all-time leader for games played with 121.
UALR AT THE SBC TOURNAMENT
UALR is making its 21st appearance in the Sun Belt Tournament in 2012, and sports a 20-19 all-time record in SBC Tournament play ... Head coach Steve Shields is 8-7 all-time in the SBC Tourney (5-2 in Hot Springs) ... UALR is 10-6 all-time when the Sun Belt Tournament takes place in the state of Arkansas, as the SBC Championship has been played at Summit Arena (5-2), Alltel Arena (0-1) and Barton Coliseum (5-3) ... Last year's Sun Belt Tournament title was the first for UALR, which is 1-2 all-time when it reaches the championship game ... The Trojans have made 10 appearances in the SBC Tournament Semifinals, going 3-7 in said games ... Against Sunday's potential matchups, UALR is 1-3 all-time against Western Kentucky in Sun Belt Tournament play and 0-1 versus Florida International.
LAST TIME OUT
Tramar Sutherland made two free throws with 0.8 seconds remaining to lift UALR to a 62-60 win over Arkansas State (2/25) and an outright SBC West Division Championship ... UALR trailed for the entire second half, falling behind by as many as 12 points, before tying things up with 37 seconds to go off a layup by D'Andre Williams, who finished with a team-high 18 points off 7-of-11 shooting ... ASU went to Marcus Hooten out of a timeout, but the junior guard missed a potential game-winning jumper and the Trojans pushed the ball up the floor after Michael Javes came up with the rebound ... UALR got the ball to Chuck Guy in transition, and the Fort Worth, Texas-native fed the ball to Sutherland as he streaked towards the goal ... Sutherland drew a foul from Hooten on a layup attempt with 0.8 seconds left, and sank both free throws to give UALR the win ... Hooten led the Red Wolves with 18 points in the losing effort, behind a perfect 10-for-10 effort at the foul line ... Will Neighbour came up with a game-high 10 rebounds for the Trojans, six of which came in the second half to help UALR outrebound ASU 15-to-12 over the final 20 minutes ... UALR rallied from a six-point halftime deficit by shooting 54.2 percent from the floor in the second half ... The Trojans shot 48.0 percent from the field in the game, while holding ASU to a .417 clip, to overcome a 10-of-17 effort at the free-throw line (58.8 pct.) ... ASU, which shot 85.0 percent from the foul line on the night, dominated the Trojans on the inside in the first half and used a 20-5 run to take a 30-24 lead into the intermission ... ASU played to a +5 margin on the glass (19-to-14) in the first half, and scored 13 second-chance points off its eight offensive rebounds ... ASU outscored the Trojans 9-2 at the start of the second half to take its largest lead of the game, 39-27 ... UALR used a 10-0 run to cut its deficit to two points, 39-37, but would play from behind the rest of the half until Williams tied things up at 60-all ... ASU held a 60-56 lead with 2:48 to go following a layup by Malcoln Kirkland, but would not score again in the game.
A TALE OF TWO SEASONS
UALR entered Sun Belt play on Dec. 29 with a 3-10 overall record and an 0-6 mark on the road ... Since that point, however, the Trojans have rallied to go 12-5 and captured the West Division title with a 12-4 mark in conference play ... UALR did not have a road win to its credit before opening the conference season with wins at North Texas and Denver, but went 6-2 on the road during league play ... UALR had to replace its top three scorers off last year's NCAA Tournament team, including SBC Player of the Year Solomon Bozeman, and the team's nine newcomers (six true freshmen) were put to the test early and often against a tough non-conference schedule ranked 50th in the country according to the latest NCAA report (as of 2/27) ... UALR has led at the half in 18 of its 30 games, but suffered a loss in eight of those contests ... The Trojans have won six-straight games decided by five points-or-less, after opening the year with a 1-3 record in said games ... Over the first 13 games of the season, UALR had a +0.2 turnover margin and was shooting just 28.8 percent from three-point range ... Since then, the Trojans have a +3.3 turnover margin and are shooting a combined 36.2 percent from beyond the arc over the last 17 games.
LEADER OF THE PACK
First Team All-Sun Belt selection D'Andre Williams fueled UALR's West Division title run by averaging 16.8 points per game over the last 10 games while shooting 55.6 percent from three-point range (15-of-27) ... The senior point guard is averaging a team-high 13.0 points per game on the year, but that number jumped to 14.5 ppg in conference play (6th in the SBC) ... The Amarillo, Texas-native also leads the Trojans in assists (4.0 per game) and steals (51), while averaging 34.1 minutes per game (2nd in the SBC) ... In conference play, Williams ranked third in the Sun Belt in three-point shooting at 45.7 percent (21-of-46) while averaging 2.0 steals per game (2nd in the SBC) ... His play at the point helped UALR cut its turnovers down to 11.8 in conference play, with a +2.88 turnover margin (2nd in the SBC) ... Williams has 94 steals in two seasons at UALR, and needs four more to tie Paul Springer (1988-89) for 12th place on the school's all-time list.
JACKSON APPROACHING SCHOOL RECORD
Senior Courtney Jackson will tie Myron Jackson (1982-86) for first place on UALR's all-time list for career games played when the Trojans take the floor Sunday night at Summit Arena ... The 6-6 forward has played in 119 games over the course of his four years at UALR, and heads to Hot Springs ranked 11th on UALR's all-time rebounding chart with 546 boards ... If UALR advances to the Semifinals of the SBC Tournament, Jackson would overtake Myron Jackson as the school's career leader for games played with 121 ... The Paris, Texas-native is averaging career highs of 8.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game as a senior, and leads the Trojans with a .510 field goal percentage (7th in the SBC) ... In league games, Jackson increased his averages to 9.8 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 53.0 percent from the floor ... He registered his first double-double of the season against North Texas on Feb. 23, totaling 12 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, and sits 21 rebounds shy of passing Tony Chime (1991-95) for 10th place on UALR's all-time list.
NEIGHBOUR NAMED SECOND TEAM ALL-SBC
Sophomore Will Neighbour was named Second Team All-Sun Belt on Wednesday ... The 6-10 forward ranks second on the team in scoring (10.8 ppg) and rebounding (5.3 rpg), while leading the Trojans in three-point field goals (42), three-point shooting (.420) and free-throw percentage (.823) ... Neighbour was named Sun Belt Player of the Week on Jan. 2 after averaging 18.5 point and 8.5 rebounds as UALR opened the conference season with road wins at North Texas and Denver ... He was the team's leading scorer and rebounder through the first 15 games of the season, but suffered a torn labrum in the final seconds of UALR's win over the Pioneers (12/31) ... The shoulder injury caused him to miss two games and limited his production to 6.3 points per game over the ensuing seven games ... Though he continues to recover from the injury, Neighbour bounced back with a career-high 22 points at Middle Tennessee, and followed that up with 21 points against FIU.
2011 SUN BELT TOURNAMENT REWIND
The 2010-11 Trojans won four games in four days at the 2011 Sun Belt Tournament as the No. 5 seed out of the West Division to capture the school's first-ever SBC Tournament title ... UALR defeated North Texas, 64-63, in the title game as senior Solomon Bozeman delivered the game-winning three pointer with 1.5 seconds remaining ... Bozeman averaged 22.0 points per game over UALR's four victories, and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player on the heels of his SBC Player of the Year award ... Defense was the key for UALR, as the Trojans held their four opponents to a combined .389 field goal percentage and just 58.9 points per game ... The Trojans averaged just 9.5 turnovers per game during the SBC Tournament, while forcing the opposition into 14.5 turnovers per game (+5.0 turnover margin).
Freshman Michael Javes enters the SBC Tournament in seventh place on UALR's all-time list for single-season blocked shots with a team-high 43 ... The 6-10 forward ranks sixth in the Sun Belt in blocks per game (1.5), despite averaging just 18.8 minutes per game.