LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The UALR men’s basketball team improved to 5-0 on the year with a 67-59 win over Loyola Marymount (0-6) on Saturday night at the Jack Stephens Center. Sophomore Matt Mouzy scored a career-best 21 points and hit five of UALR’s 11 three pointers to lead the Trojans to their first 5-0 start since the 1994-95 season.
UALR came out of the gate flat on Saturday and trailed Loyola Marymount 24-18 with 8:09 remaining in the first half. Down six, the Trojans put together a 17-0 run to take the lead for good, with junior Steven Moore and Mouzy combining to score all 17 points.
Mouzy scored 19 of his career-high 21 points in the first half, going 5-of-7 from three-point range, to give the Trojans a 40-29 edge at the break. Moore tallied 11 of his 12 points in the first half, connecting on 3-of-5 three-point attempts, and led all players with five assists.
Jarred DuBois tried to lead LMU’s second-half comeback, but the Lions were never able to get any closer than four points over the final 20 minutes. DuBois was a one-man show in the second half, scoring 20 of his game-high 23 points after the break. The freshman guard scored LMU’s first 12 points of the second half, and 16 of the team’s first 18. He scored seven-unanswered points at the start of the second half to bring LMU within four points, 40-36, but the Lions would not get any closer the rest of the way.
The Trojans surrendered an uncharacteristic .568 shooting percentage and were outrebounded 34-to-25 by the visiting Lions, but forced LMU to 26 turnovers and sank a season-best 11 three pointers. LMU shot 58.3 percent from three-point range (7-of-12) and held the Trojans to a .417 shooting percentage – including a 10-of-28 effort in the second half (35.7 percent).
“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Max (Good) and his team. They were the tougher team and the hungrier team, and I think that showed for 40 minutes tonight,” said UALR head coach Steve Shields. “I told our guys that we were going to face a wounded dog that was going to come at us. Give them credit, they had some toughness, they made some shots and they executed, but our defense was pathetic.”
“This could not be a better situation for our team from a learning experience and from the standpoint of being mentally prepared.”
UALR racked up 19 assists against just nine turnovers on the night. Senior John Fowler added 11 points, three assists and a team-high seven rebounds in the win.
Loyola Marymount was hot from the opening tip, connecting on 9-of-11 at the start of the game (including a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point range) to take a 24-18 lead with 8:09 to go. The Lions opened the game with seven-unanswered points and held the Trojans scoreless for the first 4:09 of the contest.
Trailing 26-19, UALR caught fire from the outside and ripped off a 17-0 run to go ahead 36-26 with 3:38 remaining. Moore sparked UALR’s rally by scoring the first eight points of the run, which Mouzy capped off with three-consecutive three pointers. The Trojans sank five three pointers during the 17-0 run, with two from Moore and three from Mouzy. A trey from Moore with 5:25 on the clock, gave UALR a 27-26 lead – its first of the game.
Despite allowing the Lions to shoot .579 from the field over the first 20 minutes, the Trojans took a 40-29 lead into the break by going 9-of-19 from three-point range (47.4 percent) and forcing LMU into 14 turnovers.
Led by the efforts of DuBois, the Lions kept the game close throughout the second half. DuBois scored the first seven points out of the break to make it a four-point ballgame, 40-36, but freshman Curtis Jackson answered with a three pointer and junior Mike Smith followed with a bucket to extend UALR’s lead back to nine, 45-36.
LMU was unable to get any closer than five points the rest of the way, as a jumper by Corey Counts made it a 64-59 contest with 1:24 remaining. But the Lions followed up Counts’ jumper by missing two three pointers, and UALR went 3-for-4 at the line to bring the game to its 67-59 conclusion.
UALR returns to action on Wednesday, Dec. 3 when it travels to Springfield, Mo. to take on Missouri State.