LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The UALR men’s basketball team rolled to an 83-54 win over Central Methodist in its season opener at the Jack Stephens Center Friday night. All 11 players scored in the win for UALR, which opened the game on a 17-3 run and never looked back.
Junior Terrance Akins sank a pair of three pointers in the first 70 seconds to get the Trojans rolling and it was all downhill from there for the Runnin’ Eagles (1-1). Sophomore De’Andre Eggins, who led all players with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting, scored six points over the next six minutes and capped off the run with a reverse layup to give UALR a 17-3 lead with 13:50 on the clock.
“Our effort, intensity and enthusiasm were all really good at the start,” said UALR head coach Steve Shields. “That is something we have spent a lot of time talking about, and our guys have really bought into it.”
Leading 17-5 after a bucket by CMU’s Jarred Jones, the Trojans embarked on a 21-6 run, with eight points from senior Rashad Jones-Jennings, to take a 38-11 lead with 4:56 to go in the half. Jones-Jennings played just 20 minutes in the win, but that was more than enough time for the preseason First Team All-Sun Belt selection to record his first double-double of the year. The 6-8 forward went 7-of-10 from the field and finished with 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
UALR took a 43-16 lead into the intermission after shooting 54.8 percent as a team over the first 20 minutes, while holding the Runnin’ Eagles to a 25.0 shooting percentage and 14 turnovers. CMU picked things up in the second half, hanging within two points of the Trojans in the half (40-38) after shooting 48.4 percent as a team, but was unable to get any closer than 24 points.
Nine players scored five-or-more points in the win, with senior Byron Ray joining Eggins and Jones-Jennings in double figures with 10 points on a 4-for-5 effort from the floor. Akins finished with eight points on the night, while freshman Steven Moore, junior Rashad Moss and sophomore Brandon Nichols each chipped in seven points. Moore and senior Lorenzo Razz each registered three steals and five assists to lead the Trojans.
In addition to having all 11 guys score, each player logged at least 14 minutes of action in the win. Eggins and Moss each logged a team-high 23 minutes on the night.
“What we were hoping to do was play a lot of guys tonight, and fortunately we were in a position to do that and not expend a lot of extra energy,” said Shields.
UALR shot 53.3 percent for the game and went 14-of-18 from the charity stripe (77.8 percent). The Trojans racked up 24 assists against 16 turnovers, enjoyed a 39-to-28 edge on the glass, and forced CMU into 21 turnovers and a 38.2 shooting percentage.
Shane Ringen led CMU with 12 points, while Anthony Love totaled nine points and a team-high seven rebounds.
The Trojans head to Lubbock, Texas on Sunday to compete in the 2006 CBE Classic along with Texas Tech, Akron and Gardner-Webb. UALR will take on the Zips Monday at 6 p.m.