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UALR Advances in Sun Belt Tournament
By Wess Moore, FOX 16 Sports Director
NEW ORLEANS, LA – UALR (15-16) advanced to the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Tournament with a 74-61 victory over Troy (11-20) Thursday evening at Lakefront Arena. The tournament’s No. 5 seed, UALR went on a 16-0 run while holding No. 8 Troy scoreless for an 8:36 stretch in the second half that turned a tie game into a runaway victory for the Trojans.
UALR will now play No. 4 seed Arkansas State Friday at 6 p.m. The two teams split their season series, with the home team winning both meetings.
Trailing 44-39, Troy used a 5-0 run to tie the game at 44-all with 13:29 to play. That would be the last point Troy would score until there was just 4:55 remaining in the game, as UALR ran off 16 unanswered over the same stretch to build its largest lead at 60-44 with 5:53 to play.
Sophomore Josh Hagins started the run with a 3-pointer, then junior Gus Leeper and senior Leroy Isler connected on buckets inside to make it a seven-point game with 10:23 to go. Hagins hit another triple at the 9:47 mark to stretch the lead to 10, and a layup by sophomore James White was followed by four straight from junior Ben Dillard to make it 60-44 with 5:53 left to play.
A free throw by Hunter Williams with 4:55 remaining stopped the scoreless drought for Troy.
Troy never pulled closer than 13 the rest of the way. A layup by Williams with five seconds to play brought the game to its 74-61 final score.
Hagins’ 15 points led four players in double figures for the Trojans. White added 14 while junior DeVonte Smith and Dillard added 11 each. Hagins added eight rebounds and six assists. Smith totaled eight assists against just one turnover in 38 minutes.
UALR’s bench outscored Troy’s 30-9. UALR also held an 18-4 edge in fastbreak scoring.
Troy finished the game shooting 30.2 percent from the floor (19 of 63) and 27.3 percent from long range (6 of 22). UALR shot 46.8 percent for the game, including 58.6 percent (17 of 29) in the second half.
Averaging 17.3 assists over their last three games coming into tonight, UALR handed out 16 assists on 29 made buckets. The Trojans also held a 42-41 edge on the glass, including a +8 margin in the second half.
It was a game of spurts to start, as Troy quickly built a 5-0 lead before UALR answered with a 5-0 run to tie the game. Troy bounced back with eight unanswered to take its largest lead of the game at 13-5 at the 14:25 mark of the first half.
Now trailing 16-9, UALR went on a 10-0 run that included back-to-back 3-pointers by Smith and Hagins to take its first lead of the game. Troy took the lead back on consecutive transition buckets by Calhoun and Myers that made it 22-21 with under seven to play in the half. UALR went up 29-28 on a bucket by Hagins at the 3:16 mark. A jumper by Billings made it 33-29 in favor of UALR before Troy ended the half with a 4-0 run to tie the score at 33-all heading into intermission.