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Williams, Neighbour Named All-Sun Belt Conference

UALR senior D’Andre Williams and sophomore Will Neighbour each garnered All-Sun Belt Conference honors on Wednesday morning, as voted on by the league’s head coaches and media members.
LITTLE ROCK – UALR senior D’Andre Williams and sophomore Will Neighbour each garnered All-Sun Belt Conference honors on Wednesday morning, as voted on by the league’s head coaches and media members. Williams and Neighbour ranked first and second on the team in scoring this season, respectively, to help lead the Trojans to a 12-4 conference record and earn the fifth SBC Division Championship in nine years under head coach Steve Shields.

Williams leads the Trojans in scoring, assists and steals while averaging a league-high 34.1 minutes per game. The Amarillo, Texas-native ranks ninth in the Sun Belt in scoring at 13.0 points per game, fourth in assists per game (4.0) and third in steals per game (1.7). In conference play, Williams saw his scoring average rise to 14.5 points per game (6th in the SBC), while shooting 45.7 percent from three-point range (3rd in the SBC) and averaging 2.0 steals per game (2nd in the SBC). The 5-10 guard is averaging 3.9 rebounds per game and is shooting 75.4 percent from the foul line with a team-leading 89 made free throws.

Williams fueled UALR’s West Division title run by averaging 16.8 points per game over the final 10 games of the regular season, and his play at the point helped the Trojans post a +2.88 turnover margin in league play. He scored in double figures 22 times on the year and led the team in scoring on 14 occasions, with four 20-point performances. Williams scored a career-high 24 points in UALR’s 72-70 win at Louisiana-Lafayette (Feb. 9), while totaling 22 points against Oral Roberts, and 21 against both SMU and ULM. He hit the game-winning bucket with 4.0 seconds left to lift the Trojans to a 40-38 victory over Florida Atlantic (Jan. 7), and delivered the game-tying layup with 37 seconds left to help UALR to a 62-60 win over Arkansas State (Feb. 25).

Neighbour ranks second on the team in scoring and rebounding at 10.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, while leading the Trojans in made three-point field goals (42) and three-point field goal percentage (.420). The 6-10 forward ranks 19th in the Sun Belt in both scoring and rebounding, and sits third in the SBC with a team-best .823 free-throw percentage (65-of-79). A native of Grayshott, England, 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.

Neighbour 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 on Dec. 31. The shoulder injury caused Neighbour 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 in a win over Florida International on Feb. 16. He has two double-doubles on the year, including an 11-point, 12-rebound effort at Michigan State.

UALR (15-15, 12-4) has a first-round bye at the 2012 Sun Belt Tournament (March 3-6) as the No. 2 overall seed and will face the winner of No. 7 WKU/No. 10 FIU on Sunday, March 4 at 8:30 p.m.


All-Sun Belt First Team
D’Andre Williams (UALR, Sr., G)
Chris Udofia (Denver, So., F)
LaRon Dendy (Middle Tennessee, Sr., F)
Tony Mitchell (North Texas, Fr., F)
Augustine Rubit (South Alabama, So., F)

All-Sun Belt Second Team
Will Neighbour (UALR, So., F)
Brian Stafford (Denver, Sr., G)
DeJuan Wright (FIU, Sr., G)
Josh Brown (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., G)
Marcos Knight (Middle Tennessee, Jr., G)

All-Sun Belt Third Team
Malcoln Kirkland (Arkansas State, Sr., F)
Jeremy Allen (FIU, Sr., G)
Phil Taylor (FIU, So., G)
JT Sulton (Middle Tennessee, Jr., F)
Derrick Gordon (WKU, Fr., G)

Player of the Year
LaRon Dendy (Middle Tennessee, Sr., F)

Defensive Player of the Year
Chris Udofia (Denver, So., F)

Freshman of the Year
Tony Mitchell (North Texas, Fr., F)


Joe Gottfried Coach of the Year
Kermit Davis, Middle Tennessee
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