Little Rock Defeats Georgia Southern, Goes to 5-0 in Sun Belt Play

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Little Rock raced out to a commanding first half lead, then kept Georgia Southern at bay during a handful of second half runs as the Trojans win another thriller, 79-73, at the Jack Stephens Center.

The win is the sixth-straight for Little Rock, its longest winning streak since the 2016-17 season, as the Trojans remain in first place in the Sun Belt Conference at 5-0, matching the best start in league play in program history.

“This was just a very good team victory tonight for a team that is really starting to gain some confidence,” said head coach Darrell Walker. ” They didn’t flinch when Georgia Southern made their runs, and found a way to keep their composure. A lot of different players stepped up when we needed them tonight, and I’m proud of how we continue to grow as a team.”

Game Notes

• Little Rock finished shooting better than 50% from the floor for the fourth-straight game, hitting a 56.0% clip against the Eagles (28-of-50). The Trojans were lights out in the first half, connecting on 63.0% of their shots.

• Ruot Monyyong notched his fourth-straight double-double, finishing with 19 points and 16 rebounds while going 9-of-12 from the floor. He leads the Sun Belt Conference with eight double-doubles on the year, playing all 40 minutes for the second time this season.

• Jaizec Lottie posted his best game of the season for Little Rock, finishing with a season-high 14 points and shooting 7-of-9 from the floor. He posted a season-high six assists with a pair of steals as well for Little Rock.

• Ben Coupet Jr. had another game that he’s become known for, finishing with 13 points and eight rebounds with a pair of steals and two assists, going 4-for-6 from the floor and knocking down all four of his free throw attempts.

• Kamani Johnson was the fourth Trojan to finish in double figures, scoring 11 on 3-of-6 shooting with a pair of rebounds and three assists.

• Little Rock set its season high with 21 assists on the night, including six from both Lottie and Markquis Nowell. Nowell finished with seven points and a pair of steals but shot just 2-of-13 from the floor.

• The win for the Trojans snaps a three game losing streak to Georgia Southern as they are 11-7 all-time against the Eagles in Little Rock. Little Rock improves to 7-1 at the Jack Stephens Center this season, its best mark through eight home games since the 2015-16 season when it went a perfect 14-0 at home.

First Half Notes

• Little Rock came out efficient from the floor, knocking down four of its first six shots while limiting Georgia Southern to just 3-of-10 in the early going. Five points from Coupet and four from Nowell helped the Trojans build a 15-6 lead in the early going.

• After Georgia Southern pulled to within five at 15-10, Little Rock rattled off nine-straight, including back-to-back baskets from Lottie, a dunk from Monyyong and a three off the inbound from Nowell to push the lead to 24-10. The Trojans knocked down eight of their first 12 shots while forcing four Eagle turnovers.

• Georgia Southern responded with a 10-2 run of its own, pulling back to within six at 26-20. Layups from Coupet and Johnson and a pull-up jumper from Lottie helped balance out the scoring, giving the Trojans the 32-23 lead at the 6:40 mark.

• Once again, Georgia Southern mounted another extended run of its own, outscoring Little Rock 14-6 and pulling to within one at 38-37 1:23 remining in the opening half. But the Eagles missed a pair of technical free throws and back-to-back baskets from Monyyong helps the Trojans take a five point lead into the break at 42-37.

• Both teams shot efficiently from the floor in the opening 20 minutes as the Trojans knocked down 63.0% of their attempts (17-of-27) while Georgia Southern hit 57.1% (16-of-28). Both teams struggled from the free throw line, however, with Little Rock 5-of-8 and Georgia Southern 1-of-4.

Second Half Notes

• A 6-0 run by Georgia Southern to start the second half gave the Eagles the lead at 43-42, their first since the opening minute of the game. Little Rock would respond with three of the next four baskets of their own, reclaiming the advantage at 48-45 at the 14:56 mark.

• Lottie continued his hot night as in back-to-back possessions, tallying a steal, rebound, assist and layup, helping Little Rock push its lead back to seven at 52-45 with 13:51 remaining.

• The pattern continued in the second half as Little Rock would build a somewhat comfortable lead, only to see Georgia Southern knock down threes and cut into the advantage. Georgia Southern knocked down threes on four-straight possessions, getting to within three at 62-59 with 7:59 left.

• The next six minutes saw the two teams match each other possession for possession with the Little Rock lead fluctuating between two and four. A clutch basket by Coupet with 2:16 remaining, followed by three free throws from Stulic off a three point attempt foul put Little Rock up 72-65 with 1:23 remaining.

• Little Rock had a chance to put the game away in the final minute at the free throw line, but went 1-for-2 on two-straight possessions. But two big free throws from Palermo with 14 seconds to go, followed by one more from Stulic in the waning seconds iced Little Rock’s sixth-straight victory.

Up Next

• After three-straight home games, Little Rock hits the road for a trip to Troy, Alabama, taking on the Alabama Trojans Thursday evening. Opening tip is set for 6 p.m. from Trojan Arena as the Trojans try to notch their best Sun Belt start in program history.

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