LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – Behind double-doubles from both Ruot Monyyong and Kamani Johnson, Little Rock once again erased a double digit second half deficit to knock off Texas State in a thrilling 72-68 victory Thursday evening at the Jack Stephens Center.
“That was a gritty win by a young team that is gaining some confidence,” said head coach Darrell Walker. “Texas State really took us out of our offensive game in the first half, and I’m proud of the resiliency and how my team responded in the second half. They are finding ways to win.”
• For the third-straight game, Little Rock rallied from a double digit deficit in the second half to win. The Trojans trailed ULM by 10, Louisiana by 14 and Texas State by 13, winning each of their first three Sun Belt games.
• The Trojans shot 53.1% from the floor for the game, including hitting 68.2% in the second half. Little Rock also connected on 77.3% of their free throw attempts limited the Bobcats to just 32.1% shooting in the second half.
• Ruot Monyyong and Kamani Johnson each finished with a double-double on the night, their six and third of the season, respectively. Monyyong finished with 17 rebounds, the most for a Trojan since Rashad Jones-Jennings’ 24 against ULM in 2007. He added 14 points on the night.
• Johnson finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 5-of-8 from the floor and going a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line.
• Ben Coupet Jr. added 15 points for Little Rock, scoring 11 in the second half. He was 7-of-12 from the floor and snagged four rebounds.
• Jaizec Lottie reached double digits with 10 points, scoring eight in the final 20 minutes. He was 3-for-4 shooting and knocked down all four of his free throw attempts late in the second half to help complete the comeback.
• Little Rock outrebounded Texas State 38-29 on the night, sparked by the combined 27 rebound for Monyyong and Johnson. The Trojans held a 46-30 edge in points in the paint.
• Markquis Nowell finished with seven points, six assists and three rebounds but played just 25 minutes on the night after fouling out of the game for the first time in his career.
• Little Rock snaps a four-game losing skid to Texas State and improves to 9-6 all-time against the Bobcats.
• The Trojans have won their first three Sun Belt games of the season since winning the first five in the 2015-16 season. It is Little Rock’s first four-game winning streak since winning six-straight in 2016-17.
First Half Notes
• It was a quick start for the Trojans, racing out to a 6-2 lead off a pair of dunks from Monyyong in the early going. But an 8-0 Texas State run helped the Bobcats take a 10-6 edge at the first media timeout, led by six points early from Nijal Pearson.
• The Bobcat run extended to 18-2, keeping the Trojans to just one field goal in nearly seven minutes. Texas State’s 20-8 lead at the 11:04 mark was aided by three Little Rock turnovers and three first half fouls by Nowell, including a technical at the 8:44 mark.
• Texas State led by as many as 14 at 26-12 with 8:03 remaining in the opening half, but a 9-0 run by the Trojans got Little Rock to within five at 26-21, thanks to a slam in the paint from Coupet at the 4:57 mark.
• Little Rock’s shooting woes resurfaced over the final five minutes as Texas State used another extending run, outscoring the Trojans 13-3 to take its largest lead of the half at 39-24 with under a minute to go. Back-to-back layups from Lottie and Monyyong broke the drought, getting Little Rock to within 11 at 39-28 at the break.
• For the second time this season, Ruot Monyyong posted a double-double in the opening half, registering 11 points and 12 rebounds in the first 20 minutes.
• Little Rock was 11-of-27 from the floor in the first half, making six of seven free throw attempts. But the Trojans missed all five three pointers they attempted. Nowell and Johnson both picked up three fouls in the opening 20 minutes.
Second Half Notes
• Texas State’s lead was pushed back to 13 early in the second half at 42-29, but it sparked an 11-2 run for Little Rock which included back-to-back threes from Stulic and another from Nowell, getting the Trojans to within four at 44-40 with 15:18 remaining.
• The Trojan run extended to 17-5, aided by another three from Stulic and a lay-in from Coupet, giving Little Rock its first lead since the 17:23 mark of the first half at 48-47 with 13:05 remaining. A layup from Lottie extended the Trojan lead to two at 50-48 as the run reached 19-6 over six minutes.
• Trailing 62-57 with 6:12 remaining, a 7-0 Little Rock spurt put the Trojans back on top 64-62 at the 4:56 mark behind five points from Johnson. After tying the game at 64-64, a pair of clutch free throws from Lottie at the 3:48 mark extended Little Rock’s lead back to two at 66-64.
• Little Rock upped its advantage to 70-66 off a no-look pass from Coupet to Johnson for the dunk with 2:02 to go. After a pair of Bobcat free throws, Little Rock kept Texas State from a good look at the basket, making a handful of defensive stops before Lottie knocked down a pair of clutch free throws with 0:18 left to seal the victory.
• Little Rock outscored Texas State 44-29 in the second half and are now +92 against the opposition in the second half. The Trojans shot 68.2% from the floor in the final 20 minutes while holding Texas State to just 32.1%.
• Coupet scored 11 points in the second half while Johnson added nine to help lead the Trojan offensive charge. Lottie also added eight over the final 20 minutes to help complete the comeback.
• Little Rock seeks to move to 4-0 in Sun Belt play when it hosts UT Arlington Saturday at the Jack Stephens Center. Opening tip against the Mavericks is set for 2 p.m.