Troy Snaps UALR’s Four-Game Win Streak, 75-62

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LITTLE ROCK, AR – The UALR men’s basketball team fell behind early to Troy and despite battling back on several occasions couldn’t get over the hump and fell 75-62 on Saturday at the Jack Stephens Center. UALR (8-8, 3-1 Sun Belt Conference) trailed visiting Troy (7-9, 2-2 SBC) by seven at the half and cut the down to five three separate times, but couldn’t get any closer.

“That’s all on me. My team wasn’t ready to play,” said head coach Steve Shields after the loss. “I said we’ve got to have an edge every time we come to the floor, and we didn’t have an edge to us against South Alabama on Thursday night from the start … and we were able to turn it on Thursday. But you keep digging holes like this and it’s going to end up popping you. All the credit’s got to go to Troy. Phil Cunningham did a great job.”

A layup by senior Leroy Isler and a pair of free throws from sophomore Josh Hagins pulled UALR within five at 58-53 with 8:20 remaining. However, Troy answered back with two free throws and then one of its 10 3-pointers on the night to stretch the lead back out. UALR had another chance to make a run after senior Will Neighbour stole the ball and drove in for a dunk, but were unable to get their shots to fall.

The loss ends the Trojans’ four-game winning streak and is their first loss of conference play.
Points were hard to come by early as the teams entered the first media timeout with Troy leading 5-4. But action picked up in a hurry as both schools started seeing shots drop. Troy hit 5 of 11 from three and UALR went 11 of 18 inside the arc in the first half.

Troy built up a four-point lead midway through the first stanza, but a three from sophomore Kemy Osse and sophomore James White’s second thunderous dunk of the half gave UALR the 15-14 lead. Minutes later, a steal and score from Osse gave the home team a 21-19 lead. But the visitors responded with a 12-2 run to take a 31-23 lead with just over two minutes to go until the break. A Hagins trey cut the lead to five, but Troy scored the final bucket of the half to go into halftime leading 35-28.

Neighbour led the team in scoring with 13 points and five rebounds despite battling foul trouble and fouling out of the contest. White scored 12 points to go with three rebounds. The forward also swatted four shots to set a new career high.

Osse scored in double figures for the first time this season with 10 points, three rebounds, a block and a steal. Isler added seven points to go along with two rebounds and two assists. Junior DeVonte Smith dished out five assists against one turnover and now has 46 assists and just 13 turnovers in his 12 starts at the point guard spot. Hagins provided seven rebounds and three assists off the bench.

Troy was led by Jeff Mullahey who had 17 points and nine rebounds. Tevin Calhoun also scored 17 points while JC Bonny added 11 points off the bench.

UALR outshot its opponents 39.7 percent to 37.7 percent. However, it was the 10 of 23 effort from behind the arc and 25 of 33 outing from the free throw line that lifted Troy to victory. UALR turned the ball over a season-low six times, but only forced nine Troy turnovers.

Next up for the Trojans is a trip to Western Kentucky to play the Sun Belt preseason favorite Hilltoppers at 7 p.m. Thursday.

(Courtesy: UALR Sports Information)

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