Georgia State Tops UALR To Remain Perfect in SBC


Georgia State Tops UALR To Remain Perfect in SBC

LITTLE ROCK – A tough shooting night and long scoring droughts led to the UALR men’s basketball team falling to Georgia State 68-57 in the Jack Stephens Center Thursday night.

The Trojans (12-11, 7-4 Sun Belt Conference) struggled from the floor for most of the game and despite holding the Panthers (17-6, 10-0 SBC) to their lowest point total in conference play couldn’t come out with a win. Sophomore James White, who had missed the team’s previous four games, led the Trojans with 14 points and seven rebounds while going 6 of 8 from the floor.

Led by White on the inside, UALR went blow for blow with league-leading Georgia State for the first 30 minutes of the game, but were outscored 25-13 over the next eight minutes and couldn’t overcome the deficit.

The game began as a back-and-forth, defensive battle. The Trojans took an 8-4 lead on a layup by junior Ben Dillard with 15:18. The Panthers held UALR without a field goal for the next 7:43. However, when the home team broke through with a Kemy Osse layup it was only down 14-12 with 7:35 to go in the half. Sophomore Josh Hagins evened the score at 16-16 with a jumper, but the Panthers closed the half with a 13-5 run and took a 29-21 lead into halftime.

The start of the second half was a different story for the Trojans, who made their first five shots of the second half to spark an 11-2 run and take a 32-31 lead with 15:08 to play. The run featured a huge two-handed slam by White on a beautiful assist from senior Leroy Isler. Soon after his assist, Isler capped the run with a free throw.

Isler added 11 points, two rebounds and three assists.  Senior Will Neighbour had a game-high 10 rebounds while posting four points and three assists. Hagins and Osse led the reserves with 11 and seven respectively as UALR’s bench outscored Georgia State’s 24-11.

The Panthers were led offensively by DeVonta Smith with 22 points and two assists. R.J. Hunter and Ryan Harrow joined Smith in double figures with 14 and 12.

UALR struggled to score in the first half, shooting just 8 of 32 (25 percent) and missing all seven 3-point attempts. It looked like the second half would be a different story when the Trojans knocked down their first five shots, but they couldn’t keep up a consistent scoring attack. UALR was held without a field goal for five separate spans of at least four minutes including the 7:43 drought in the first half and a 5:03 drought in the second half.

The Trojans finished 21 of 57 (36.8 percent) while the Panthers shot 22 of 55 (40 percent). UALR finished 2 of 14 on 3-pointers but didn’t make a one until there was only 44 seconds remaining, but did shoot 13 of 17 from the free throw line.

UALR will be back in the Jack Stephens Center on Saturday at 5 p.m. for its game against Western Kentucky, which will be televised on Comcast Sports Southeast, Cox Sports Television and ESPN3 as part of the Sun Belt Network. The Trojans won a thriller in overtime against the Hilltoppers in their first meeting of the season.

Courtesy UALR Department of Athletics