UALR Trojans Head to Canada for Basketball, Joining the Red Wolves

UALR Trojans Head to Canada for Basketball, Joining the Red Wolves


LITTLE ROCK – The UALR Trojans head to Canada to play basketball in Calgary, Alberta, for the 2013 Battle of the Border, hosted by the University of Calgary. The exhibition event is set for Aug. 15-17 at Jack Simpson Gymnasium and will feature games against host Calgary and the University of Alberta.

The Arkansas State University Red Wolves are scheduled for the same exhibition and a fun guide to Canada from Kyran Pittman for basketball fans is here.

“When you have a number of freshmen and sophomores back off a team that won 17 games, ten extra days of practice and three exhibition games are excellent ways to get a head start on the season,” said head coach Steve Shields. “You get such a head start on what you can get accomplished before fall practice gets started.”

Per NCAA rules, teams taking foreign trips are allowed 10 practices leading up to the trip. Programs are only allowed to take foreign trips once every four years, with this being the first such trip for the Trojans under Shields.

“I’ve talked to a number of coaches who’ve taken trips like this before, and the biggest thing that I’ve gotten from them is the advantage that comes with the head start you get with 10 extra days of practice,” explained Shields. “We want to maximize our time in the summer. With that said, you’ve got to make sure you give your guys time off once they get back to campus. It’s such a long year; you don’t want your guys spent by the time January rolls around.”

The Trojans will fly out of Little Rock on Wednesday, Aug. 14 and will play their first game of the event against Calgary on Thursday at 7 p.m. (CST). The following day, UALR will take on Alberta at 7 p.m. before ending its trip with another matchup against Calgary on Saturday at 8 p.m. Following the three exhibition games, the team will return to Little Rock and begin classes for the fall semester on Monday.

The games will not be televised or available via live stream, but live stats for all games will be available through the Calgary athletics website,

The three exhibition games will feature rules implemented by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) with four 10-minute quarters, a 30-second shot clock and feature a NBA-sized lane. Teams will have eight seconds to avoid being assessed a half-court violation and timeouts can only be acknowledged at the scorers table.

UALR returns eight lettermen and four starters off a squad that finished 17-15 and tied the Jack Stephens Center record with 13 home wins in 2012-13. Seniors Will Neighbour and Leroy Isler headline a group of returners that accounted for 71 percent of UALR’s scoring a year ago.

Neighbour, an All-Sun Belt selection for the second-straight season in 2012-13, led the team in scoring (10.7 ppg) and rebounding (7.0 rpg) while accounting for 39 steals and 32 blocks. He ranked fifth in the Sun Belt in rebounding and 12th in the league in field goal percentage (44.2 percent). He racked up five double-doubles last season and led the team in rebounding 22 times, including 16 of the season’s final 19 games. The Grayshott, England-native was named the Sun Belt Player of the Week on Jan. 28 after averaging 17.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.0 block on 64.7 percent shooting in back-to-back wins over Florida Atlantic and North Texas.

Isler became one of UALR’s most consistent and effective players in his first season with the team, averaging 7.4 points and 3.3 rebounds while leading the team and ranking 12th in the Sun Belt with 1.3 steals per game. He started 28 of 32 games as a junior, thanks in large part to his emergence as the Trojans’ best wing defender. UALR was at its best when Isler played well, sporting a 7-4 record when the Brooklyn, N.Y.-native reached double figures in scoring and going 7-3 when he totaled two-plus steals. Isler ended the season strong, scoring 10-plus points in each of the Trojans’ final four games, including 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting in UALR’s win over Arkansas State in the regular season finale.

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