Trojan men take first-round game
Senior Trojan guard Solomon Bozeman scored a career-high 28 points to lead UALR to a dominant victory over the University of South Alabama Jaguars 82-68 in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Saturday, March 5, in Hot Springs. UALR also defeated Arkansas State in second-round action on Sunday.
“I’m really proud of our guys in their effort tonight,” UALR coach Steve Shields said. “I thought we did a good job in transition defense. [South Alabama] is a team that is very, very good in transition offense. They’re fast with the basketball. I thought we shared the basketball very well.”
The Trojans (16-16) allowed USA to shoot 55 percent and were out-rebounded 45-32 in a 92-79 loss on Feb. 24 in Mobile, Ala. UALR turned the tables on them in the first round, out-rebounding the Jaguars 39-28 and holding them to 45 percent shooting. The Trojans shot 49 percent from the field, their best percentage since they shot 50 percent against Denver eight games ago.
South Alabama (12-16) scored the first four points of the game, but the Trojans went on a 22-4 run the next 8:26 capped by a Chuck Guy 3-pointer to lead by 14 points. UALR held their biggest lead of the half, 35-18, at the 4:09 mark after Marlon Louzeiro grabbed an offensive rebound and layed it up. Bozeman scored 17 points in the half which UALR led 39-28 and shot 52 percent.
“I just wanted to come out and be aggressive and attack from the beginning,” Bozeman said. “I know the team feeds off my energy. I thought we played well as a team. I might have had 28 points, but my teammates had my back. We did it together.”
Martino Brock opened the second half with a 3-pointer for USA to get within eight of UALR, but would get no closer the rest of the game. Jaguar guard/forward Gary Redus ended a 4-0 run when he stole the ball from senior Trojan guard Matt Mouzy and assisted a Tim Williams dunk to make it a 57-48 UALR lead with 9:18 remaining.
The Trojans had an answer every time the Jags made a run and Bozeman scored nine points during a 12-0 run to make it a 75-54 with 4:10 left, sealing the game. Bozeman shot 8-15 from the field and 10-11 from the free-throw line. He was the only player in double figures for UALR, but all 11 Trojans who played scored at least two points.
Louzeiro had nine rebounds to lead UALR while Guy had nine points as the second leading scorer. Williams led USA with 16 points while his teammate, Javier Carter, had eight rebounds to lead the Jaguars.