Men get revenge on rivals
After losing to the Arkansas State Red Wolves twice during the regular season, the Trojan men’s basketball team picked up a victory over its in-state rivals 59-52 in the second round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Sunday, March 6, at Summit Arena in Hot Springs. ASU had a bye because they were the No. 1 seed after winning the SBC West division while UALR was the No. 5 seed. The Trojans defeated the East No. 4 seed South Alabama 82-68 on March 5.
“It was a team effort,” Trojan senior guard Solomon Bozeman said. “We all had each other’s backs.
The Trojans (17-16) built an 11-point lead with 6:23 remaining in the first half after freshman Chuck Guy stole the ball and layed it up making it 25-14. ASU (17-15) countered with a 13-3 run the next 4:28 to get within one point. UALR led 30-29 at the half with Alex Garcia-Mendoza leading the way with eight points.
The Trojans shot 42 percent from the field and held ASU to 29 percent shooting in the half, but the Red Wolves dominated UALR 24-15 on the boards.
ASU guard Brandon Peterson grabbed an offensive rebound and layed it up to tie the score 34-34 with 17:12 left in the game. UALR never trailed after that point.
“I was very proud of our guys,” Trojan coach Steve Shields said. “I think our guys showed some grit.
The Trojans led 48-40 after a Montrell Thornton layup at the 4:54 mark, but ASU rallied with a 6-0 run capped by a Martavius Adams layup with 1:43 left to cut the UALR lead to two. ASU coach John Brady was arguing with the officials and received a technical foul with 1:31 left and Bozeman hit the two technical shots to take a four point lead. The Trojans hit 5-7 free throws down the stretch to preserve the victory and will face the East’s No. 2 seed Middle Tennessee Monday at 8:30.
Although the Trojans were out-rebounded by nine in the first half, they held a plus-three rebounding edge in the second half. Thornton had nine rebounds and four blocks to lead the team. He also contributed 10 points and led the team playing 34 minutes.
“Coming into the game there was a lot of talk about our bigs,” Bozeman said. “[Thornton] had a big game tonight for us. I just want to thank our bigs tonight.”
Bozeman scored 15 points (8-9 free throws) to lead the Trojans, followed by Mendoza’s 13 points. ASU senior guard Rashad Allison had 16 points to lead the Red Wolves and senior guard Donald Boone shot 3-16 from the floor and scored six points in the loss. ASU shot 33 percent for the game to the Trojans’ 44 percent.