Second-half spree sends Trojans to victory
An electric second half propelled UALR to victory over North Texas Thursday Jan. 10, at the Jack Stephens Center.
UALR sophomore Michael Javes, freshman Josh Hagins and junior Leroy Isler each chipped in points to help the Trojans go on a 7-2 run to begin the game against the Mean Green from Denton, Texas.
The Mean Green surged back to take an 11-10 lead riding the point production from Alzee Williams and Jordan Williams.
Much of the first half play was a back-and-forth affair between the two teams. In fact, the score was tied on six different occasions and there was a lead change in five different instances. The Trojans hit a dry spell near the end of the half as the team’s final field goal came at the 2:58 mark.
Hagins made his presence known in the first half by recording five points, five assist and four steals; however, despite his efforts, the Trojans were down at the half 27-32.
The second half began with UALR scrapping back to regain the lead.
Near the 18-minute mark of the second half, the Trojans were in a full-court pressure defensive scheme and stole the inbounds pass. The ball was swung to freshman James White who caught the ball in stride and sliced through the air and dunked the ball to get the crowd into the game. White’s dunk cut the Mean Green’s lead to 31-34.
The Trojans and the Mean Green continued to duke it out by keeping the score relatively close until the score was tied at 42 apiece with 11:32 left in the game.
Freshman Kemy Osse came into the game and immediately made an impact to spark the run that lead the Trojans to victory.
Osse drained a three point shot from the left wing of the three point arc to put the Trojans up 45-44. On the following possession, Osse got the ball in the same spot and hit another three point shot, extending UALR’s lead 48-44. After the made basket, UNT attempted to inbound the ball, but it was picked off by Osse near the half court line. Osse threw the ball from approximately 45 feet away to White who dunked the ball without taking a dribble and UALR went up 50-44 near the 9:30 mark.
UALR did not look back for the rest of the game. The Trojans would end the game on a 22-11 run.
UALR used their depth on the bench as a focal point of attack against the Mean Green. UNT was limited to three players for substitutions throughout the entire game. UALR had 28 points that came from the bench while UNT managed two points for the entire game.
Steve Shields, head coach of the UALR men’s team, acknowledged UNT did not have all of its players available due to injuries.
“You’re focused on the guys that are going to play,” Shields said. “We had to prepare for a couple of other guys that ended up not playing.”
Shields talked about the importance of stopping one of UNT’s star athletes, Tony Mitchell. Mitchell was one of only twenty college invites to the 2012 LeBron James Skills Academy.
“Tony Mitchell is a great player and you’ve got to focus so much attention to him and I thought we did a decent job on him,” Shields said.
The Trojans held Mitchell to just 13 points on the night.
The strong defensive effort in the second half equated to UNT shooting just 7-22 from the field and committing nine turnovers.
The Trojans were 18-30 from the field in the second half and snagged seven steals while only committing one turnover.
Junior Will Neighbour finished with nine points to go along with 11 rebounds in the game. White led all scorers in the game with 16 points.
Next up for the Trojans will be a matinee game at home against Florida International University. The game is scheduled for tip-off at 3:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on Comcast Sports Southeast and ESPN3.