Trojans improve to 10-1 at the Jack
The Trojans defeated the Golden Panthers of Florida International 88-76 on Saturday, Jan. 12, at the Jack Stephens Center.
With the victory, UALR improves its home record to 10-1 on the season.
The Trojans had one of their best offensive efforts of the year, shooting 14-for-22 in the first half, while limiting FIU to just 9-of-25 field goals.
UALR trailed by a point, 15-16, at the 12:37 mark before reeling off a 16-0 run over the next four minutes. This saw the Trojans lead climb 31-16 at the 8:20 mark.
Junior forward Michael Javes had one of his best games as a Trojan, finishing with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor. Sophomore forward Will Neighbour also finished with 15 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists.
Javes’ performance didn’t go unnoticed by Shields.
“I thought he was very aggressive at the rim,” he said. “I thought Will did an excellent job of finding him and I thought he played with a lot of confidence tonight.”
With freshman point guard John Gillon sidelined with an injury, freshman Josh Hagins started his fourth consecutive game and finished with 10 points and seven assists.
“I thought our guys did a very good job of moving the basketball,” Shields said.
UALR finished with 21 assists, totaling a season-best in that statistic. The Trojans ended the game by shooting 59.2-percent from the field, one of the best shooting performances all season for a team that includes seven freshman players.
The Trojans had 15 turnovers in the first half, but took better care of the ball in the second, finishing with 21 turnovers for the game.
Shields was impressed by the selfless nature of his team.
“You’ve got a group of guys that don’t care who gets the credit,” he said. “They all want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.”
As for what he thinks of his team at this point in the season, Shields acknowledges there’s always room to improve.
“We’ve got to keep an edge about us,” he said. “We’ve got to stay hungry.”
A three-pointer by sophomore guard Ben Dillard pushed the Trojan lead to 20 early in the second half and the Golden Panthers were never able to close the gap.
The Trojans will hit the road for games against Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky before returning home to take on Florida Atlantic on Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Jack Stephens Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.