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Trojan Hoops over the Holiday Break

Submitted by Adrian Miller on January 19, 2017 – 5:52 pmNo Comment

Trojan Hoops over the Holiday Break
By Adrian Miller
While most UALR students were enjoying the winter break, the men’s and women’s basketball teams were hard at work on the basketball court. The Little Rock (LR) men looked to defend their Sun Belt Conference championship and the women were on a mission to achieve one. During the break, the Trojan men went 4-3 overall while the Lady Trojans went 5-2. Inside the conference, the men went 2-1, beating Appalachian State and ULM, but suffered their first conference loss against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Lady Trojans went 4-0 inside the conference with victories over Louisiana-Lafayette, a 44-point blowout victory over Louisiana Monroe, and close victories over Coastal Carolina and Appalachian State.
The first game for the Trojan men was at home game against UCA. Senior standout guard Marcus Johnson Jr. set a Jack Stephens record with nine three-pointers, scoring 29 points total. In their next game, the LR men’s team defeated Northern Arizona in a close contest. The upper classmen stepped up with seniors Marcus Johnson Jr., Jalen Jackson, Kemy Osse and Maurius Hill all scoring in double figures.
The Trojan men fell in their next two contests against Oral Roberts and SEC powerhouse Florida. The Trojans shot a dismal 34.5 percent from the field and 0-15 behind the 3-point line against Oral Roberts. Their next game, nationally-televised, took them to Gainesville, Florida to face the Florida Gators. The Trojans fell behind in the first half, and it was difficult for them to come back against the Gators. Senior center Lis Shoshi had a good scoring game finishing with 19 points.
The Trojans returned home and protected the Jack to gain their first conference win against Louisiana-Monroe. The score went back and forth, but the Trojan men secured a 79-75 victory in overtime. Sophomore Forward Oliver Black posted his first double-double at UALR, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Trojan men then suffered their first Sun Belt loss against Louisiana-Lafayette, pulled out a close victory against Appalachian State, but fell in a close conference game to Coastal Carolina.
The Lady Trojans faced two tremendous battles over the break, SEC competitors Mississippi State and LSU. Mississippi State was ranked fifth in the nation and overcame the Lady Trojans 58-44 at the Jack. Sophomore Forward Ronjanae DeGray shot a perfect 7-7 from the field and finished with a career high 18 points. Freshman guard and Little Rock native Kyra Collier showed great effort in their next outing, recording her first double-double at LR with 15 points and 17 rebounds in a 63-58 victory over Tulsa.
The Lady Trojans then traveled to Baton Rouge to face the LSU Tigers. LSU won 69-49, but the Trojans were only down by 5 at halftime. Louisiana native and senior forward Kaitlyn Pratt scored in double figures in the loss. The Lady Trojans then opened conference play with two victories; the first was a nail biter against Louisiana-Lafayette in which the Lady Trojans overcame a 15 point deficit to win 64-60. The next was a dominating win against ULM at the Jack, as LR held the Warhawks to only 9 first half points. The backcourt of the Lady Trojans was excellent. Kyra Collier was very close to the second triple-double in LR history, finishing with 13 points, nine boards and nine assists. Superstar Kaitlyn Pratt showcased her skills in the Lady Trojans next two conference victories. The senior forward scored a career high 24 in the win over Coastal Carolina then matched her point total and achieved her fifth double-double of the year with 10 boards in the win over Appalachian State.

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