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Trojan Men Get a Hard Fought Bounce Back Victory

Submitted by Adrian Miller on February 8, 2017 – 1:02 pmNo Comment

By: Adrian Miller
The Little Rock (LR) men’s basketball team picked up a well needed victory Monday night at the Jack Stephens Center. On Feb. 6th the Trojans hosted Appalachian State and did what Coach Wes Flanigan asks of his team each home game, “Protect the Jack.” LR defeated Appalachian State 69-62 in a decisive win. The conference victory was a pivotal one after LR dropped a conference game at the Jack, Saturday Feb. 4th against Coastal Carolina.
The game against Coastal Carolina was a close battle from the opening tip. The first half featured four lead changes and the Trojans took a 34-31 lead into halftime. The excitement raised when the first make for the Trojans in the second half was a three by floor leader Marcus Johnson Jr. Senior big man Maurius Hill followed Johnson’s make with one of his own and then added an emphatic dunk to put the Trojans up 43-38. Coastal Carolina then went on a 10-0 run until Senior center Lis Shoshi slammed through a powerful dunk to put the score at 48-45.
Carolina then went on a 14-5 run and went up by twelve until sophomore guard Deondre Burns scored five straight marking a 7 point run for the Trojans, bringing the score to 62-57. The Trojans continued to cut into the lead and came within 3 points, but they could not seem to overcome Coastal Carolina. Senior leaders Jalen Jackson, Lis Shoshi and Marcus Johnson Jr. left it all on the court with all three finishing in double figures. Shoshi added 7 rebounds in his first game since a high ankle sprain sidelined him for four games.

LR returned to its winning ways, however, in their next outing against Appalachian State. Deondre Burns started the scoring for the Trojans and contributed 10 points, while shooting 50% from three in the victory against App State. Lis Shoshi contributed 11 points to the Trojans win, while Jalen Jackson led the team with 14 points. The defense  forced 7 turnovers, including 4 blocks, 4 steals and stopping App State in late game situations.

Lis Shoshi, when asked if he felt better playing on his injured ankle versus Appalachian State, he said “Yeah, in the game against Coastal (Carolina) I was thinking about it a lot, but tonight I just went out and played.” Fellow Senior Jalen Jackson spoke on his hot hand during the game. “I was trying to find seams… I did get going pretty early and had a good feel on tonight.” Jackson also spoke on the significance of the game. “I definitely feel like we needed this win going into our Texas matchups, it was a good win.”

The Trojans have a crucial road stretch in their next 3 games facing all conference opponents. The first test will be against Texas State who currently hold the 5th spot in the Sun Belt. Then they travel to UT Arlington who currently sit at 4th and finish against in-state rival Arkansas State who currently holds the top spot in the conference.

Coach Flanigan looked to the future in his postgame press conference. When asked about his confidence going into the upcoming conference games, Flanigan said, “I’m always confident… I have six seniors on this team… Our guys are always fighting!”


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