UALR loses 75-61

UALR's defense is playing like a broken slot machine. It keeps spitting out lemon after lemon after lemon.
The Trojans fell apart defensively in the first half and lost 75-61 to Akron in the first game of the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic at South Point Arena.
Solomon Bozeman led the Trojans with 19 points. Alex Garcia-Mendoza and Courtney Jackson each added 10 points. But offense wasn't the issue.
Akron shot 50 percent from the field and 52 percent from three-point range. The Zips closed the first half with a 28-11 run to take a 46-31 halftime lead. Even when UALR went on a late 5-0 run to cut the lead to 43-31 the Trojans left Alex Abreu wide open for a three-pointer to push the lead back to 15 at halftime.
"This is a game where we give up 50 percent from the floor. If you look at all six of our losses, we've given up 50 percent from the floor," said UALR Coach Steve Shields said. "We've got to be more sound in the half court and rebound the ball better. We can't do that and be successful."
Other than Jackson's 10 points, all of which came in the first half, UALR got next to nothing out of its forwards again. Marlon Louzeiro (0 pts), Eric Kibi (0 pts), Derrick Bails (0 pts), Montrell Thornton (4 pts) and Gus Leeper (0 pts) combined to score 4 points and grab 6 rebounds.
More than offense, it's interior defense that continues to cause problems. With this group's ineffectiveness, UALR has had to play smaller lineups. And those smaller lineups have struggled to get defensive stops inside. And when the guards dig down to try and help, teams like Akron have made them pay with three-pointers.
UALR shot 50 percent from three-point range, but had a season-high in turnovers.
"We got off to a good start and we turned the ball over way too many times in the first half and had a season-high 19 turnovers," Shields said. "We can't win with 19 turnovers."
UALR returns to action at 6:30 p.m. Central on Wednesday against Oral Roberts. The Trojans lost 86-60 to ORU earlier this season. ORU lost to Miami (Fla.) on Tuesday.