UALR-Florida Atlantic to be televised by ESPN2

The Sun Belt Conference announced on Friday that the UALR-Florida Atlantic game to be played Jan. 22 in Boca Raton, Fla., has been picked up by ESPN2. The start time has been moved to Noon Central.
As part of the Sun Belt Conference’s television package, ESPN slotted a game to be televised at noon on Jan. 22 and had the ability to choose the best matchup.
UALR-Florida Atlantic was chosen over Troy-Western Kentucky, Denver-Middle Tennessee, Arkansas State-North Texas and Louisiana-Monroe vs. Louisiana-Lafayette.
Florida Atlantic has been one of the most impressive Sun Belt teams in non-conference play and opened Sun Belt Conference play with road victories over Troy and Louisiana-Monroe in December. UALR also performed well in non-conference play, but dropped its Sun Belt opener to preseason favorite North Texas on Thursday.
UALR has not fared well in recent appearances on ESPN-televised games.
The Trojans did beat Louisiana-Lafayette in the final game before leaving Alltel Arena on ESPN2. But they’ve gone 0-for since then. UALR lost on ESPN2 in the second round of a tournament at Texas Tech, lost on ESPN to Tulsa as part of ESPN’s 24 Hours of Basketball and lost at South Alabama.
The UALR-Florida Atlantic women’s game was originally scheduled for 2 p.m. Central on Jan. 22. It will now be played after the men’s game.

Here's the release from the Sun Belt.

Jackson, B. Williams receive best UALR marks from Thursday's games

The UALR men lost by 12 in the Sun Belt Conference opener at North Texas on Thursday, but junior Courtney Jackson turned in one of his best games as a Trojan. It went deeper than his career-high 16 points.
Jackson was also the plus/minus best for UALR in the game at -1.
Jackson had been second best the previous two games.
The rest of the top five on Thursday (among those who played in prime time) were Derrick Bails, Matt Mouzy, Chuck Guy and Solomon Bozeman.
In the past five games the top five have been: Guy, Bozeman, Tramar Sutherland, D'Andre Williams and Bails.
The top five in season plus/minus are now: Bozeman, Guy, Marlon Louzeiro, Sutherland and Williams.
And that brings us to the plus/minus per minute statistic. Louzeiro and Sutherland both went +3 in mop up time to increase their season totals. The top five are now: Louzeiro, Sutherland, Guy, Bozeman and Bails.
On the women's side, junior Britteni Williams crushed her teammates with a +18 rating in the Trojans five-point victory. Junior Marian Kursh was also very solid with a +11. The rest of the top five were: Asriel Rolfe, Taylor Ford and Shanika Butler.
In the past five games the top five have been: Rolfe, Butler, Chastity Reed, Janette Merriex and Hannah Fohne. And for the season, the top five are: Butler, Rolfe, Fohne, Reed and Merriex.
The plus/minus per minute season leader remains freshman Karisma Tyson, who made a free throw in her one minute of action last night. The top five continues with Butler, Rolfe, Fohne and Reed.

BTH Need to Read (12/31)

North Texas 81, UALR 69
UALR official
Denton Record Chronicle
ESPN/The Associated Press
The Sports Network

UALR 59, North Texas 54
UALR official
Denton Record Chronicle

North Texas beats UALR 81-69

69           81
  DENTON, Texas -- A five-minute first-half scoring dryspell was too much to overcome as UALR couldn’t contain North Texas in an 81-69 loss on Thursday at the Super Pit.
  UALR drops to 8-7 on the season and 0-1 in Sun Belt Conference play. North Texas, the preseason pick to win the conference championship, is now 12-2 and 1-0.
  UALR rallied from an early 11-point deficit to get to within 23-20 after consecutive three-pointers by senior Solomon Bozeman. But North Texas went on a big run from there, extending the lead to 35-20 before a dunk by senior Montrell Thornton. The Mean Green led 43-26 at halftime.
  UALR made an adjustment at the half, using a smaller lineup and zone defense. It worked for a while as the Trojans went on a 13-3 run. But North Texas made shots to get UALR out of the zone and rolled to what turned out to be an easy victory.
  "I thought our guys showed some resiliency in the second half. Unfortunately, that's not when the game was lost," UALR Coach Steve Shields said.
  Bozeman led UALR with 23 points, making 6 of 11 field goals, 3 of 4 three-pointers and 8 of 9 free throws. Junior Courtney Jackson added 16 points. Both tied their career highs.
  D’Andre Williams had 10 points and Alex Garcia-Mendoza had 8.
  Josh White led North Texas with 19 points.
  UALR shot 44 percent, but allowed the Mean Green to shoot 60 percent. It marks the fifth consecutive game North Texas has shot at least 50 percent. The Mean Green also held a 34-29 advantage in rebounds and made 21 of 31 free throws to UALR’s 13 of 19.
  "We couldn't get beat on the glass tonight. And every loss we've had this year we've given up 50 percent from the floor. There's no big secrets to us," Shields said.
  UALR plays at Denver on Sunday afternoon.

UALR-North Texas men to start at 7:25

For game updates, check the Twitter column on the left side of BTH.

UALR women beat North Texas 59-54

The UALR women survived a near monumental collapse to open Sun Belt Conference play with a victory.
UALR led by as many as 22 points in the second half, but had to hang on for a 59-54 victory over North Texas at The Super Pit in Denton, Texas.
North Texas got as close as 58-54 with 3.9 seconds left and sent Chastity Reed to the free throw line. But Reed and North Texas' Kosondra Foreman' were assessed technical fouls before Reed could get there. Freshman Karisma Tyson entered the game and made 1 of 2 free throws to put the game out of reach.
UALR has won four consecutive games.
Reed led UALR with 18 points, but made only 8 of 22 shots. She was also only 2 of 5 at the free throw line. Junior Marian Kursh had 1, while senior Shanika Butler had 10.
UALR shot 40 percent from the field, but made only 12 of 21 free throws. Both teams had 13 turnovers.

UALR's Reed returns to second home tonight

UALR senior Chastity Reed considers New Orleans her home. But she did spend her senior year of high school in the Dallas Metroplex.
The UALR women take on North Texas at 5 p.m. tonight. How has Reed fared in her previous returns to DFW?
She's averaged 19.5 points, 9 rebounds and 0.5 assists.
Reed is averaging 19.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists this season.

Tonight's UALR-North Texas BTH And Ones

- North Texas has a 13-game home court winning streak. UALR is 4-2 at the Super Pit under Coach Steve Shields.
- North Texas has won 24 consecutive games when leading at the half.
- North Texas has won four consecutive games and has shot better than 50 percent in all four. UALR is 7-0 when its opponent shoots less than 40 percent.
- North Texas is 8-0 when it outrebounds its opponent
- UALR is 8-0 this season when holding a lead at any point in the second half
- UALR is 8-0 this season when shooting a higher percentage than its opponent.
- UALR is 7-0 when holding opponents to 60 or fewer points and 8-1 when holding them to 70 or fewer. North Texas is 4-2 when scoring less than 80 points.

UALR vs. North Texas matchup

With the exception of last season, UALR has fared pretty well against North Texas in the Steve Shields vs. Johnny Jones era.
UALR vs. North Texas
7 p.m. tonight
Denton, Texas
One stat jumps off the page in these games. When UALR clamps down defensively, it wins. When it doesn't, North Texas wins. That battle of wills will take place again tonight at the Super Pit in Denton, Texas.
North Texas shoots 48 percent from the field and 37 percent from three-point range this season. If the Mean Green reaches those percentages tonight, it's likely going to be a long night.
Last season, the Mean Green shot 46 percent from the field and 33 percent from three-point range. But they shot 53 and 37 and 54 and 41 in two victories over the Trojans.
Conversely, the year before the Mean Green shot 44 and 36 percent for the season. North Texas shot 46 percent from the field, but only 12 percent from three-point range in the first meeting. And the Man Green shot 26 and 22 percent in the second meeting. Both were UALR victories.
A 40-percent three-point shooting North Texas team shot just 19 percent in a 2008 loss to UALR.
North Texas has improved its inside game in recent years and is not just a long-range bombing team anymore. But if the Mean Green are able to make shots from beyond the arc it figures to be a long night for UALR.
We'd expect to see a little more of Tramar Sutherland at times tonight. He was brought in as a defensive stopper and has a little more length to guard North Texas sharpshooter Tristan Thompson, who burned UALR last season by making 6 of 9 three-pointers in one game last season.

BTH Top 10 UALR games of the decade

All were great games. Some didn't work out like UALR hoped. Some were more important than others. And there were some that probably should have made this list but didn't. There were 10 other games on the original list, but you have to draw a line somewhere.

Jan. 30, 2005
Florida International 118, UALR 114 (5OT)
UALR blew a 14-point second half lead and had to rally just to get the game in overtime. The Trojans appeared to have the game won in the first overtime before Ivan Almante’s prayer fall-away three-pointer banked in at the buzzer. The game ended up going five overtimes before the Trojans lost. Brandon Freeman scored 37 points to lead UALR.
Feb. 4, 2010
UALR 79, Arkansas State 77
Alex Garcia-Mendoza’s half court three-pointer beat the buzzer and set off a wild celebration at the Jack Stephens Center as UALR pulled off a major upset by beating rival Arkansas State.
February 2, 2002
UALR 65, Arkansas State 63
Mark Green’s three-pointer with 3.1 seconds left gave the Trojans a two-point victory over Arkansas State at Alltel Arena. The game had 13 lead changes and 11 ties before a Sun Belt Conference record crowd of 12,985.
Feb. 26, 2005
UALR 64, Louisiana-Lafayette 63
Darius Eason’s black shoes made a difference. Zack Wright saw them and made a pass to Eason, who scored on a layup at the buzzer as UALR beat Louisiana-Lafayette in the Trojans’ final home game before leaving Alltel Arena.
March 6, 2004
UALR 83, ASU 78 (OT)
Brandon Freeman’s three-pointer with 2.9 seconds left in regulation sent the game to overtime at the Sun Belt Tournament in Bowling Green, Ky. It capped a big rally by the Trojans in the final minutes as Arkansas State missed free throw after free throw. The Trojans then won the game in overtime to advance.
January 14, 2002
New Orleans 73, UALR 72
New Orleans snapped UALR’s six-game winning streak on Kentrell Martin’s layup with 0.9 seconds left. But it was the postgame fireworks that made this game memorable. At the postgame handshake, New Orleans Coach Monty Towe slapped the hand of UALR Coach Porter Moser and a brawl nearly broke out.
November 18, 2000
UALR 53, Northwestern 43
Coming off the disastrous 1999-2000 season, the first game under Coach Porter Moser and the first season of the new decade was memorable with an upset at Northwestern.
Feb. 17, 2005
UALR 55, WKU 53
UALR went from pretender to contender with an upset of Western Kentucky at E.A. Diddle Arena. Zack Wright passed to Darius Eason for a dunk and the Trojans survived a long three-point attempt by Courtney Lee at the buzzer to pull out the victory. It moved UALR into first place, where they would finish ahead of the Hilltoppers.
March 8, 2009
UALR 58, Denver 55
UALR used a trapping press to turn what looked like a loss into a victory at the Sun Belt Tournament in Hot Springs. John Fowler’s back-to-back three-pointers tied the game and then gave UALR the victory over Denver.
Dec. 10, 2002
Minnesota 86, UALR 84 (OT)
Trailing by two points late in overtime, ,UALR got a break when Minnesota missed a free throw. But the officials didn’t give the Trojans a break. The ball hit off a Minnesota player (TV replays showed it clearly) but officials gave the ball to Minnesota. It helped the Golden Gophers hold on to beat UALR.

BTH UALR All-Decade basketball team

Here's the Burn The Horse UALR All-Decade team as voted on by the BTH staff:

First team
Zack Graber; Brandon Freeman; Mark Green; Shane Edwards; Rashad Jones-Jennings
Second team
Brandon Patterson, Nick Zachery, John Fowler, Richard Hardman, Darius Eason
Third team
Stevie Moore, Solomon Bozeman, Zack Wright, Mike Smith, Jake Yancey

Foley ranks near top

Found this while looking for something else.
Prior to the beginning of the season, UALR Coach Joe Foley ranked fourth in all-time winning percentage at .780. The top three are Connecticut's Geno Auriemma (.858), Tennessee's Pat Summitt (.841) and Stanford's Tara VanDerveer (.803).

UALR-North Texas predictions

The Las Vegas line favors North Texas by 9.5 points tonight. In 13 games with a line this season, UALR has been the underdog 11 times. In the previous 10 times as an underdog, UALR is 4-6. The last victory as an underdog came against Oral Roberts in Las Vegas.

Ken Pomeroy (8-4): North Texas 74, UALR 65
Real Time RPI (8-4): North Texas 79, UALR 74
Jeff Sagarin (7-5): North Texas 81, UALR 72
CBS Sportsline (6-6): North Texas 76, UALR 63
The Sports Network (6-6): North Texas 80, UALR 60

And tonight's UALR-North Texas women's prediction.
Real Time RPI (11-0): UALR 72, North Texas 55

BTH Need To Read (12/30)

UALR men vs. North Texas, 7 p.m. tonight, Denton, Texas
Denton Record Chronicle
UALR women vs. North Texas, 5 p.m. tonight, Denton, Texas
Denton Record Chronicle

Akron 87, UAPB 60; Rice 74, LSU 68; SMU 71, Southeast Missouri State 59; Missouri State 58, Northern Iowa 57; Creighton 64, Illinois State 53; Boise State 71, Louisiana Tech 50.
Stephen F. Austin 60, Louisiana-Monroe 36; Middle Tennessee 65, Tennessee State 58.
Nonconference opponents: 4-2
Conference Opponents: 1-1
Bowling Green 73, Butler 64; Princeton 67, Davidson 61; Saint Mary's 71, Boise State 57; Louisiana Tech 77, Georgia 62; Loyola Marymount 61, Seattle 52;  Memphis 62, McNeese State 34.
Hampton 61, Troy 43; Marquette 73, Florida International 67; Kentucky 81, Middle Tennessee 72; Texas Tech 70, Western Kentucky 60; Louisiana-Monroe 83, Florida Atlantic 63; Denver 70, Louisiana-Lafayette 58.
Nonconference opponents: 5-1
Conference opponents: 2-6

Top 10 UALR moments of 2010

Here's the Burn The Horse top 10 moments of 2010 at UALR:
1. In their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the UALR women use Kim Sitzmann’s hot shooting to take out Georgia Tech and shut up Georgia Tech Coach MaChelle Joseph.
2. We ran the numbers over and over and they didn’t look good after upsets in other conference tournaments. But the UALR women were still rewarded with their first bid to the NCAA Women’s Tournament.
3. One bright spot in a disastrous season for the UALR men’s basketball team came when Alex Garcia-Mendoza rescued the Trojans with a half-court, buzzer-beating shot to beat Arkansas State.
4. After losing their Sun Belt opener, the UALR women went on to win a school record 21-consecutive games. The streak ended with a Sun Belt Championship game overtime loss to Middle Tennessee.
5. Chastity Reed returns to her hometown of New Orleans and scores a school-record 43 points. It was the second time in two weeks she broke the school’s single-game record.
6. The UALR baseball teams draws record crowd as it hosts Kansas at Dickey Stephens Park. It was the first time the Trojans have played there.
7. In the most anticipated matchup of the regular season, the UALR women rout Middle Tennessee at the Jack Stephens Center.
8. UALR baseball sweeps Louisiana-Monroe and takes 2 of 3 from Arkansas State to finish season
9. UALR men’s cross country wins the Sun Belt championship.
10. A rebuilt UALR men’s squad rallies from a bad start and then has to hold on late to upset Tulsa.

UALR a 10-point underdog to UNT

For the 11th time in 13 games this season, UALR will be the Las Vegas underdog when it takes the court tomorrow against North Texas. The early Vegas line favors North Texas by 10 points
UALR is 2-0 this season as the favorite, beating Louisiana Tech and Stetson, and 4-6 as the underdog, beating SMU, Illinois State, Tulsa and Oral Roberts.

Story about former UALR player Brandon Nichols

UALR's schedule vs. North Texas

UALR opens Sun Belt Conference play on Thursday when it travels to Denton, Texas, to take on North Texas. UALR is 8-6, while North Texas, the preseason Sun Belt Conference favorite, is 11-2.
North Texas has victories against Texas Tech and LSU, but has really played a very weak schedule so far. In fact, the Mean Green have left the state of Texas only twice so far this season.
Here's some comparisons between the two:
Record: UALR 8-6, North Texas 11-2
Record vs. D1: UALR 6-6, North Texas 9-2
Record vs. top 50 RPI: UALR 0-0, North Texas 0-1
Record vs. 51-100 RPI: UALR 0-4, North Texas 0-1
Record vs. others: UALR 6-2, North Texas 9-0
Current RPI: UALR 124, North Texas 90
Current strength of schedule: UALR 101, North Texas 291
Best victory: UALR (Tulsa 139 RPI), North Texas (Jackson State 120 RPI)
Worst loss: UALR (Rice 204 RPI), North Texas (Sam Houston State 84 RPI)
Record vs. teams with winning record: UALR 3-4, North Texas (1-1)
What does it mean? LSU and Texas Tech are not ranked inside the RPI top 200 this season. But North Texas has beaten the teams it should have beaten. The 20-point loss at Sam Houston State might just have been an off night (SHSU has a good RPI but a sub .500 record). And North Texas is undefeated at home this season.
UALR has played a much tougher schedule and played in much tougher venues. But the Trojans didn't score any really good victories away from the Jack Stephens Center.
Both UALR and North Texas did what they had to do in the nonconference games. Both appear to be contenders in the Sun Belt this season.

BTH Need to Read (12/29)

UALR opens Sun Belt Conference play at North Texas on Thursday. The Mean Green played a tuneup on Tuesday, beating Oklahoma Panhandle State. OPSU is 2-10 on the season and was within four points with about 10 minutes left.
Here's the story from the Denton Record Chronicle:

St. Bonaventure gets a nice win, but Oral Roberts continues its December swoon in conference play.
St. Bonaventure 82, Siena 79; IPFW 76, Oral Roberts 73;
North Texas 83, Oklahoma Panhandle State 62; Arkansas State 120, Central Baptist 39; Utah Valley State 95, Florida International 92;
Nonconference opponents went: 1-1
Conference opponents went: 2-1
Rice 80, Northwestern State 44; Alabama 88, Southern Miss 78; Texas A&M 84, Drexel 55.
Nonconference opponents went: 2-1

Number crunching

UALR's 25-point win over Stetson in the final game before the Christmas break broke what has been a trend under Coach Steve Shields.
UALR entered that game with just a 2-5 record under Shields in the final game before Christmas. And some have been pretty ugly. There was a 91-66 loss at Creighton, a 64-47 loss at Southern Illinois, an 80-61 loss at Creighton and a 69-47 loss at Wright State. UALR's two victories in that scenario were a 78-68 victory over McNeese State in 2004 and a 65-59 victory over Arkansas State in 2008.
So what happens after the Christmas break? Under Shields, the Trojans are 3-4 in the first game after the Christmas break. Among the most disappointing of those losses was a 59-55 loss at Northern Illinois in 2007 and a 79-72 loss to Rice in 2008.
When UALR wins the last game before Christmas break it is 1-1 in the first game after Christmas break.
And, under Shields, when UALR wins by 20 or more points it has a .500 record in its next game.

Brandon Nichols' obituary

Brandon V. Nichols our beloved son, 24, of Cypress passed away December 22, 2010 of cancer. He was born January 27, 1986 in Shreveport, LA. He attended the University of Arkansas, in Little Rock. Where he received his B.S. in Health Science, he was a member of the basketball team. He was employed by 24 hour fitness as a certified personal trainer while pursuing a teaching certificate.
Brandon was a devoted Christian and he attended Community of Faith church in Hockley. He was best known for his kind, gentle soul and his generosity toward others.
Brandon is survived by his father: Mike Nichols, mother: Sherri Nichols-Schneider and husband Fred, brothers: Austin and Aaron, maternal grandparents: Richard and Joyce Melin, his paternal grandparents: Donnie and Yvette Nichols, several aunts, uncles, cousins and blended family members.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Klein Funeral Home. Visitation hours will be this Monday from 6-9pm. The funeral will be held on Tuesday at 1p.m. at the funeral home with a grave side service following. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider donations to the Brandon Nichols Benefit Fund at the following: Amegy Bank C/O Brandon Nichols Benefit Fund P.O. Box 27459 Houston, Tx 77227.

Sun Belt openers

The UALR men open Sun Belt Conference play on Thursday against preseason favorite North Texas. If history is any indication, the Trojans will be ready to play.
UALR is 6-1 in Sun Belt openers under Coach Steve Shields. The only loss came last year at South Alabama. But it would be difficult to say they weren't ready to play that night. UALR led until senior forward Mike Smith tore his anterior cruciate ligament early in the second half. And after falling behind, UALR still fought back and had a chance to tie on the final play of the game.
Here's the results from the first seven seasons under Shields.
2003-2004  W 65-53 at Florida International
2004-2005  W 67-57 vs. Florida International
2005-2006  W 55-53 at Florida International
2006-2007  W 73-47 vs. Denver
2007-2008  W 75-67 vs. Florida International
2008-2009  W 65-59 vs. Arkansas State
2009-2010  L 74-71 at South Alabama
2010-2011  Thursday at North Texas

Merry Christmas

With Christmas having arrived, players have gone home and no games are being played for the next week. BTH is going to sign off for a few days.
We'll pick it back up after Christmas when things start to happen again.
Thanks to everyone for your support and suggestions. We've got a few tricks up our sleeve for the new year.
BTH wishes everyone a Merry Christmas.

Viva Las Vegas

Wrapping up the records for teams playing in the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Invitational.
Miami (Fla.) 4-0
Akron 2-1
Rice 2-2
UALR 2-2
Oral Roberts 1-2
Stetson 0-4
* Akron hosts Oral Roberts on Jan. 3 in the final game of the invitational
Miami, Akron and Rice hosted games on their campus as part of the tournament.

Updated statistics

Statistics are updated in the right column through last night's victory over Stetson. Most players made pretty nice plus moves with the blowout victory.
The top five vs. Stetson were: Solomon Bozeman +29, Courtney Jackson +23, Matt Mouzy +17, D'Andre Williams +15 and Chuck Guy +14.
The most productive segment last night came in the second half as UALR pushed a 60-40 lead to 71-42. On the curt were Mouzy, Bozeman, Williams, Jackson and Derrick Bails.
For the season, Bozeman has a +43 to lead the team. He's followed by Guy +33, Thornton +18, Alex Garcia-Mendoza +15 and Marlon Louzeiro +10.
In the past five games, Guy is a team best +6 followed by Bozeman +2 and Thornton +1.
Thornton takes over the overall lead in plus/minus per minutes played with a slight percentage points lead over Guy. Bozeman, Louzeiro and Tramar Sutherland round out the top five.
"I have to give a lot of credit to Little Rock they came out strong, but we just played horrible. It was a frustrating , bad game tonight. We shot 35 percent and they shot 65 percent from three... We can't win that way. It was a frustrating way to end a tournament where I thought we did some good things and learned a lot. We will just continue to try and get better."
-- Stetson Coach Derek Waugh

BTH Need to Read (12/24)

UALR 75, Stetson 60
UALR official
ESPN/The Associated Press
The Sports Network

Miami 69, Akron 61; Oral Roberts 80, Rice 78; Virginia Tech 78, St. Bonaventure 68 (OT); Tulsa 92, Texas-San Antonio 67; Colorado State 68, Ole Miss 61.
Utah State 80, Troy 39
Nonconference opponents: 2-4
Conference opponents: 0-1
Saint Mary's 85, Idaho 71.
Nonconference opponents: 0-1

UALR wins big over Stetson

  LAS VEGAS -- Most teams don't play zone defense against UALR. Stetson found out why on Thursday.
  UALR blitzed Stetson's matchup zone defense in a 75-50 victory in the final game of the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic. UALR improves to 8-6 on the season and finishes the tournament at 2-2 with a 2-1 record in Las Vegas.
  "That was much needed going into the break," UALR Coach Steve Shields said.
  UALR's eighth victory matches its total from the entire 2009-2010 season and comes against a nonconference schedule with very few breathers. Hot shooting turned what could have been a competitive game -- Stetson played even with Rice before losing on Tuesday -- into a blowout.
  Solomon Bozeman led the Trojans with 16 points. Alex Garcia-Mendoza and Matt Mouzy had 11 apiece, Chuck Guy 10 and Derrick Bails 9 as UALR enjoyed only their third blowout victory of the season -- and first against a NCAA Division I opponent.
  Stetson has a victory over Wake Forest early this season, but has struggled of late with five consecutive losses.
  "I thought we were very sound with the basketball and I thought we shared the ball extremely well. And we were very solid in our halfcourt defense," Shields said.
  UALR hadn't operated much against a zone this season. SMU played some in the season opener and Philander Smith started in a zone before abandoning it early in the game. Stetson was committed to it and UALR attacked it from the start.
  The Trojans shot 55 percent from the field and made 12 of 20 three pointers. UALR trailed only 2-0 and 3-2 before taking control of the game early in the first half.
  Bozeman scored the game's first eight points and then assisted on the next basket with a pass to Montrell Thornton for a dunk. It was the first of Bozeman's seven assists.
  "He's been our leader this year. He's done an excellent job of it. He's got the ball moving and he's shared the basketball," Shields said. "We kind of go with Solomon. He's done a great job leading the team."
  Garcia-Mendoza made 3 of 3 three pointers, Guy made 3 of 4 and Bozeman made 3 of 5. Mouzy was 3 of 8, but missed several in the second half with the game out of reach He was 3 of 4 at one point.
  "We shot good threes. I thought that was the reason we shot it so well," Shields said.
  UALR opens Sun Belt Conference play Dec. 30 at North Texas.
  "Going to North Texas, that's the pick of our league. They've got the most experience back and a couple of all-conference selections. They just beat LSU by 20 on the road. We know we've got to be very good going to North Texas," Shields said. "I think our guys are ready to start conference play."

UALR-Stetson preview

  LAS VEGAS -- UALR and Stetson renew a rivalry from the old days of the Trans-America Athletic Conference at 6:30 p.m. Central tonight at South Point Arena in Las Vegas.
Stetson vs. UALR
6:30 p.m. Central tonight
South Point Arena, Las Vegas
  UALR leads the all-time series 7-4, but Stetson is on a two-game winning streak. Both of those Stetson victories came in 1991, the last year for the Trojans in the TAAC.
  Stetson and UALR played one of the more historical games in Trojans history in 1988. Earlier that season, the Hatters beat the Trojans 86-68 in DeLand, Fla. With revenge on their minds and a chance to clinch the regular season TAAC Championship, UALR responded with a 125-81 victory at Pine Bluff in the rematch.
  The 125 points marks the most points a UALR team has scored in a NCAA Division I game. It was two points short of the 127 the Trojans scoed in 1974 against School of the Ozarks.
  It's more likely the teams won't combine for 127 points tonight.
  UALR had to play lock down defense in a tense 52-49 victory over Oral Roberts on Wednesday. Tonight, they face a Stetson team that struggles to shoot the three-pointer and is turnover-prone. It's also a Stetson team that likes to play matchup zone defense.
  UALR struggled to shoot the ball from the outside against ORU. They'll need to be better tonight. That might open up an opportunity for a zone buster like Matt Mouzy to see considerably more time.
  UALR also wasn't able to press much against ORU or Akron, but likely will try to turn up the heat tonight. Stetson is on a four-game losing streak and has had 18, 20, 12 and 23 turnovers in those games.
  Stetson has also scored 54, 63, 66 and 56 points in those games. UALR is 6-0 when opponents score 60 or fewer poins and 7-1 when opponents score 70 or fewer. UALR is 7-0 when shooting a higher field-goal percentage than its opponent.

Thanks to everyone

Burn The Horse is going to go over the 10,000 hits mark sometime around Noon today.
When you start something new, you really have no idea how it is going to be received. Obviously, everyone would like more hits, but to reach 10,000 before Christmas was never in our wildest dreams.
The feedback has been great and we've got some great ideas for BTH in the future.
How can you help?
1. If you see an advertisement from Google and it seems like something you're interested in, give it a click directly from the BTH site. This helps increase the site's value.
2. Post links. Post links to BTH items on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and message boards. This drives more traffic to the site and, again, increases its value.
3. Keep talking about BTH to other UALR fans.
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Hope everyone has a happy holidays and a blessed new year.

Statistics updated

Chuck Guy, Courtney Jackson and Montrell Thornton made the biggest plus/minus moves in last night' 52-49 victory over Oral Roberts in Las Vegas.
Guy had a team-high +11, while Jackson (+8), Thornton (+6), Solomon Bozeman (+5) and Alex Garcia-Mendoza (+1) all finished on the positive side.
UALR overtook Oral Roberts in the second half by turning a 41-39 deficit into a 46-44 lead. The five on the floor during that run were D'Andre Williams, Guy, Bozeman, Jackson and Bails.
It's also interesting to note that UALR didn't use the small lineup on Wednesday (except in the final minute for free throw shooting). Either Jackson or Eric Kibi manned the four spot and either Montrell Thornton or Derrick Bails manned the five spot the entire game.
Guy's +19 for the season is a team best. Bozeman is second at +14 and Louzeiro third at +13.

UALR-Stetson predictions

The Las Vegas line is finally in. And UALR is a 4.5-point favorite. It marks only the second time in 12 opportunities (D1 games only) that UALR has been the favorite on The Strip. The last time was at home against Louisiana Tech.

Ken Pomeroy (7-4): UALR 70, Stetson 65
Real Time RPI (7-4): UALR 60, Stetson 57
Jeff Sagarin (6-5): UALR 71, Stetson 69
CBS Sportsline (6-5): Stetson 67, UALR 66
The Sports Network (5-6): UALR 71, Stetson 64

Four of five going with UALR. That hasn't happened very often this season.