BURN THE HORSE
Unfortunately, these Trojans are learning that it takes 40 minutes of effort and intensity to win against good teams (or any teams for that matter).
- Jump on Jackie. Illinois State’s Jackie Carmichael didn’t get his double-double, finishing with 10 points and 9 rebounds. He also was limited to 23 minutes due to fouls. Grade: A-.
- Take care. UALR finished with only 11 turnovers and did a much better job of taking care of the basketball. Grade: A-.
- Big start. UALR found itself down 32-14 and unable to guard anybody from Illinois State early in the game. Grade: F.
- Someone else. Taggart Lockhart had 11 points, but we still haven’t seen anybody other than Will Neighbour or D’Andre Williams able to have a big-time game. Grade: C-.
Illinois State fans should have no complaints about the officiating crew of Verne Harris, Gerry Pollard and Don Daily. Yes, a questionable call went against them in the first half. But Redbirds Coach Tim Jankovich dug his team a major hole when he couldn’t control himself.
However, the officials more than made up for any transgressions in the second half. Illinois State went 18 of 24 at the free throw line in the second half. UALR, which never even made it into the bonus, went 4 of 6. This came after Illinois State went to the free throw line just twice in the entire first half.
And it was huge because Illinois State shot just 26.3 percent in the second half.
Did these officials fear not getting to work Missouri Valley games the rest of the season? The Valley pays officials the same rate as the SEC. The Sun Belt pays less. That’s why officials covet working Valley games.
Or did UALR suddenly lose the ability to guard without fouling while, at the same time, Illinois State did just the opposite?
Keep it positive
Will Neighbour had 19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals.
D’Andre Williams (3-13) and Chuck Guy (2-11) combined to go 5 of 24 from the field.
It got worse
The bus ride from Normal, Ill., back to Little Rock took a little longer than expected thanks to a blown tire. The Trojans left Normal at 9:45 p.m. and didn't arrive in Little Rock until 7:45 a.m. The players are now off for Christmas until Dec. 26.