UALR Rewind: Rebounding, free throws key in Trojans' victory


UALR improves to 2-0 in Sun Belt Conference play. Here's a look back at the BTH Keys to Victory:

1. Big start: Well, it didn’t look like UALR accomplished this when they fell behind by 11 points. But a big run over the final 10 minutes of the first half gave the Trojans a halftime lead. Grade: B+

2. Board it: UALR had to dominate rebounding and the Trojans did. UALR held a 34-25 rebounding edge, including 11-5 in offensive rebounds. Grade: A.

3. Take care: Once again, UALR had more turnovers (12) than its opponent (11). But 12 turnovers are well within the respectable range. Grade: B+.

4. Free time: Denver is one of the nation’s best free throw shooting teams and the Pioneers made 22 of 28 free throws on the night. But UALR, despite not getting many calls in the second half, hung in there. And when Denver had to send UALR to the line late, the Trojans made them. UALR made 20 of 27 free throws. Grade: B+.

Stat of the game
UALR out Denver-ed Denver from the free throw line. The Trojans made 6 of 11 threes while Denver made just 5 of 21.

Always negative
UALR had just 7 assists. Actually, they probably had more. Assists remain the most difficult statistic to keep track of and the visiting team almost always fails to get credited all the time.

Keep it positive
Freshman Ben Dillard went 4 of 5 from the field (including 3 of 3 from three-point range) and 2 of 2 at the free throw line.

Up next
The Trojans travel to Louisville, Ky., to take on Kentucky on Tuesday evening.

Denver Coach Joe Scott speaks after UALR victory in Mile High City


UALR first since 2003 to sweep the North Texas-to-Denver road trip

How big was UALR’s 66-59 victory at Denver on Saturday? The Trojans became the first team since 2003 to sweep the one-week, North Texas to Denver (or vice versa) road trip.

UALR won at North Texas on Thursday before Flying to Denver for Saturday’s victory.

The last team to do it was Louisiana-Lafayette in the 2002-2003 season. On Jan. 30, 2003, the Ragin’ Cajuns won 89-58 at North Texas. Then on Feb. 1, 2003, they won 95-80 at Denver.

Some others have won at Denver over the years but didn’t play North Texas directly before or after the game.

Arkansas State nearly pulled it off in 2009. The Red Wolves won at Denver, but lost their next game at North Texas in triple overtime.

UALR opens Sun Belt play 2-0 with road victory at Denver

We'll have more later, but UALR beat Denver 66-59 to start Sun Belt Conference play 2-0.

Very late in the game, Will Neighbour, who had 17 points, had to leave with a dislocated shoulder. Word out of Denver was that they popped the shoulder back in place, but there was no word about his availability for Tuesday's game at Kentucky.

UALR Gamenight Live Blog: Trojans vs. Denver at 5 p.m. CST

The UALR Trojans take on the Denver Pioneers at 5 p.m. Central from Magness Arena in Denver. Burn The Horse is following those involved in both shades of maroon for tonight's game. Live updates all day and night from Burn The Horse.

UALR Gameday: Trojans likely have hands full with trip to Denver


UALR (4-10) vs.
Denver (11-2)

5 p.m. today
Denver, Colo.
Vegas says: DU by 15

UALR Assistant Coach Joe Kleine does as good a job as any coach at teaching defense against the Princeton offense. And UALR will get their second look at it this season. UALR can’t allow Denver to pick up uncontested layups.

1. Big start: UALR has played well in most of their recent first halves. The Trojans can’t afford to let Denver run away early. The Pioneers have led at the half in 11 of 13 games this season.

2. Board it: Denver’s one major flaw comes in rebounding. The Pioneers are being out rebounded by almost 5 per game. UALR needs to double that to be in tonight’s game.

3. Take care: Denver doesn’t press and doesn’t play pressure defense. That means turnovers need to be kept at a minimum. At the same time, UALR needs to speed Denver’s offense up by applying pressure.

4. Free time: Denver shoots 81.1 percent from the free throw line. The worst free throw shooter on their roster shoots 68 percent. UALR needs to get to the free throw line but they can’t trade charity tosses with the Pioneers and expect to win.

Vegas says:
Denver by 15 points. 15? 15? Wow, that’s a big number. Vegas darlings UALR beat the spread for the fifth time in a row with Thursday’s victory against North Texas. UALR still hasn’t been favored in a game this season.


  • CBS Sports line (10-3): Denver 74, UALR 54
  • Jeff Sagarin (9-4):  Denver 85, UALR 68
  • The Sports Network (9-4): Denver 77, UALR 65
  • Real Time RPI (8-5): Denver 76, UALR 58
  • Combination: Denver 78, UALR 59

UALR Rewind: Trojans get passing marks in victory over North Texas

Revisiting Thursday's BTH Keys to Victory.  The Trojans get more than passing grades, they aced their first Sun Belt Conference test.

Board it: UALR outrebounded North Texas 37-32 and had 10 offensive rebounds to North Texas’ 9. Gold Star to Will Neighbour with 11 boards on the night. Grade: A.

Solid start: It wasn’t pretty, but UALR did what it had to early. The Trojans led most of the first half and 23-19 at halftime. North Texas is now 1-6 when trailing at the half. Grade: A.

Take care: UALR actually had four more turnovers than North Texas, but the Trojans only had 13. There was one struggling stretch in the second half, but for the most part the Trojans did a good job. Grade: B+.

Someone else: Chuck Guy did a nice job with 12 points, but the real someone else gives UALR a grade of F. That’s F for Fondren, as in Reggie Fondren. Fondren hit two clutch three-pointers in the closing minutes. Grade: A.

Stat of the night
UALR goes 9 of 18 from three-point range. The Trojans are now above 30 percent from the three-point line on the season.

Always negative
North Texas shot 60.6 percent in the second half. That's a trend that has to stop.

Keep it positive
UALR made more free throws (20) than North Texas attempted (17).

Up next
UALR travels to Denver at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

UALR's Guy back in starting lineup, leads Trojans in +/- at UNT

Thursday’s 69-66 UALR victory at North Texas provided one statistical rarity. UALR Coach Steve Shields didn’t make a substitution in the final 6:26 of the game. At that point, UALR led 51-49 and he put freshman Taggart Lockhart in for senior Courtney Jackson. Shields then stayed with the lineup of senior D’Andre Williams, sophomores Chuck Guy and Will Neighbour, junior Reggie Fondren and Lockhart the rest of the game.

Guy was reinserted into the starting lineup on Thursday and took advantage by turning in the best plus/minus rating of the night. UALR outscored North Texas 63-51 with Guy on the court as he finished at +12.
Four of the five starters finished at even or better.
  • D’Andre Williams: 58-54 (+4)
  • Taggart Lockhart: 40-38 (+2)
  • Will Neighbour: 61-61 (Even)
  • Courtney Jackson: 20-35 (-15)
Lockhart has only finished on the minus side in one of the past eight games.

UALR beats North Texas 69-66 to start Sun Belt play

69     66
Taggart Lockhart's driving layup and subsequent free throw gave UALR the late cushion as the Trojans held off North Texas 69-66 in the Sun Belt Conference opener at The Super Pit in Denton, Texas.

UALR snaps a lengthy losing streak against NCAA Division I opponents while starting Sun Belt play with a victory. The Trojans are now 4-10 on the season. North Texas, which loaded up cupcake victories in the preseason, drops to 7-7.

UALR had held a second-half lead in 8 of its previous 13 games, but was unable to hold on late. That wasn't the case on Thursday.

UALR sophomore Will Neighbour badly outplayed so-called NBA Lottery pick Tony Mitchell. Neighbour had 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Mitchell, who had nine NBA scouts in attendance to watch him, had 6 points and 3 rebounds.

D'Andre Williams also had 19 points for UALR. Chuck Guy had 12.

The Trojans led throughout the first half before North Texas surged to a five-point lead early in the second half. UALR responded by upping its lead to as much as 10 before North Texas rallied to make for the tight finish.

Reggie Fondren's three-pointer with 1:16 left gave UALR a 65-62 lead before North Texas' Roger Franklin cut the lead to 65-64. With the ball, Lockhart found a seam and drove inside and made the layup as he was hammered with 42 seconds left. His free throw put UALR up 68-64.

Another Franklin basket with 24 seconds left cut the lead to 68-66. Then North Texas didn't want to foul Williams. UALR was able to waste time, calling two timeouts, until Williams was finally fouled with 8 seconds left. Williams made 1 of 2 free throws for a 69-66 lead.

North Texas had one final shot but Jordan Williams missed a three.

UALR Live: Trojans take on North Texas (live blog)

The Burn The Horse live blog for tonight's UALR vs. North Texas game. We're following those in green and maroon leading up to gametime and throughout the night. Check back for constant updates.

UALR Gameday: Trojans open Sun Belt play at North Texas

UALR (3-10) at
North Texas (7-6)

7 p.m. tonight
Denton, Texas
Vegas Says: UNT by 4

UALR opens Sun Belt Conference play at 7 p.m. tonight against North Texas at The Super Pit in Denton, Texas. This is a matchup of two young teams who have had very different experiences in pre-conference play. North Texas played a top-heavy schedule with some absolutely non-winnable games and several extremely winnable games. UALR played a much more level schedule with several games the Trojans could have won (but didn’t).

BTH Keys to Victory
Board it: UALR has improved dramatically rebounding since the start of the season. But North Texas has been solid in this area all year. The Mean Green outrebound their opponents by 6 per game and have 70 more offensive rebounds than their opponents. North Texas is 0-5 this season when it gets outrebounded. UALR can’t get dominated on the boards if it expects to win.
Solid start: When UALR has been able to get off to a good start at North Texas, the Trojans have fared well. When North Texas has dominated early, it’s generally meant a blowout victory for the Mean Green. UALR can’t dig themselves a hole like they did at Illinois State. North Texas is 1-5 this season when trailing at the half and 6-0 when leading at the half.
Take care: North Texas and UALR both have 36 more turnovers than assists this season. The team that flips that statistic tonight will have a huge advantage.
Someone else: UALR needs someone other than Will Neighbour or D’Andre Williams to pick up the scoring slack tonight. How about hometown kids like Chuck Guy, Courtney Jackson and Ben Dillard?

Vegas Says
Las Vegas favors North Texas by 4 points. UALR has still not been Vegas favored in a game this season. This is the 10th time a UALR game has made the board and the Trojans have been the underdog all 10 times. UALR is becoming somewhat of a Vegas darling though. The Trojans have beat the spread five consecutive times. North Texas hasn't spent much time as a favorite. The Mean Green is Vegas favored for just the second time this season (most of their games have been off the board).

  • CBS Sports line (10-2): North Texas 72, UALR 63
  • Jeff Sagarin (9-3): North Texas 74, UALR 67
  • The Sports Network (9-3):
  • Real Time RPI (8-4): North Texas 78, UALR 59
  • Combination: North Texas 75, UALR 63

A look back: Bozeman's game winner sends UALR to the NCAA Tournament

We've heard a lot from the North Texas side that tomorrow night's Sun Belt Conference opener is a "revenge" game. Uh, OK. However, most of the principles in that game won't even be on the court on Thursday night. Here's a look back.

Up next: UALR travels to North Texas on Thursday


UALR (3-10) vs.
North Texas (7-6)
7 p.m. Thursday
Denton, Texas
North Texas is a difficult team to size up for this reason. They’ve pretty much won the games they were supposed to win. They’ve lost the games they were supposed to lose.

On Thursday night, the Mean Green (7-6) open Sun Belt Conference play by hosting UALR (3-10) at the Super Pit in Denton, Texas.

Much like UALR, North Texas is a very young team. They’ll likely start three freshmen, a sophomore and a senior against the Trojans. And heralded recruit Tony Mitchell is just four games into his college career and continuing to get acclimated to what the Mean Green want to do.

Mitchell is a 6-8 freshman who was among the nation’s elite recruits two years ago. He signed with Missouri but couldn’t get cleared to enroll there because the Big XII didn’t allow partial qualifiers. He enrolled at North Texas last January and had to sit out until mid-December. Since then, he’s averaged 12.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in his four games. He’s also found himself in a bit of foul trouble early in his career.
Tony Mitchell

Chris Jones, a 6-2 freshman, has been the Mean Green’s best this year. He averages 15 points per game and has been the top scorer in 9 of 13 games. He’s attempted 46 three-pointers but makes only 28 percent.

The rest of the starting lineup consists of 6-6 freshman Jordan Williams, 6-4 sophomore Alzee Williams and 6-7 senior Kedrick Hogans. Jordan Williams averages 10.4 points, while Alzee Williams attempts 4.5 three pointers per game and makes a team best 35.7 percent.

The first three off the bench appear to be 6-5 junior Roger Franklin, 6-2 junior Brandan Walton and 6-8 junior Jacob Holmen. Alton has 51 three-point attempts but shoots just 27.5 percent. Two others who may see action are 6-7 senior Alonzo Edwards and 6-0 freshman Trey Norris.

UALR and North Texas are very similar. Both shoot 41 percent and allow opponents to shoot 43 percent. North Texas shoots 25 percent from three-point, while UALR shoots 29 percent.

North Texas has been a better rebounding team with a +6 margin. UALR is out rebounding its opponents by 0.4 per game. North Texas has 70 more offensive rebounds than its opponents. And the Mean Green has been to the free throw line 34 more times than its opponents.

UALR vs. North Texas: Nonconference records are deceiving

UALR (3-10) at
North Texas (7-6)

7 p.m. Thursday
Denton, Texas

Comparing records, it doesn’t appear UALR has much of a shot in Thursday’s Sun Belt Conference opener at North Texas.

UALR enters the game at 3-10 on the season while North Texas is 7-6. But what if UALR had played North Texas’ nonconference schedule? What would UALR’s record be then?

North Texas opened with a victory over non-Division I St. Gregory’s. The Mean Green then lost road games at Texas Tech, Texas-Arlington, Mississippi State and Texas to drop to 1-4. It’s likely UALR would have also been 1-4 after these five games.

Next, North Texas played in the Loyola Marymount tournament. They played non-Division I La Sierra, Columbia and Loyola Marymount. The Mean Green beat La Sierra and Loyola Marymount to improve to 3-5 on the season. It seems likely UALR could have pulled a similar 2-1 record out of that event.

North Texas then played its next five games at home, beating Sam Houston State, Jackson State, Grambling State and New Orleans and losing to LSU. UALR beat Sam Houston’s Southland Conference mate Northwestern State at home and NSU is rated higher than Sam Houston. It appears likely UALR would have had a similar record if the Trojans had played those games.

So, North Texas is 7-6 on the season but just 4-6 against non-Division I opponents. And the Mean Green is just 2-5 against opponents who aren’t non-Division I or SWAC.

UALR has played one non-Division I opponent this year and hasn’t played an opponent from the SWAC.
It appears to be a mismatch if you compare records. If you compare schedules, it's a much more evenly matched game.

UALR's next opponent North Texas hosts New Orleans tonight

UALR takes on North Texas on Thursday night. But first, the Mean Green have to play former Sun Belt Conference opponent New Orleans tonight at the Super Pit in Denton. Follow the game on Twitter both before, during and after the game with the BTH Twitter feed.

Nice to meet you: UALR starting season over with trip to North Texas


No idea if UALR Coach Steve Shields walked into the locker room last night and had his players introduce themselves to each other. But he could have. As far as they’re concerned, the season started at that moment.

Obviously you can’t just wipe away everything. UALR is 3-10 on the season. But the Trojans are approaching the start of Sun Belt Conference play the only way you can: New season starts today. That means symbolically wiping the 3-10 off the books and starting at 0-0 as the Trojans play Thursday at North Texas.

“They’ve shown a lot of grit and toughness and I really believe it will pay off in time. I think our guys have gotten better even though our record may now show it at this point,” Shields said.

There’s a lot that can be debated about the 3-10 start to the season. But one thing that’s a fact is the level of competition. There was one non-Division I opponent, but there were no SWAC, no teams struggling to get a victory. And nearly every other opponent was an average, or in many cases, above average Sun Belt-type team.

UALR was in nearly all of them. That includes doing everything but beating Oral Roberts, which since that game has had a close lost to Gonzaga, a victory over Xavier and a victory over Texas Tech.

“I said this numerous times last year and we were fortunate to finish if off well in the conference tournament. We don’t know what the future holds, but you’ve got to stay together and you’ve got to continue to believe in one another,” Shields said.

They’re doing it playing three freshmen (Taggart Lockhart, Ben Dillard and Michael Javes) and two promising sophomores (Will Neighbour and Chuck Guy). UALR has been close so far. Taking the next step will tell whether or not these Trojans can compete in the Sun Belt.

UALR players return today

There are two schools of thought as to what to do with your players over Christmas break. UALR Coach Steve Shields prefers to give them as much time as possible at home and tries not to bring them back to campus until December 26.

He accomplished that this year. UALR players were able to go home last Wednesday. They are scheduled to report back to Little Rock today. They'll practice today and Tuesday before heading to Denton, Texas, on Wednesday. The Trojans take on North Texas at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Sun Belt Conference opener.
North Texas will have played three times since UALR's last game. They play non-Division I and former Sun Belt Conference opponent New Orleans on Tuesday night.

UALR's Lockhart gets back to plus side in loss to Illinois State


Freshman Taggart Lockhart was back on track on Tuesday night, finishing with a +1 BTH plus/minus rating in UALR’s 72-65 loss to Illinois State. Lockhart has been on the minus side only once (Louisiana Tech) in the past seven games. He’s a team-best +32 for the season.

In Tuesday’s game, UALR outscored Illinois State 48-47 during Lockhart’s minutes on the court. Do the math and that means UALR was outscored 25-17 with Lockhart on the bench.

The best sub of the night was senior Marlon Louzeiro, who finished a +7. UALR won his minutes 19-12.

Here’s the rest of the starting lineup:

  • Will Neighbour: -3 (48-51)
  • Ben Dillard: -5 (39-44)
  • D’Andre Williams: -9 (58-67)
  • Courtney Jackson: -21 (26-47)

Former UALR guard Solomon Bozeman off to nice start in NBDL


Former UALR guard Solomon Bozeman appears to be making the most ofhis opportunity with the NBDL’s Austin Toros.

For the season, Bozeman is averaging 9 points and 3 assists. But in the past three games, he’s averaging 14 points and 4 assists. That includes 21 points, and 6 assists in his last outing, a 116-99 victory over Texas.

Watch the highlights from the Texas at this link. There’s at least one classic Bozeman in there:

BTH Rewind: Recapping UALR's loss to Illinois State


65    72
After a pitiful start, UALR picked itself up and gave a superb effort the rest of the way. With Will Neighbour sick (he missed shoot-around on Tuesday afternoon) and cramping up in the second half, UALR still had a chance to win.

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).

BTH Keys
  1. 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-.
  2. Take care. UALR finished with only 11 turnovers and did a much better job of taking care of the basketball. Grade: A-.
  3. Big start. UALR found itself down 32-14 and unable to guard anybody from Illinois State early in the game. Grade: F.
  4. 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-.
Key stat
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.

Always negative
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.

Highlights from UALR's loss to Illinois State

Too bad nobody caught Illinois State Tim Jankovich losing it.

UALR Live: Illinois State 72, UALR 65

Burn The Horse presents our exclusive UALR Live Twitter Feed as the Trojans take on Illinois State at 6 p.m. tonight from Normal, Ill. We're following the followers all day long.

Maybe not should've, but UALR certainly could've had a better record


Should’ve and could‘ve. You hear a lot of these terms when your team is struggling. UALR goes into tonight’s game against Illinois State with a 3-9 record. Could UALR have just as easily been 8-4? Or should they have been 8-4?

Let’s break it down.

UALR gameday: Trojans travel to Illinois State in search of victory


UALR (3-8) vs.
Illinois State (7-3)
6 p.m. tonight
Vegas says: ISU by 10.5
Last chance for a nonconference victory before Sun Belt play opens up. Also the last chance for a victory before Christmas.

BTH Keys to Victory

1.Jump on Jackie. UALR doesn’t have anybody that really can match up physically with Illinois State’s Jackie Carmichael. But you can’t let him go off for a huge double-double type night. Keep Jackie in check and your chances of beating Illinois State go up.

Week before Christmas hasn't been kind to UALR


Twas the week before Christmas and all through the courts ....

History says UALR may struggle tomorrow at Illinois State. It has nothing to do with the fact that Illinois State is 7-3 on the season.

The calendar hasn’t been kind to UALR over the past nine years.

In its final game before Christmas break, UALR is:

  • 4-0 if the game is played at home or a neutral site;
  • 0-5 if the game is played on the road.
Of course, tomorrow’s game is being played on the road at Normal, Ill. UALR hasn’t won a road game in the last contest before Christmas since the 2001-2002 season when it won at Grambling State. Since then, UALR has lost road contests against Southern Miss, Creighton (twice), Louisiana-Monroe and Wright State.

Up next: UALR travels to Illinois State on Tuesday

UALR (3-9) at
Illinois State (7-3)
6 p.m. Tuesday
Normal, Ill.
Illinois State’s Jackie Carmichael is a beast. That’s good for the Redbirds and not so good for opponents as UALR tries to get on track with a visit to Illinois State at 6 p.m. tonight.

Carmichael, a 6-9 junior, is averaging 13.6 points and 8.1 rebounds. He doesn’t take threes, but dominates the paint. He also gets to the free throw line nearly 7 times per game. He’s a 72 percent free throw shooter after going 14 for 14 last time out.

He’s part of a big lineup Illinois State is starting right now. It also includes 6-9 junior John Wilkins, who averages 8.5 points, and 6-7 sophomore Jon Ekey, who averages 11.6 points. They round out the starting lineup with 6-4 guard Tyler Brown, 11.6 points, and 5-9 freshman Nic Moore, 7.2 points.

The Redbirds also bring some size off the bench in 6-10 Jordan Thereloff.
Jackie Carmichael

Illinois State is 7-3 on the season and 5-1 at home with the only loss coming to UNC-Wilmington.

The Redbirds get after it defensively, holding opponents to 38.1 percent from the field and 31.6 percent from three-point range. Norfolk State went 5 of 22 inside the arc and 5 of 24 outside the arc in Sunday’s 68-36 loss to Illinois State. Norfolk State also got outrebounded 46-32.

Offensively, the Redbirds attempt nearly 23 three-pointers per game, making 38 percent. Brown has made 25 of 52 threes this season, while Ekey has made 21 of 49.

UALR bench outperforms starters in loss to La Tech


Tramar Sutherland
About the most surprising aspect of Saturday’s UALR collapse at Louisiana Tech was the plus/minus rating of freshman Taggart Lockhart. Lockhart has been a pretty consistent plus this season and had not been a minus in the five previous games. But he was a -12 on Saturday. Hopefully it was just a blip. He’s the far and away team leader in this category this season.

BTH Rewind: UALR doesn't bite back when Louisiana Tech rallies.

One would hope that UALR is getting these out of the system before Sun Belt Conference play. Again, the Trojans got off to a solid start and couldn’t hang on. This team needs an on-the-court leader, a John Fowler, a Solomon Bozeman. It needs a player that will do whatever it takes to win when the game’s on the line. We haven’t seen one of those on the court yet this season.

UALR Live: La Tech 71, UALR 68

BTH's exclusive UALR vs. Louisiana Tech Twitter feed.

UALR Gameday: Keys include free throws rebounds vs. La. Tech


UALR (3-8) at
La. Tech (5-5)
7 p.m. tonight
Ruston, La.
UALR travels to Louisiana Tech at 7 p.m. tonight. Here’s the BTH Keys to Victory:

1. Free money. There’s probably no way around it this game. UALR has to go to the free throw line more than Louisiana Tech tonight. The Bulldogs go to the line an average of 17 times per game. But their opponents go an average of 26.8 times per game. Opponents are turning that into an 18-11 advantage. That could be the difference between a W and a L.

Up next: UALR travels to Louisiana Tech on Saturday


UALR (3-8) at
La. Tech (5-5)
7 p.m. Saturday
Ruston, La.
UALR completes a five-year series with Louisiana Tech with a visit to the Thomas Assembly Center in Ruston, La., on Saturday.

Louisiana Tech is 5-5 on the season and has won all three of its home games, beating non-Division I Mississippi College 92-70, Northwestern State 94-93 in double overtime, and McNeese State 60-58. The common opponent is Northwestern State. UALR beat NSU at home and lost in Louisiana.

UALR recruit John Gillon's mom tells other coaches to stop asking

It's about the time of years when the poachers really begin to get active.

However, Houston Strake Jesuit's John Gillon is having none of it. Gillon, who is having a monster start to his senior year, signed with UALR in October. Check out this Tweet from Jim Hicks at RCS Sports.


FYI, RCS Sports is a Houston-based group that covers high school basketball in that area (

And we all know they won't stop asking. Unfortunately, it's one of the many things that are broke in the current recruiting system. The same thing happened numerous times in the recruitment of now UALR sophomore Will Neighbour. Thanks to Jim for the Tweet. Thanks to John and his family for staying strong.

Houston Strake Jesuit's John Gillon, UALR signee, off to big start to season

We've posted videos and some other stories. But this one is a really nice look at Houston Strake Jesuit's John Gillon, who signed with UALR in November. Enjoy.

Football at UALR? Show me the money

We almost hate to even go here. But this writer suggests UALR start a football program. It's been discussed before. The official BTH view remains that UALR shouldn't. But it doesn't mean UALR won't at some point in the future.

Lockhart continues to be a plus for UALR


Freshman Taggart Lockhart hasn’t finished with a minus rating in the past five games, four of which were losses. That includes last night’s 58-55 loss to Oral Roberts. Lockhart finished a plus 7 in BTH Plus/Minus for the game with the Trojans outscoring ORU 24-17 during his minutes.

BTH Rewind: UALR doesn't make grades in loss to ORU

It’s funny how one 75-foot miracle can change your perspective of things. Had it missed, had UALR gone on to win in overtime it would be easy to look at this differently. As it is, it’s another low-grade performance on BTH Keys to Victory.

UALR's Williams' turnover-less streak ends at 82 minutes.

UALR point guard D'Andre Williams had played 81 game minutes since his last turnover going into Monday's game with Oral Roberts. His streak didn't last much longer.

Williams had a turnover in the second minute of Monday's loss to ORU, so give him credit for one additional minute. That brought the streak to 82 game minutes without a turnover. Pretty impressive.

How it went down: UALR's collapse, ORU's miracle shot

Here's how the final seconds went down on Monday.

UALR’s Chuck Guy makes two free throws to give the Trojans a 52-51 lead.

ORU’s Roderick Pearson makes two free throws to give the Golden Eagles a 53-52 lead.

UALR Coach Steve Shields after Monday's loss to Oral Roberts

UALR Coach Steve Shields talks about the loss to Oral Roberts on Monday.

Watch ORU's buzzer beating 75-footer vs. UALR

Here's the video of the shot.

ORU shot off at 0.2 as UALR loses heartbreaker

We've now seen the video. But would really like to see the official game video. ORU's Damen Bell-Holter definitely got the ball out of his hands in time. The clock had 0.2 on it when he let it go.

What's not clear is the moment when the clock started.

We tried to time it several times using a stopwatch. We got results of 2.5, 2.7, 2.6 and 2.5 seconds.
Doesn't really matter. It was ruled good and UALR loses a heartbreaker.

Two UALR turnovers, 5 ORU points in final 2.7 seconds as ORU wins

No idea how this is even possible. UALR had two turnovers in the final 2.7 seconds. Oral Roberts converted them into five points.
Really want to see the video. Want to see if the clock started as soon as the ball was touched. Want to see if ORU's Damen Bell-Holter really got the ball of that quickly. It probably did. And he probably did. But we still want to see it.
Here's the audio from Oral Roberts. Sure sounds like a lot of time passes between Tramar's pass and Bell-Holter's bullet.

BTH Keys to Victory: Rebounding key as UALR hosts Oral Roberts tonight

Oral Roberts (6-3)
at UALR (3-7)
7 p.m. tonight
Vegas says: ORU by 8
UALR hosts Oral Roberts tonight in the Trojans’ final home game until Jan. 7. Here’s the Burn The Horse Keys to Victory:

1. Rebound. It gets a separate category from turnovers this game because Oral Roberts is a really good rebounding team. The Golden Eagles outrebound their opponents by 6 per game. And it makes up for other inadequacies they might have. UALR has to fight ORU to a stalemate here.

2. Someone else. We’ve seen some good starts from sophomore Will Neighbour in recent games. But his teammates haven’t been able to pick up the scoring once opponents make adjustments. It was much better in the second half against Missouri State, but UALR has to get going sooner.

3. Reserve clause. UALR has been able to get off to a good start, but the second teamers haven’t kept it going. UALR needs some big minutes from freshman Michael Javes on the inside -- not necessarily scoring, but in shot blocking, shot altering and rebounding.

Vegas Says
The line’s already moving this morning. It was Oral Roberts by 7.5 and now is ORU by 8 points. Again, UALR has not been a Las Vegas favorite in any game this season.

  • CBS Sports line (7-2): ORU 69, UALR 63
  • Jeff Sagarin (6-3): ORU 74, UALR 72
  • The Sports Network (6-3): Not in yet
  • Real Time RPI (5-4): ORU 70, UALR 68
  • Combo: ORU 71, UALR 68

UALR point guard D'Andre Williams has gone 81 game minutes without a turnover


D'Andre Williams
This probably isn’t a record. I’m sure many have gone longer. But for a point guard who handles the ball as much as UALR’s D’Andre Williams does, it’s really impressive.

Williams had 6 assists without a turnover in Saturday’s loss to Missouri State. This came on the heels of 10 assists and 0 turnovers in last week’s victory over Philander Smith. Those amazing efforts came just after the SMU game when Williams had 3 assists and 8 turnovers. He had 7 of those turnovers in the first half and the eighth two minutes into the second half. He then played the final 23 minutes (game went to overtime) without another turnover.

Going into Monday night’s game against Oral Roberts, Williams has played the past 81 game minutes without a turnover. That's two complete games worth of minutes without giving it away.

No doubt his assist total would be higher in those games if UALR was shooting a higher percentage from the field. But it’s impressive none-the-less.

And it’s about as effective as a point guard can be.

Up next: UALR hosts Oral Roberts Monday night


Oral Roberts (6-3)
at UALR (3-7)
7 p.m. Monday
Jack Stephens Center
I’m not so sure Oral Roberts isn’t the most talented team UALR has faced this season. OK. Maybe the Golden Eagles are not on Michigan State’s level, but they are a very experienced team.

Want proof?

Reserves unable to keep pace in UALR loss to Missouri State

It was pretty easy to see where the game changed in Saturday’s loss to Missouri State. Freshman post player Michael Javes was unable to do much with Missouri State’s Caleb Patterson. Javes entered the game in a 16-16 tie in the first half. By the time he exited, UALR was down 28-22 and never recovered.

Most plus/minus ratings weren’t awful on Saturday. The starting lineup averaged a -2.

In limited minutes, Ben Dillard was best in limited action at +2. UALR outscored Missouri State 24-22 in Dillard’s minutes. The other starters were:
  • Taggart Lockhart: 41-41 (even)
  • Will Neighbour: 52-56 (-4)
  • D’Andre Williams: 54-58 (-4)
  • Courtney Jackson: 44-48 (-4)
The game slipped with the few minutes played by the reserves. Chuck Guy was a -10, Javes a -6, Reggie Fondre a -6, Tramar Sutherland a -4 and Eric Lawton a -4.

Report card: Inability to get to the free throw line costs UALR vs. Missouri State

Revisiting the Burn The Horse keys to victory from Saturday's game against Missouri State.
  1. Better start. UALR jumped out to a nine-point lead in the first 10 minutes on Saturday, but the Trojans couldn’t sustain it. That might have even been deceiving. If Neighbour hadn’t scored 13 of the first 16 points, UALR would have likely been behind. And when Missouri State upped its pressure on Neighbour, UALR went into an offensive lull. The result was a nine-point Bears lead at the half. Grade: B-
  2. Turnovers and Rebounds. Turnovers were a major plus. UALR had only eight in the game. Rebounding wasn’t as solid. UALR held the early rebound edge, but couldn’t sustain. The result left Missouri State with a 29-25 rebounding edge. Grade: B-
  3. Toe the line. It was listed as Key No. 3, but it probably should have been at the top of the list. UALR needed to put fouls on Missouri State and score easy points at the free throw line in the process. Missouri State went 22 of 28 at the free-throw line while UALR went just 9 of 14. That was the difference on Saturday. Grade: F

UALR Gameday: Trojans hope to cut teeth as Missouri State visits


Missouri State (4-3)
at UALR (3-6)
4:30 p.m. today
Jack Stephens Center
Vegas Says: MSU by 7.5
The young Trojans continue to teethe through the early part of this schedule. They've done some gnawing so far. But at some point, they’re going to start biting. If today’s the day, UALR will have to reverse the current trends. That includes some of its early-season struggles and it’s all-time struggles against Missouri State.

Up next: UALR hosts Missouri State on Saturday afternoon


Missouri State (4-3)
at UALR (3-6)
4:30 p.m. Saturday
Jack Stephens Center
Most have been more than patient with the young UALR team this season. Despite a 3-6 record, the schedule hasn’t been easy. And the potential of some of the young talent has been easy to spot.

At some point potential has to turn into results. It’s time for this young team to grow up.

Dillard shows potential as UALR's missing shooter


Ben Dillard
It’s way to early to pass judgment either way on freshman Ben Dillard’s ability as a three-point threat for UALR. But recent trends show a lot of promise.

Take a look at the season statistics. UALR is shooting just 27.3 percent from the three-point line as a team and Dillard is right in the middle of it. He’s 4 of 14 from the three-point arc on what so far has been a poor-shooting team.

Plenty of UALR opponents in action last night on TV

For UALR fans, there was a lot of interesting basketball on TV last night and I'm sure the DVR at the Jack Stephens Center was on overdrive. Four future UALR opponents were on TV last night. Well, at least they were on DirecTV at the BTH headquarters:

Much different tuneups for UALR, Missouri State before Saturday

UALR and Missouri State couldn't have gone in more opposite directions as they prepare for Saturday's meeting at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.

More from UALR signee John Gillon of Houston Strake Jesuit

He had 38 in this game played in a tournament in Sacramento, Calif.

UALR players rally plus/minus marks in victory over Philander


Players who have been getting bigger minutes of late didn’t get much of an opportunity in Tuesday’s 102-59 victory over Philander Smith. While most couldn’t pad their stats, everyone padded their plus/minus rating.

UALR passes test in rout of Philander Smith

A look back at the Burn The Horse Keys to Victory from Tuesday's 102-59 victory over Philander Smith:
Freshman Michael Javes
had 12 points.
  1. Take it serious: UALR took control from the start of the game and was never seriously challenged. There was a first-half lull that allowed Philander Smith to cut the halftime deficit to 21 points, but the Trojans came back in the second half and did what had to be done. Grade: A-
  2. Turnovers and rebounds: UALR dominated rebounding 45-24, but the Trojans only had 11 offensive rebounds. Then again, when you go 41 of 66 from the field there aren’t that many opportunities. Of the 25 missed shots, UALR had 11 offensive boards. That’s pretty solid. However, 14 turnovers is still too many. Grade: B
  3. Develop confidence: It certainly didn’t come from the three-point line. Out there, UALR was only 4 of 20 on Tuesday. But Coach Steve Shields was able to play everyone at least 12 minutes and everyone except Reggie Fondren scored. Even better, the next lowest scorer was Will Neighbour with seven points. Pretty much everyone has to feel good about their effort. That will breed confidence. Grade: A.

Watch UALR Coach Steve Shields' postgame comments

Watch UALR's postgame comments.

UALR Live Blog: Trojans rip Philander Smith

59     102

Final-UALR 102, Philander 59
Lawton 15; Tag 13, Mike 12, CJ, Ben & Chuck 10. Brown had 22, only 4 in second half.
UALR 62 percent; 27 assists, 14 turnovers; 45-24 rebound advantage

UALR Gameday: Former WKU guard leads Philander vs. Trojans


Philander Smith (2-6)
vs. UALR (2-6)
5:15 tonight, JSC
Vegas says: No line
There’s no way to know what to expect from Philander Smith. They don’t update their Web site with stories, scores and statistics. And most of their opponents don’t either.

We’ve been able to determine that the Panthers are 2-6 on the season with victories over Central Arkansas and Southern Arkansas. Philander Smith is coming off a 92-81 loss to Lyon College on Dec. 2.

UALR fails to match 3 of 4 keys in loss to SMU


Ben Dillard went 2 for 4 from
three-point range on Sunday.
Just wanted to check back in on Sunday’s BTH Keys to Winning to see how we did.
  1. Limit Nyakundi. For most of the game, this definitely happened. However, allowing him to shoot two open threes in overtime washed away the fine effort against him in the first 40 minutes. Neighbour’s leaving him unguarded for a crushing three-pointer late put the Trojans away. Fail.
  2. Get Neighbour on track: It started out great. But Neighbour only attempted two shots after halftime. He had a very nice game with the exception of turnovers. Fail.
  3. Find a shooter: Ben Dillard did a nice job starting at the two guard. We’d like to see more of him. Check.
  4. Win turnovers and rebounds. Rebounds. Check. Turnovers. Epic Fail.
UALR found out on Sunday that it’s a 40-minute game (or in this case 45).

SMU press derails UALR momentum; turnovers crush Trojans


Taggart Lockhart works against the
SMU press
The game’s momentum swung in the first half just after UALR’s 17-0 run put the Trojans up 9-5 with 1:57 before halftime. SMU’s Jeremiah Samarrippas ended the run with a three-pointer, but the Trojans quickly answered with a three-pointer from Ben Dillard for a 22-8 lead. It forced SMU Coach Matt Doherty to call his second timeout of the half. And he made a change in defensive philosophy.

Freshman Lockhart gets back to even for season in UALR loss

Sunday’s overtime loss to SMU really was a team loss. No player finished better than +3 in the BTH plus/minus ratings. No player also finished below -6 on the day.

Freshman Taggart Lockhart earned his first start of his collegiate career and turned in the best mark of the day. UALR outscored SMU 33-30 in Lockhart’s minutes to make him a +3 for the game. That also boosted Lockhart to Even Steven for the season in his 89 minutes of action.

Youthful UALR struggling to put opponents away

The bottom line remains that until this young team figures out  a way to put away an opponent, it's going to continue to be a long season. We saw a lot of really good things from young players like Chuck Guy, Will Neighbour, Taggart Lockhart and Ben Dillard today.We also saw each make crucial mistakes at the point in time in which UALR couldn't afford them.

UALR live blog: SMU Mustangs top UALR in overtime

69. 63

SMU 69, UALR 63

This team has to learn to close these games out

Watch UALR signee John Gillon catch fire for Strake Jesuit

There's no guarantees when players make the jump from high school to college basketball. But it appears UALR has some quality signees this fall, including Houston Strake Jesuit's John Gillon. He got 21 points in the second half of this game.

UALR Gameday: Trojans desperate for victory as they host SMU

SMU (4-3) at UALR (2-5)
2 p.m. Sunday
Vegas: SMU by 1
It’s difficult to imagine UALR starting the same lineup it used to begin Tuesday’s loss to Northwestern State. The Trojans went with three 5-10 guards (D’Andre Williams, Chuck Guy and Eric Lawton) to try to handle the pressure Northwestern State brings.

SMU captains up before game at UALR on Sunday

2 p.m. Sunday
No idea what's up with the timing of this, but SMU Coach Matt Doherty named a fourth team captain for the Mustangs on Saturday, one day before they take on UALR. For those scoring at home, that's four captains on a 15-member team.

Rodney Clinkscales was added to the captaincy on Saturday. He joins Robert Nyakundi, Jeremiah Samarrippas and Shawn Williams as the Mustangs' captains.

"Great leadership is always important and becomes even more impactful with this many new faces," says Doherty. "Rodney has earned this distinction with his preparation and performance this year. He really showed his leadership when he missed three games with an injury, but was still doing everything he could to help each day."

Clinkscales is averaging 4.3 points and shooting 41.7 percent from 3-point range (5-12) in four games. He suffered a right foot injury in the season-opener and missed the next three games. He is now fifth at SMU in career 3-point percentage (.401, 67-167) and 21st in 3-point field goals (67).

UALR hosts SMU at 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Jack Stephens Center.

Smith expected to return for SMU against UALR

2 p.m. Sunday, JSC
SMU says they expect redshirt freshman forward Leslee Smith to see his first action as a Mustang on Sunday against UALR. Smith redshirted last year and has been rehabilitating a torn right ACL. Here's what they said about Smith when he signed with the Mustangs out of Christian Life in the Dallas area:

Leslee Smith (6-7, 245) is a forward for coach Carlos Wilson at Christian Life Center Academy in Humble, Texas. Smith is originally from the British Virgin Islands and helped the BVI National Team to a silver medal at the 2009 FIBA Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Championships held on Tortola, BVI
"Leslee is a very versatile player. He can defend several positions and can really rebound the basketball. When I saw him play this summer, I knew immediately that he would fit in with our style of play. He is currently playing for one of the best prep teams in the nation and I expect him to continue to have a great year."

Denver avoids Utah State chant in big win for Sun Belt

I don't think Utah State is quite as good as they've been in past years, but Denver's victory over the Aggies last night was really impressive.

Denver went into Logan, Utah, and beat Utah State by 13 points to get to 5-1 on the season. Utah State had its 33-game home-court winning streak snapped. Of all the places UALR has been in the time I've been around, Utah State's atmosphere is one of the most impressive. It's no wonder they win big there. Check out this video of their fans during normal pregame warmups.

To Denver's credit, they didn't have to witness this last night. This is the Utah State fans when they think they've got it wrapped up.

Utah State students might not have done it anyway. Apparently, they were protesting a crackdown on their behavior. They sat silently during the early parts of the game. That had to shake up the home squad and probably helped Denver get off to a good start.
But give Denver credit too. Denver has traditionally won big at home and struggled mightily on the road. That's been their downfall both in the conference season and in the Sun Belt Tournament. There was no sign of that last night as they had their way with Utah State. Check out DU Coach Joe Scott after the game:

By the way, Denver also beat Saint Mary's last week. They appear to be for real this year in the Sun Belt.