BURN THE HORSE
In control for most of the afternoon, UALR’s youngsters tightened up down the stretch. But the Trojans did enough to hold of Tulsa 72-65 on Saturday afternoon at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.
UALR (8-4), the youngest team in all of Division I according to StatsSheet.com, improved to 7-0 at home and beat its second Conference USA opponent this season. Tulsa (6-4) loses for the second time in two visits all time to the Jack Stephens Center.
Freshman point guard John Gillon led UALR with 17 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal. UALR’s other point guard freshman Josh Hagins had 11 points, 5 rebounds, an assist and 2 steals. Freshman James White also had 12 points while sophomore Michael Javes played some of his best minutes of the season, finishing with 7 points and 5 rebounds.
UALR wraps up nonconference play when it hosts Louisiana Tech on Monday.
|UALR's Josh Hagins|
It was a contentious game throughout with both UALR Coach Steve Shields and Tulsa Coach Danny Manning frustrated with Saturday night (afternoon) Sun Belt officiating. It also featured a couple of hard, intentional fouls called against Tulsa on fast breaks by UALR.
UALR never trailed and has only trailed during one home game in the second half this season (Troy). UALR Coach Steve Shields went for a slightly more veteran lineup, inserting sophomore’s Ben Dillard and Taggart Lockhart. Lockhart nailed a three-pointer in the opening minute, a sign of things to come. UALR made 8 of 14 three-pointers in the game, including 3 of 3 from Gillon.
But the game was ultimately won – and nearly lost – at the free throw line. UALR made 26 of 40 (60 percent) while Tulsa made 16 of 28 (57 percent).
UALR’s misses kept the Trojans from further expanding their lead to more than 10-12 points most of the second half. It also left the door open for a late Tulsa run that saw the Golden Hurricane cut the lead to 64-60 on two free throws by Scottie Haralson with 2:45 left.
Hagins made a pair of free throws, then made 1 of 2 for a 67-60 lead. And after a missed three-pointer by James Woodard, Hagins made 1 of 2 again for a 68-60 lead.
Tulsa got no closer than 70-65 with 29 seconds left. But Gillon made 1 of 2 free throws for a six point lead and Hagins secured a rebound to put the game out of reach.