UALR's Jackson turns liability into strength for Trojans

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What was once his biggest liability has turned into a strength for UALR senior Courtney Jackson.
Click to enlarge
Check out Jackson's free throw percentage in the Sun Belt Conference rankings. He ranks sixth in Sun Belt games at 82.6 percent and is just behind teammate Will Neighbour, who is shooting 82.8 percent.

Jackson made 5 of 6 free throws last night against Denver and is now 19 of 23 in nine Sun Belt games.

He was a career 47 percent free throw shooter coming into this season but has been more than solid since mid-December.

UALR Rewind: Trojans' lineup flexibility pays off in victory over Denver

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One quality of this UALR team people should admire is its flexibility.

Take last night’s 64-57 victory over Denver, a team that runs a Princeton-style offense, plays physical, hacking defense and uses its quickness at both ends to cause problems.

It’s not a matchup that works well for UALR players like Will Neighbour and Michael Javes, who have been very good against other Sun Belt opponents. Javes is tied for team best at +43 in Sun Belt play.

So UALR Coach Steve Shields went small, playing four guards with Courtney Jackson much of the time. He also utilized Marlon Louzeiro a bit in spots while keeping Javes and Neighbour on the bench.

Chuck Guy and Courtney Jackson finished at +4 to lead the starters. Guy didn’t score a point but he played hard on the defensive end and made a plus contribution. But the best performance came off the bench from Ben Dillard, who was a +14. Louzieiro was +9 and Reggie Fondren +6. UALR outscored Denver 39-25 with Dillard on the court.

Louzeiro and Dillard were a combined +24 in two games against Denver this season.

Here’s the starters:

  • Courtney Jackson: +4 (53-49)
  • Chuck Guy: +4 (43-39)
  • D’Andre Williams Even (52-52)
  • Will Neighbour: -5 (27-32)
  • Michael Javes: -6 (18-24)

Big start, lack of turnovers helps UALR overcome rebounding, free throws

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57  64

Pondering when the last time we got stuck in a Stephens Center parking lot traffic jam while compiling tonight’s Burn The Horse UALR Rewind.

Keys to victory
BIG START Nice first-half effort for UALR and it would have looked even better if Denver’s Brian Stafford didn’t hit a tough three-pointer at the buzzer to cut the UALR halftime lead to 29-24. Grade: A

BOARD IT: UALR and Denver each had 28 rebounds on Saturday. Grade: D

TAKE CARE UALR had 11 assists with only 8 turnovers while Denver had 9 assists and 17 turnovers. Grade: A.

FREE TIME The good news was that UALR went to the free throw line 35 times to Denver’s 15. The bad news is that UALR made only 22 of those 35. Had UALR made free throws, the second half wouldn’t have even been close. Grade: B

Vegas, baby
Denver was a four-point favorite, making UALR a spread beater in nine of their past 10 outings as an underdog.

Predictions
Everyone’s a loser today. Omni Rankings (11-6) continues to hold a slight edge over Jeff Sagarin (14-8) and CBS Sports line (14-8).

Courtney Jackson
Stat of the game
10 of 21: UALR’s free throw shooting in the second half, the only reason that game was close. Even good free throw shooters were missing. Chuck Guy missed four, D’Andre Williams missed three and Ben Dillard and Taggart Lockhart each missed two.

Always negative
28-28: UALR and Denver each had 28 rebounds. That’s not nearly a good enough effort on the boards for the Trojans.

Keep it positive
28-5: That’s the margin UALR outscored Denver in bench points.

Player of the game
Courtney Jackson. Denver couldn’t guard him. Jackson finished with 13 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. He made 4 of 5 field-goal attempts and 5 of 6 free throw attempts while playing 35 minutes.

UALR defeats Denver in Sun Belt first place battle

UALR claimed sole possession of first place in the Su Belt's West Division with a 64-57 victory over Denver before a nice crowd at the Jack Stephens Center.

More to come.

UALR Live Tweetcast: Trojans host Denver in West Division showdown at 7 p.m.

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It's not really winner-take-all tonight. It's more like winner-take-control of the Sun Belt Conference's West Division. Both UALR and Denver enter tonight's 7 p.m. game at the Jack Stephens Center with identical 6-2 conference records.

The Burn The Horse Live Tweetcast fires up at 7 p.m. tonight live from the Jack Stephens Center. We'll have Burn The Horse updates as well as those from Denver and UALR throughout the game.

UALR Gameday: Sun Belt West lead on the line as Trojans host Denver

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Denver at UALR7 p.m. tonight
Jack Stephens Center
Vegas says: Denver by 4

Michael Javes has the potential to be a big X-factor tonight.

He’s become a solid presence in the paint for UALR since the start of the new year. That’s quite a change from the last UALR-Denver game when Javes didn’t even get in the game.

At the time, the word was that Denver was a bad matchup for him. But he was forced back into the rotation by the shoulder injury to Will Neighbour during that Denver game. And he’s responded.

It will be interesting to see if he’s made himself a better matchup for Denver in the past three weeks.

BTH Keys
Tonight’s keys aren’t really any different from the keys the last time UALR met Denver on Dec. 31.

BIG START: Denver is a tremendously difficult team to come back on because they use their offense effectively to bleed the clock. But the Pioneers also aren’t necessarily a great comeback team. That makes the first half key tonight.

BOARD IT: Denver gets outrebounded by 5.1 per game and the Trojans held a 34-25 rebounding advantage in the first meeting. It will take a similar effort tonight.

TAKE CARE: Denver is not a big-time pressing or even pressure defense team. The Pioneers play solid half court defense and force opponents into unforced errors. UALR can’t afford those type of turnovers tonight.

FREE TIME:  Denver is a solid free throw shooting team at 78.8 percent. The Pioneers are also really efficient on offense and you can’t afford to give them free chances to shoot with the clock stopped.We've seen Denver play some chippy games of late, something that plays into the inexperience of Saturday night Sun Belt officials.  In the last meeting, UALR needs to beat Denver at the line. In the last meeting, Denver went there 28 times. That's too many.

Vegas, baby
Denver is a four-point favorite over UALR tonight. The Trojans have beat the spread eight of the past nine times they’ve been underdogs.

Predictions
UALR’s victory at Denver apparently means nothing. Nor does Denver’s 0 for lifetime record in games played in Little Rock (or North Little Rock). Everyone’s going with the Pioneers tonight:

  • Omni Rankings (11-5): Denver 61, UALR 58
  • Jeff Sagarin (14-7): Denver 79, UALR 73
  • CBS Sports line (14-7): Denver 66, UALR 62
  • The Sports Network (13-8): Denver 68, UALR 62
  • Real Time RPI (12-9): Denver 66, UALR 65
  • Combination: Denver 68, UALR 64

Status of Denver's Rob Lewis unclear going into Saturday's game

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It’s not clear whether Denver will have post man Rob Lewis for Saturday’s showdown with UALR.

Lewis, a 6-7 senior who missed last season with a back injury, had started the first 20 games of the season, averaging 7 points and 2.8 rebounds. But Lewis was absent from the lineup for Denver’s victory over Arkansas State on Thursday.

Denver is being tight-lipped about Lewis’ status. They don’t even mention it in their game notes. But we’ve been able to determine it was a “sore left  hip” that kept him out of action on Thursday.

Williams back to even, Javes on the plus side for UALR

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It seems like we ask this every game. How valuable has UALR point guard D’Andre Williams been?

Well, UALR was -43 in non-conference play when Williams was on the court. They are +43 in Sun Belt play with Williams on the court. Of course, they’re also 6-2 in Sun Belt play.

Williams got back to even for the season with a stellar +28 in Thursday’s 75-50 victory over South Alabama at the Jack Stephens Center. Getting to the positive side for the season was Michael Javes, who was +25 on Thursday. Javes is a team-best +49 in Sun Belt games.

Here’s the UALR starters:

  • D’Andre Williams: +28 (50-22)
  • Michael Javes: +25 (55-30)
  • Chuck Guy: +25 (46-21)
  • Courtney Jackson: +23 (43-20)
  • Will Neighbour: +17 (32-15)

UALR hosts Denver in biggest game at Stephens Center since 2009

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Denver at UALR
7 p.m. Saturday
Jack Stephens Center
When UALR hosts Denver on Saturday at the Jack Stephens Center, it will be the biggest game that facility has hosted since Feb. 19, 2009.

UALR (9-13) and Denver (16-5) are tied atop the Sun Belt Conference's West Division with identical 6-2 records. The winner of tonight's game will hold sole possession of first place with seven conference games remaining.

That 2009 game didn't work out so well for UALR. The Trojans entered the game at 19-6 and 12-2 in Sun Belt play while Western Kentucky was 17-8 and 11-3. UALR got off to a great start that night before Stevie Moore walked off the bench and went to the locker room at one point during the first half and ended up sitting in the student section for a while. He was allowed to return to the bench in the second half and even re-entered the game late after foul trouble plagued the Trojans. UALR eventually lost 78-69.

That loss was costly because UALR and Western Kentucky finished with identical 15-3 conference records. WKU was the designated NIT team because it swept the season series with the Trojans. And when UALR was ousted in the semifinals of the Sun Belt Tournament, the Trojans missed the postseason.

UALR beat Denver earlier this season. That means the Trojans would hold a tiebreaker over the Pioneers with a victory tonight.

UALR Rewind: Trojans coast to victory over USA

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Pondering what it will take to get a big crowd out at the Jack Stephens Center on Saturday as we compile tonight’s Burn The Horse UALR Rewind.

BTH Keys
SHOOT IT: UALR didn’t hold South Alabama to less than 40 percent. But they did hold the Jags to exactly 40 percent. And if that last-second bomb hadn’t gone in, it would have been less than 40 percent. Meanwhile, UALR shot 48 percent from the field and 46 percent from three-point range. Grade: A.

WILL OR WON’T: Definitely Will. Will Neighbour was back in the starting lineup. He made only 2 of 8 field goals but he went 4 of 4 from the free throw line and had two blocked shots. And because of the score, he only had to play 19 minutes. Grade: B+.

WHERE’S CHUCK?: Chuck Guy went 3 of 9 from the field, including 3 of 7 from three-point range. He also missed a free throw but he had 4 assists without a turnover. Grade: B+.

REBOUND RUBIT: UALR fought a good rebounding South Alabama team to a 30-30 stalemate. Augustine Rubit did have a solid night with 22 points and 7 rebounds, but the Jags got little else. Grade: B-.

Vegas, baby
UALR was a 2.5-point favorite going in, making them a winner. The Trojans are now 2-2 as a Vegas favorite this season. It will be interesting to see Saturday’s line. We’re expecting Denver to be a sizeable favorite.

Predictions
Omni Rankings, Jeff Sagarin and Real Time RPI are winners, CBS Sportsline and The Sports Network are losers. Sagarin and CBS are atop the standings with 14-7 records.

Stat of the game
5: All five UALR starters (Jackson, Javes, Neighbour, Williams and Guy) hit a three-pointer on Thursday.

Always negative
Augustine Rubit had a big game with 22 points and 7 rebounds for USA.

Keep it positive
The progression of Michael Javes continues. He had 8 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocked shots on Thursday. It will be interesting to see him on Saturday. In the last meeting with Denver he didn’t even play.

Player of the game
Courtney Jackson with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal. He went 5 of 7 from the field including 2 of 2 from three-point range.

Up next
West Division showdown vs. Denver on Saturday at the Jack.

UALR dominates South Alabama to remain atop Sun Belt West standings

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50     75


UALR turned in its most complete performance of the season on Thursday in a dominating 75-50 victory over South Alabama at the Jack Stephens Center.

The victory keeps UALR (9-13, 6-2 Sun Belt) top the West Division standings halfway through conference play. It also sets up a showdown with Denver on Saturday with the winner holding sole possession of first place.

D’Andre Williams had a game-high 14 points for UALR. Courtney Jackson added 12 and Will Neighbour 10 as the Trojans started a bigger lineup with Neighbour, Jackson and Michael Javes.

Other than a quick 2-0 lead, South Alabama never led as the Trojans shot 48 percent from the field and 46 percent from three-point range. The lead grew to as many as 29 points in the second half with all five starters, including Chuck Guy, hitting at least one three-pointer.

Williams and Jackson went 2 for 2, Neighbour 2 for 6, Guy 3 for 7 and Javes 1 for 2. Javes also had eight rebounds and 2 blocked shots.

South Alabama entered the game winless at home but 2-1 in Sun Belt road games. The Jags were led by Augustine Rubit’s 22 points and 7 rebounds but were never really in the game.

UALR Live Tweetcast: Trojans host South Alabama tonight

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South Alabama sure has put a muzzle on its use of Twitter this year. How we long for the days of Gary Redus' providing us days worth of material.

Doesn't matter. You have to learn to play with adversity. The Burn The Horse Live Tweetcast for tonight's UALR-South Alabama game is up and running. We're following the maroon and silver and the red, white and blue leading up to and during the game at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.

UALR Gameday: Trojans "really need" victory as South Alabama visits JSC

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South Alabama
at UALR

7 p.m. tonight
Jack Stephens Center
Vegas says: UALR by 2.5

We don’t like the term “must-win” game. As UALR enters tonight’s game with South Alabama it’s not a must-win game After all, UALR could lose tonight and run the table the rest of the way and still be perfectly fine.

However, tonight is a “really need to win badly” game. Or a “really would be helpful to win” game. UALR has lost two-straight Sun Belt Conference games and is in a three-way tie atop the West Division standings. Any home losses the rest of the season would be killers.

Tonight’s BTH Keys to Victory
SHOOT IT: UALR has been much better this season when it shoots at least 40 percent from the field. South Alabama shoots 45 percent in victories and 36 percent in losses. If UALR gets to 40 percent and keeps South Alabama to less than 40 percent, the Trojans chances for success go way up.

WILL OR WONT: It’s obvious UALR sophomore Will Neighbour is still hurting from a separated shoulder suffered late last month. But the Trojans don’t have a lot of other options down low. UALR needs some points and rebounds from Neighbour.

WHERE’S CHUCK?: UALR’s Chuck Guy has been inconsistent throughout his sophomore season. UALR doesn’t need Guy to score 20 points (though we’d take it) but they do need opponents to see him as a threat. And we want to see the positive energy that Guy can bring infect his teammates on the court.

REBOUND RUBIT: South Alabama’s Augustine Rubit is a beast. UALR’s got to fight him to a stalemate, especially when it comes to rebounding. If the Trojans allow Rubit to have a big double-double, it’s going to be tough to win.

Vegas, baby
Bad news. UALR is a 2.5-point favorite? Why? Because the Trojans are just 1-2 as the favorite this season

Predictions
Gotta wonder who at CBS has gone anti-Trojan. They pick against UALR every game. Then again, CBS leads the BTH Predictions standings. The Sports Network also goes with USA, saying "Without an inside presence for UALR, South Alabama's Rubit should be able to bounce back and put in enough points to bring the Trojans down.":
  • CBS Sports line (14-6): South Alabama 69, UALR 66
  • Omni Rankings (10-5): UALR 63, South Alabama 58
  • Jeff Sagarin (13-7): UALR 72, South Alabama 63
  • The Sports Network (13-7): South Alabama 69, UALR 64
  • Real Time RPI (11-9): UALR 69, South Alabama 67
  • Combination: UALR 67, South Alabama 65


Another nice game for UALR signee John Gillon

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Here's the story from the Houston Chronicle that features UALR signee John Gillon. And they've got a nice photo of him as well.
http://www.chron.com/sports/highschool/article/Strake-Jesuit-gets-defensive-in-win-over-Seven-2684513.php

Wish South Alabama would go all out in embracing USA

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Nobody asked me. Nor do they care what I think. But I really wish South Alabama would go all-out with the USA theme on its uniforms.

USA is the best college acronym in the country. And they've got the perfect red, white and blue school colors.

A few years ago, the Jaguars had a uniform with "USA" on the front. I'm thinking it was black. And that's not exactly where I would go with it. If it were up to me, they'd go with the full-on USA Dream Team uniforms.

No doubt these are copyrighted. But a variation of these would look pretty sweet.

Up next: UALR hosts South Alabama on Thursday at the Jack

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South Alabama
at UALR

 7 p.m. Thursday
Jack Stephens Center

UALR hosts South Alabama on Thursday at the Jack Stephens Center in a game the Trojans need to win badly.

South Alabama is a team that got off to a great start in the non-conference play but has floundered in Sun Belt Conference play. But the Jags have potential and have been a very good team on the road this season. South Alabama comes in with a 4-3 road record, including 2-1 in the Sun Belt. That includes victories at LSU, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Louisiana-Lafayette and Troy.

Gone are many of the cast of Twitter-loving characters that populated last year’s squad that saw its season end in a loss to UALR on the auxiliary court at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

Augustine Rubit (left)
The Jaguars aren’t particularly big, but they’re athletic and have a +8 rebounding margin over their opponents. It starts with 6-6 sophomore Augustine Rubit, who averages 14.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He can shoot and rebound and get to the free throw line. He’s been there 96 times this season, 38 more than any other Jaguar.

Javier Carter is the other forward at 6-6 and averages 7.0 points and 5.1 rebounds. Carter is a shot-blocking machine with 56 coming into Thursday’s game.

Mychal Ammons has been a nice addition this year. The 6-5 freshman averages 7.6 points and 5.1 rebounds.

Trey Anderson, a 6-3 junior, has been starting. But we’re hearing he might give way to 5-8 junior Jose Diaz on Thursday. Diaz has only played in seven game and is averaging 1.4 points.

Freddie Goldstein
The other guard might be the guy with the most potential. Freddie Goldstein, a 5-10 junior, averages 10.8 points per game. He shoots a team best 37 percent from beyond the three-point line and has taken 66 more attempts than anyone else on the team. He’s also been feast or famine. He made 9 of 16 three-pointers in a 30-point game at Troy. He also went 0 of 10 from the field (0 of 5 from three) last time out against Middle Tennessee.

There’s similar size coming off the bench in 6-7 senior Antoine Lundy, 6-6 junior De Andre Hersey and 6-5 junior Wendell Wright. Lundy averages 8.6 points and 6.8 rebounds. Dallas Jones, a 6-4 sophomore, is the second best three-point shooter at 26 percent.

Scheduling issues aren't exclusive to Sun Belt schools

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BTH was accused of making excuses for UALR's loss to Western Kentucky on Saturday. But the bottom line is that you can't ignore the reality. Scheduling does make a difference.

And it apparently makes a difference in the SEC. At least they're getting on TV.

http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20120125/COLUMNISTS0315/301250023/David-Jones-ESPN-deal-hurting-SEC

UALR offering four for 24 specials for Thursday's game vs. South Alabama

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South Alabama
at UALR

7 p.m. Thursday
Jack Stephens Center
UALR is offering a special on Thursday night. Get four tickets, four hot dogs and four Pepsi drinks for the all-inclusive price of $24. Click the link below to print the coupon and bring it to the Jack Stephens Center Box Office.

The deal also works for Wednesday's UALR women's game vs. South Alabama.

4 for $24 coupon.

Thanks to UALR fans for a record-setting month at BTH

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Just want to say thank you to all the UALR fans for what is already a record-setting month at Burn The Horse.

When you start something like this and do it strictly in your spare time, you never know how it will be received or if anybody will even bother to look at it. This year's totals have been about 20 to 25 percent higher than last year's totals. But this month has been the most amazing month yet.

We've already topped the page views we received during March as the Trojans played in the NCAA Tournament. And there's still a week-and-a-half to go.

Thanks to the UALR administration and coaching staff for their support. And thanks to all of you for taking the time to read. Go Trojans!!!!!!

JS

Neighbour's injury still having an affect on UALR's production

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Will Neighbour has played four games since returning from a separated shoulder. And he was pretty decent in his first two games back. But he struggled this week against Louisiana-Lafayette and Western Kentucky. It's obvious he's still not anywhere near 100 percent.

It hurts because Neighbour had started to play so well in late December. Check out this graph of Neighbour's production.




NCAA Basketball Stats









Sun Belt scheduling puts some teams at competitive disadvantage

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UALR has been victimized by the Sun Belt Conference schedule two weeks in a row. It won’t be an issue for the Trojans again this year.

Last weekend, UALR had to play at Arkansas State less than 48 hours after playing a game at Monroe, La. While UALR was playing at Monroe, Arkansas State was resting at home. UALR was able to hold on down the stretch to win that one.

The same thing happened this week. While UALR played Louisiana-Lafayette on Thursday night, Western Kentucky sat at home. When they played on Saturday, UALR seemed to run out of gas late in a loss to the Hilltoppers. This game tipped off less than 40 hours after UALR left the court.

No clue why the Sun Belt Conference chooses to do this? There are an even number of conference teams and its unnecessary for them to have a conference gamedate off.

It was scheduled 18 times this year by the Sun Belt. On only one of those 18 did both teams have the previous Thursday off.

UALR will finally enjoy the advantage when it hosts Louisiana-Monroe on Feb. 4.

Of those 18 games, the resting team only has to travel one time. That already occurred as South Alabama had Dec. 29 off before playing at Middle Tennessee on Dec. 31.

The most victimized team is Western Kentucky, which will have to play a rested team four times this season. Arkansas State, Troy and Florida International  don’t have to play with that disadvantage at all.

UALR Rewind: Some good, some bad from Saturday's loss to WKU

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Pondering just how big a victory this would have been for the Trojans as we compile today‘s UALR Rewind. In the West Division, 6-1 is light years ahead of 5-2.

A look back at today’s keys:
SURVIVE: UALR did more than survive the first 10 minutes. The Trojans held the lead and kept the crowd at E.A. Diddle Arena from really getting into the game. Grade: A.

MAKE SOME SHOTS:  UALR goes 22 of 51 from the field for 43 percent. But Chuck Guy was just 1 of 8 and Will Neighbour just 2 of 5. Everyone else was OK, but those two hurt. Grade: C.

POINT GUARD: D’Andre Williams had 16 points, but he was a virtual no-show in the first half. He played 36 minutes but it seemed like he wasn’t a contributor for large portions of the game. However, that eight-point run that gave UALR a late five-point lead was amazing. Grade: B.

REBOUND: UALR outrebounded Western Kentucky 33-31, a nice change from recent efforts. Grade: B.

Vegas, baby
UALR was a one-point favorite (it was a pick’em in some spots), making the Trojans a Vegas loser for the second consecutive time. UALR is now 1-2 this season as a favorite.

Stat of the game
16-8: Western Kentucky went 13 of 16 at the free throw line while UALR went just 6 of 8.

Always negative
UALR had just nine assists to go with 17 turnovers.

Keep it positive
Courtney Jackson made 2 of 2 free throws as part of his 14 points. Jackson has evolved into one of UALR’s best free throw shooters.

Player of the game
UALR freshman Michael Javes continues to evolve. He had 6 points, 14 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals.

Up next
UALR returns home to face South Alabama on Thursday.

UALR runs out of gas in 65-53 loss to WKU

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Call it an excuse if you want to. One team played Thursday night and had to ride a bus seven hours on Friday. One hadn't played in a week.

UALR led for most of the game's first 34 minutes but ran out of gas late in a 65-53 loss to Western Kentucky on Saturday afternoon.

UALR played Thursday night against Louisiana-Lafayette while Western Kentucky didn't have a mid-week game.

It drops UALR to 4-2 in the Sun Belt and is the Trojans first road loss in conference play this season.

UALR Live Tweetcast: Trojans travel to Western Kentucky at 1 p.m.

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We're following those in red and maroon for today's matchup between UALR and Western Kentucky at 1 p.m. at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green. The game can be seen live on Fox College Sports. But for those looking for a little bit more, be sure to check out today's Burn The Horse Live Tweetcast.

UALR Gameday: Trojans hope to avoid ambush at WKU today

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UALR vs. WKU
1 p.m. today
Bowling Green, Ky.
Vegas Says: UALR by 1
Who knows what to expect from Western Kentucky today? They lost their coach and hadn’t responded very well under Interim Coach Ray Harper through the first half on Saturday at Denver. Then they picked up the intensity and seemed to find something in the second half at Denver.

Now they’ve had a week to crank that up before today’s game against UALR.

It feels like an ambush. Expect WKU to play as well as they have all season.

But can the same be said for UALR? UALR just put together its worst effort of the season in a 19-point home loss to Louisiana-Lafayette on Thursday. Steve Shields’ teams are known for their fight and resolve.

The players had a six-hour bus ride on Friday to think a lot about that game and what they could have done differently. Can they use the negative energy from Thursday’s effort to take their toughness to the next level today? They'll need to.

Don’t forget, Fox College Sports (DirecTV 617) is televising today’s game.

BTH Keys to Victory
SURVIVE: UALR has to survive the first 10 minutes today. WKU is playing under a new coach who is buying pizza for the students in their first game back on campus since the break. And WKU spent this week toughening up at practice (they didn’t play Thursday). The pressure’s going to be coming from everywhere early in the game and UALR has to handle it.

MAKE SOME SHOTS: UALR missed 50 field-goal attempts on Thursday against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Trojans are 7-5 this season when they shoot at least 40 percent and Western Kentucky is 0-8 when they shoot less than 40 percent.

POINT GUARD: When D’Andre Williams plays well, UALR generally plays well. D’Andre Williams needs to rebound from Thursday’s struggles.

REBOUND: Rashad Jones-Jennings used to tell me that in most cases rebounding is about “want to.” That is the guy who wants to the most gets the 50-50 balls. UALR can’t get killed on the glass today and expect to win.

Vegas, baby
It's a pick'em in several spots but UALR enters as a consensus one-point favorite on the road today. UALR has only been favored twice this season, beating Louisiana-Monroe and losing to Louisiana-Lafayette.

Predictions

Appears most are going with Western Kentucky to win a close one.
  • Jeff Sagarin (13-6): UALR 70, WKU 65
  • Omni Rankings (9-5): WKU 65, UALR 62
  • CBS Sports line (13-6): WKU 68, UALR 66
  • The Sports Network (12-7):
  • Real Time RPI (10-9): WKU 69, UALR 65
  • Combination: WKU 67, UALR 66

UALR lands game on ESPN2

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ESPN2 has picked up the UALR-Middle Tennessee game on Feb. 11 at the Murphy Center in Murfreesboro. Gametime will now be noon.

Middle Tennessee currently leads the Sun Belt's East Division while UALR is tied for the West Division lead.

Read UALR's release here:
http://www.ualrtrojans.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=7400&ATCLID=205365357

And Middle Tennessee's release here:
http://www.goblueraiders.com/content.cfm/id/57888

UALR signee Stetson Billings scores 57 points in Thursday's victory

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We haven’t heard much about UALR signee Stetson Billings from Strong, Ark., this year. That changed in a big way last night.

Billings, who signed with UALR in November, had 57 points last night in Strong’s 89-65 victory over Bearden. The 57 points are likely a school record and makes Billings the first Union County player to score 50 since James Anderson, who did it three times against Bearden. Anderson went on to star at Oklahoma State.

Billings will be a freshman at UALR next year.

WKU Coach Ray Harper previews the matchup with UALR

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Here's what WKU Coach Ray Harper had to say this week as his Hilltoppers prepare to play UALR. WKU had the entire week off while UALR played Thursday night.

UALR Rewind: Trojans fail in test against Louisiana-Lafayette

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Pondering how glad I was that my real job kept me from attending last night’s game while compiling the UALR Rewind.

Also wondering what that bus ride to Bowling Green, Ky., must be like this morning.

Really, I can't say it better than Taggart Lockhart did on Twitter last night.







BTH Keys
Really Rebound: Not even close. UALR did have 16 offensive rebounds to Louisiana-Lafayette’s 12. But the Trojans got outrebounded 52-35 for the game, including 40-19 on defensive rebounds. I guess there were just a lot of opportunities because the Trojans missed 50 field-goal attempts on the night. Grade: F.

Point Power: D’Andre Williams had 6 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 turnovers, but UALR didn’t keep it close long enough for Louisiana-Lafayette to have to use Raymone Andrews opposite him. Andrew played just 11 minutes while Williams made 3 of 16 field-goal attempts. Grade: D.

Super Stalemate: Courtney Jackson played well but Michael Javes, Will Neighbour and Marlon Louzeiro were non-factors up front. And ULL’s J.J. Thomas came off the bench to have 12 points and 9 rebounds in 19 minutes. Grade: D.

Free time: ULL opponents get to the free throw line more than the Cajuns do. But UALR went 21 times to Louisiana-Lafayette’s 22 on Thursday. And when they got there, UALR made just 13 of 21. Taggart Lockhart, Chuck Guy and D’Andre Williams all missed two apiece.

Vegas, baby
UALR’s Las Vegas winning streak is over. The Trojans were a three-point favorite and lost as a favorite for the first time this season.

Stat of the game
50: UALR missed 50 field-goal attempts on Thursday. In contrast, ULL attempted only 51.

Always negative
Louisiana-Lafayette shot 56 percent in the first half to take a sizeable halftime lead.

Keep it positive
UALR forced Louisiana-Lafayette into 22 turnovers.

Player of the game
Courtney Jackson had 10 points and 5 rebounds in 31 minutes.

Up next
Saturday at Western Kentucky, 1 p.m. on Fox College Sports.

UALR routed by Louisiana-Lafayette for first Sun Belt Conference loss

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The Sun Belt home woes infected UALR on Thursday.

UALR was never really in it and get routed 68-49 by Louisiana-Lafayette. The loss was the first of the year in Sun Belt play for the Trojans, who are 5-1. ULL is now 4-2.

Sun Belt road teams had won 69 percent of the time in conference play going into Thursday's games. That number will go up after four of the five road teams won on Thursday night.

UALR Rewind and Plus/Minus updates as well as a preview of the short turn-around game against Western Kentucky coming up tomorrow on Burn The Horse.

UALR Live Tweetcast: Trojans host Louisiana-Lafayette tonight

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The exclusive Burn The Horse Live Tweetcast for tonight's matchup between UALR and Louisiana-Lafayette. We'll be Tweeting and following those Tweeting about tonight's game.

UALR Gameday: Trojans should be wary as Louisiana-Lafayette visits

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Louisiana-Lafayette (9-10)
vs. UALR (8-11)
7 p.m. tonight
Jack Stephens Center
Vegas says: UALR by 3
UALR has opened 5-0 in Sun Belt Conference play, including 4-0 on the road. The old saying is that if you split on the road and win all your home games you’re likely going to win the division. UALR already has its home split but has seven home games remaining. And in a year when Sun Belt road teams are winning 69 percent of the time, winning those seven home games won’t be an easy task.

It continues tonight as Louisiana-Lafayette (9-10, 3-2) visits UALR at 7 p.m. at the Jack Stephens Center.

Louisiana-Lafayette’s five games have all come against the East Division, making this their first West Division game.

Another interesting thing to keep an eye on. If this Tweet from Louisiana-Lafayette Coach Bob Marlin is accurate, the Ragin's didn't get into Little Rock until late last night. This was sent a little before 11 p.m. on Wednesday.


BTH Keys to Victory
1. Really Rebound. UALR has been really good in rebounding some of the time and really bad at other times. They got away with a poor rebounding effort on Saturday against Arkansas State. It’s difficult to see a path to victory tonight for the Trojans if the Ragin’ Cajuns dominate the glass. Louisiana-Lafayette has some size and outrebound their opponents by 2.6 for the season.

2. Point Power. We saw the value of UALR point guard D’Andre Williams when he was out on Saturday. Louisiana-Lafayette also has a solid point guard in Raymone Andrews. Andrews has four inches of height on Williams, but Williams is as quick as anybody in the Sun Belt.

3. Super Stalemate: We’ve seen a lot better game from UALR’s Michael Javes of late. And Will Neighbour is progressing after his shoulder injury. But Louisiana-Lafayette is big on the inside and they can score. J.J. Thomas isn’t even starting right now and he’s a front-line player in the Sun Belt. Kadeem Coleby is a load to deal with on the inside. And Darshawn McClellan put in 28 on Saturday against FIU. UALR needs to fight Louisiana-Lafayette’s bigs to a stalemate.

4. Free time: Louisiana-Lafayette went to the free throw line 53 times in Saturday’s victory over Florida International. That can’t happen tonight. Ragin’ Cajuns opponents get to the free throw line more than they do and UALR needs to exploit that tonight. And when they get there, UALR has to make them. The 7 of 14 effort on Saturday against Arkansas State won’t cut it tonight.

Vegas, baby
UALR is a three-point favorite tonight in Las Vegas, essentially the home-court advantage. This is only the second time this season UALR has been installed as a favorite.

Predictions

  • Jeff Sagarin (13-5): UALR 74, ULL 71
  • Omni Rankings (9-4): UALR 67, ULL 62
  • CBS Sports line (12-6): ULL 69, UALR 68
  • The Sports Network (11-7):
  • Real Time RPI: (10-8): UALR 75, ULL 69
  • Combination: UALR 71, ULL 68

'Sixth man' officials continue to work games, even in Sun Belt

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It doesn't appear Sun Belt Conference officials who were involved in the sixth-man fiasco between Western Kentucky and Louisiana-Lafayette have faced repercussions.

Brad Gaston, Reinaldo Acosta and Roger Ayers didn't notice Louisiana-Lafayette had six men on the court for the final plays of a victory over Western Kentucky. The Sun Belt promised "further review and appropriate action" to be "handled internally by the Sun Belt Conference office."

It doesn't appear its cost them any time behind the whistle, even when it comes to Sun Belt games.

Ayers worked an ACC game the Saturday after the incident and a Sun Belt game between Arkansas State and Florida Atlantic the following Monday. He's been busy calling games in the Big East, SEC and ACC since.

Acosta, now listed as "Ray Acosta" did UALR's game at Louisiana-Monroe last Thursday. He also worked the Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Florida International game on Saturday.

Gaston hasn't worked any more Sun Belt games but has been calling in other conferences, including the Mountain West and Southland.

Louisiana-Lafayette Coach Bob Marlin speaks

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This is from Louisiana-Lafayette Coach Bob Marlin's meeting with the media yesterday.

UALR opens as a three-point favorite over Louisiana-Lafayette

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Louisiana-Lafayette
at UALR

7 p.m. Thursday
Jack Stephens Center

UALR has been installed as a three-point favorite for Thursday’s game with Louisiana-Lafayette.

This marks just the second time UALR has been a favorite in Las Vegas. The other time was a victory against Louisiana-Monroe.

Louisiana-Lafayette is 1-6 as an underdog with the only victory coming against Central Florida.

Those betting on UALR have been winners in 10 consecutive games.

Up next: UALR hosts Ragin' Cajuns on Thursday at JSC

Louisiana-Lafayette (9-10)
vs. UALR (8-11)
7 p.m. Thursday
Jack Stephens Center
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There was a stretch last season when Louisiana-Lafayette looked like the best team in the Sun Belt Conference. If the Ragin’ Cajuns can get healthy, they might be in that conversation again.

Louisiana-Lafayette (9-10, 3-2) travels to UALR (8-11, 5-0) for a Sun Belt Conference game at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Injuries to point guard Raymone Andrews and inside-outside presence J.J. Thomas have slowed the Ragin’ Cajuns early this season. But they’re getting closer to healthy and that might not be a good thing for Sun Belt foes.

J.J. Thomas
Thomas hasn’t been starting of late due to lingering knee issues But the 6-5, 220-pound sophomore, still averages 1.2 points and 5.5 rebounds. He’s a banger on the inside and shoots 47 percent from three-point range (he’s 4 of 6 in Sun Belt play).

ULL has been starting the 6-2 Andrews at point guard. He averages 6.6 points and has 50 assists and only 27 turnovers. He’s one of only two Cajuns with a positive assist-to-turnover ratio this season. Andrews had to leave Saturday's game with a hip/back injury. But he's expected to play at UALR

For the most part the Cajun guards are slashers. They only attempt 16 three-pointers per game, making 35.6 percent as a team. They also went to the free throw line 53 times in last week’s victory over FIU.

Senior guard Josh Brown is a 6-4 wing averaging 10.4 points and 6.2 rebounds. He shoots 41 percent from three-point range and had 23 points last week against FIU. The other guard is Bryant Mbamalu, a 6-2 sophomore averaging 5.6 points.

Up front the Cajuns are big. Darshawn McClellan is a 6-7 senior averaging 9.8 points and 5.6 rebounds. He shoots 41 percent from three-point range and had 28 points vs. FIU. He made 4 of 6 three-pointers in that game but had missed his previous six attempts behind the arc.

And the post is 6-9 sophomore Kadeem Coleby, who averages 10.2 points and 4.6 rebounds. He has 43 blocked shots on the season.

Coach Bob Marlin has 11 players averaging more than nine minutes per game.

The Cajuns are 10-7 in road games, winning only at Western Kentucky.

North Texas guards ineligible for rest of season

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How long did North Texas allow Chris Jones and Jordan Williams to play after finding out they would be ineligible? They knew the day Tony Mitchell was declared eligible.

This line came from today’s story in the Denton Record-Chronicle:
UNT held out hope that both players could work through their situations before the beginning of the second term and meet NCAA requirements for progress toward their degree after one semester. Both exhausted their avenues to improve their academic standing by Tuesday afternoon. 
UALR faced a similar situation last year when Eric Kibi was declared ineligible. While Kibi worked to restore his eligibility, he sat out and missed seven games.

What does it mean for North Texas? We’ll probably know a little more after tonight. The Mean Green are playing one of their two exhibition games against a non-Division I opponent. And we’ll know a lot more on Saturday when they host Denver.

It’s not that North Texas doesn’t have the talent to replace Jones and Williams. It’s more about whether the Mean Green have enough depth with only three scholarship guards on the roster.

Two key North Texas players declared ineligible?

Just when it appeared things were coming together for North Texas things have hit a snag.

The Denton Record-Chronicle is reporting that Chris Jones and Jordan Williams are ineligible.

Click HERE.

Home sweet home hasn't been the case early in the Sun Belt

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How wacky has the Sun Belt Conference been this season?

Road teams have won almost 60 percent of conference games so far. UALR is at the top of that list with a 4-0 record on the road but the Trojans should take nothing for granted when they host Louisiana-Lafayette at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.

In college basketball, the home team wins about 69 percent of the time. But home teams haven’t even been close so far this season in the Sun Belt.

Take last Saturday for instance. North Texas won at Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee won at Florida Atlantic, UALR won at Arkansas State and South Alabama won at Troy. The only home winner that night was Louisiana-Lafayette, which had to go to overtime to beat Florida International.

There’s a way of figuring out who’s in the best spot in conference play that many coaches use. They give a +1 for a road victory, a -1 for a home loss and nothing for home victories or road defeats.
It’s early but so far, UALR at +4 (4 road victories, 1 home victory) and Middle Tennessee at +3 (3 road victories, 3 home victories) are leading the way.

UALR has seven home and four road games remaining in Sun Belt play. The will Trojans hope to flip some of that home magic starting Thursday.

Web site ranks UALR as third choice for Sun Belt Tournament

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Our new favorite Web site Omni Rankings does something we really like a lot with their projections. They’ve projected the entire Sun Belt Conference Tournament bracket.

So where does UALR stack up?

The Trojans are the third choice to win the championship behind landslide favorite Middle Tennessee and Denver. Omni Rankings projects UALR to finish 11-5 in the conference, losing at home to Denver. They have UALR as the No. 3 seed in the tournament and give the Trojans a 58 percent chance to reach the semifinals, a 21 percent chance to reach the finals and a 6 percent chance of winning it all.

Middle Tennessee is the favorite at 47 percent, followed by Denver at 27 percent.

Omni Rankings projects the five men’s byes to go to Middle Tennessee, Denver, UALR, Louisiana-Lafayette and Florida Atlantic.

Their first round matchups are:
  • Arkansas State vs. Florida International (winner gets Middle Tennessee)
  • North Texas vs. Troy (winner gets Denver)
  • South Alabama vs. Western Kentucky (winner gets UALR)
  • Louisiana-Lafayette and Florida Atlantic would meet in the second round after both receive a bye.
Will it end up this way? No chance.

But its fun to think about.

Louisiana-Lafayette injuries expected to heal before Thursday at UALR

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Louisiana-Lafayette
at UALR

7 p.m. Thursday
Jack Stephens Center
Louisiana-Lafayette is a bit banged up but expects to be better by the time the Ragin' Cajuns arrive in Little Rock for Thursday's Sun Belt Conference game at UALR.

Point guard Raymone Andrews had to leave Saturday's game with FIU due to a hip/back injury. And J.J. Thomas, potentially Louisiana-Lafayette's most dangerous player, was limited to 13 minutes with a knee injury. Thomas missed six games earlier this season because of that.

Read about that and what Louisiana-Lafayette Coach Bob Marlin thinks about UALR point guard D'Andre Williams by clicking HERE.

UALR sophomore Will Neighbour returned last week from a shoulder injury and played 13 minutes at Louisiana-Monroe and 20 minutes at Arkansas State.

Brady says UALR was 'fortunate'; ASU 'unfortunate'

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After UALR's 63-62 victory against Arkansas State in Jonesboro, ASU Coach John Brady said UALR was "fortunate."

"They've been fortunate a little bit. Not that they didn't deserve it. But we've been unfortunate in three that we haven't been able to win."

Uh, yeah, I guess so. ASU was "unfortunate" when Edward Townsell missed a free throw that would have tied the game in the final seconds. But ASU was also "fortunate" that UALR freshman Taggart Lockhart missed a free throw at the other end. That would have put the Trojans up three points.

It's all about how you look at it. When ASU won a game with a 35-foot heave at the buzzer against North Texas they didn't seem so "unfortunate." They also didn't seem so "unfortunate" when they hit a last second-shot to beat Louisiana-Monroe.

UALR was "unfortunate" to have starting point guard D'Andre Williams limited to 22 minutes on Saturday. And its "unfortunate" that Will Neighbour is still limited by injury. And its "unfortunate" that Gus Leeper couldn't play this year. The bottom line is that teams make their own breaks. UALR wasn't making them early in the season and is making them now.

One spot ASU was "fortunate" was that Trey Finn was able play. We won't have to hear that excuse this time around.

UALR Coaches Luncheon on Tuesday at Jack Stephens Center

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The first UALR Coaches Luncheon for 2012 will take place on Tuesday (Jan. 17) at 11:30 a.m. in the Legends room at the Jack Stephens Center.

The cost is $10 for UALR Tip-In Club Members and $15 for non-members. Lunch begins at 11:30 and UALR coaches Steve Shields and Joe Foley will begin speaking at noon. They'll also bring special player guests for questions and answers.

Those planning to attend should RSVP by email to Sheena Howell at smhowell@ualr.edu so they know how many to plan for.

The UALR women return to action on Wednesday and the UALR men on Thursday, both at home against Louisiana-Lafayette.

D'Andre Williams' value proven in UALR victory over Arkansas State

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D'Andre Williams
Anybody who has followed UALR this season knows the value of senior point guard D'Andre Williams. Never was his value more apparent than in Saturday's 63-62 victory over Arkansas State in Jonesboro.

First, Williams got hit in the mouth and had to exit the game to stop the bleeding. Then after he returned, he played the rest of the game in foul trouble. It limited him to only 4 points in 21 minutes. But UALR was absolutely clicking in those 21 minutes.

UALR outscored Arkansas State 39-29 with Williams on the court to give him a team-high +10 BTH plus/minus rating on Saturday. Not bad for what turned out to be a one-point victory.

UALR's starters finished:
  • D'Andre Williams +10 (39-29)
  • Courtney Jackson +4 (49-45)
  • Michael Javes +3 (35-32)
  • Taggart Lockhart +1 (50-49)
  • Chuck Guy -2 (51-53)

UALR Rewind: UALR throws away keys, finds way to win anyway

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Pondering the fact that Burn The Horse likely deserves an F for these Keys to Victory. Good thing the Trojans did some other things to pull out Saturday’s 63-62 victory at Arkansas State

And if the ASU game story will mention that Trey Finn did, in fact, play in this game (since that was apparently the only reason UALR won last year in the Sun Belt Tournament).

BTH Keys:
Solid start: UALR wasn’t good from the start on Saturday, trailing most of the first half and 36-29 at halftime. Add to that D’Andre Williams’ three first-half fouls. Grade: D

Defense wins: UALR held Arkansas State to 35.8 percent shooting, including 23.1 percent in the second half. Good thing because ASU made 8 of 19 three-pointers and 16 of 24 free throws. Grade: B.

Rebound it: UALR was outrebounded 41-32 overall and 17-11 in offensive rebounds. But UALR actually held an 11-10 advantage in second-chance points. Grade: D

Inside out: Courtney Jackson never got going but Michael Javes made a huge contribution with 9 points and 5 blocked shots. Grade: B

Chuck Guy
Vegas, baby!
ASU was favored by three points, making those who bet on UALR winners in Las Vegas again. That makes 10 consecutive Vegas winners for UALR.

Stat of the game
Arkansas State made just 2 of 16 shots inside the arc in the second half.

Always negative
50 percent: UALR made 7 of 14 free throws for 50 percent.

Keep it positive
50 percent: UALR made 8 of 16 three-pointers for 50 percent.

Player of the game
Chuck Guy finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal.

Up next
UALR hosts Louisiana-Lafayette on Thursday at the Jack Stephens Center.

Deck stacked against Trojans, but UALR holds off ASU on the road

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63     62
UALR struggled mightily most of the night. They played with Will Neighbour limited by a shoulder injury. And with starting point guard D’Andre Williams limited by severe foul trouble. They got badly outrebounded and couldn’t make free throws.

Yet with the game on the line, the Trojans played like champs.

UALR gutted out a 63-62 victory over Arkansas State on Saturday at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro to go 5-0 in the Sun Belt Conference for the first time in school history. Even more impressive, four of those five victories have come on the road against West Division opponents.

“This is a good one for us. This is a good one,“ UALR Coach Steve Shields said. “It’s good for the guys in that locker room.”

Counting last year’s Sun Belt Tournament, UALR has now won nine consecutive games against Sun Belt Conference opponents.

This one wasn’t easy. UALR fell behind by as many as 10 points early and trailed by seven at the half. The Trojans hadn’t won a game when trailing at halftime this season. But that statistic would change.

UALR battled back to take the lead before a three-pointer by Rakeem Dickerson gave ASU a 55-49 lead with 6:22 left.

UALR continued to battle and made its run when Williams, with four fouls, re-entered the game. A layup by Chuck Guy with 2:58 left cut the lead to 59-58. Then a tip-in putback by Michael Javes gave UALR a 59-58 lead with 2:28 left.

Ed Townsell made two free throws with 1:28 left to give ASU a 60-59 lead, but a three-pointer by Neighbour with 1:16 left gave the Trojans a 62-60 lead.

After both teams got a stop, Townsell made 1 of 2 free throws to cut the lead to 62-61. ASU fouled freshman Taggart Lockhart, who made 1 of 2 for UALR for a 63-61 lead. ASU had a couple of final chances. First Townsell was fouled with 1 second left. He made the first free throw for a 63-62 score. He missed the second and got the offensive rebound. But his putback at the buzzer missed as UALR held on.

Guy led UALR with 18 points and carried the Trojans through most of the second half. Neighbour was limited to 22 minutes but had 10 points. Michael Javes had 9 points and 5 blocks.

“Despite that run where we were failing to win, we were playing good in spurts. We just weren’t finishing games,” Shields said.

UALR finished again on Saturday.

UALR holds off Arkansas State 63-62 to go 5-0 in Sun Belt play

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Good guys win despite struggling most of the night. More to come.

UALR Tweetcast: Live updates as the Trojans take on Arkansas State

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UALR travels to Jonesboro to take on Arkansas State tonight. Burn The Horse will provide live updates through our exclusive Tweetcast. Check back tonight for updates at game time.

UALR Gameday: Trojans take 4-0 record on road to Jonesboro

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UALR at
Arkansas State
7 p.m. tonight
Jonesboro
Vegas Says: ASU by 3
UALR has never been 5-0 in Sun Belt Conference play. The Trojans will try to accomplish just that with a trip to Jonesboro tonight against Arkansas State.

BTH Keys to Victory
Solid start: UALR has dominated the first half in many of its games this season. Arkansas State is 5-2 this season when the Red Wolves lead at halftime. When they trail at the half they’re only 3-8. UALR is 7-6 when leading at the half but 0-5 when trailing at halftime. It can be difficult in Jonesboro but a good start is a necessity tonight.

Defense wins: UALR’s defense has been much better of late and will need to be again tonight. Arkansas State is 1-8 when scoring fewer than 60 points this season. UALR is 4-2 when holding opponents to fewer than 60.

Rebound it: Arkansas Staate is 7-3 when outrebounding its opponent and 0-7 when its opponent outrebounds them. UALR has outrebounded its opponent in six of its seven victories.

Inside out: UALR needs scoring on the inside and outside. The last time Courtney Jackson played in Jonesboro, he had 13 points and 13 rebounds. UALR needs to get something in the paint tonight.

Vegas says:
Arkansas State is favored by three points. UALR is 3-10 straight up as a Vegas underdog this season. But the Trojans have worked the spread over pretty well of late. UALR has beaten the spread as an underdog eight consecutive times. Arkansas State is 4-0 this season as a Vegas favorite.

Predictions
  • Jeff Sagarin (13-4): Arkansas State 72, UALR 71
  • Omni Rankings (9-3): Arkansas State by 1
  • CBS Sports line (12-5): Arkansas State 71, UALR 64
  • The Sports Network (11-6): Arkansas State 67, UALR 62
  • Real Time RPI (10-7): Arkansas State 72, UALR 65
  • Combination: Arkansas State 72, UALR 67

Notes don't tell the whole story

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Check out this line from ASU's game notes for tomorrow:
ASU leads the series 42-26 against UALR in the two squads all-time series. The Red Wolves won both regular season matches against the Trojans. At home, ASU won 71-63 over UALR and beat the Trojans in Little Rock 75-64. UALR picked up the last win in the series at the Sun Belt Tournament 59-52 over ASU, but ASU starter Trey Finn was out of the game win an injury. 
True. Trey Finn was out. But so was UALR starter Courtney Jackson, who didn't play down the stretch last year due to injuries.

Maybe instead it should have said "but ASU Coach John Brady imploded his team after picking up a technical foul while screaming at UALR assistant Coach Joe Kleine.

Is this really a sponsor?

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Are they really sponsored by a switchblade knife?

Lockhart, Javes dominate as UALR dominates Louisiana-Monroe

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Taggart Lockhart
OK. Taggart Lockhart’s plus/minus rating has officially hit ridiculous. It was nearly that already. Then he turned in a +28 during Thursday’s 72-51 victory at Louisiana-Monroe. That brings his team-leading season total to +65 (60 more than anyone else) and his team-leading Sun Belt Conference total to +39.

The biggest mover last night was Michael Javes, who was a +26. But the UALR starters dominated and their plus/minus ratings show it:

  • Taggart Lockhart: +28 (48-20)
  • Michael Javes +26 (46-20)
  • Chuck Guy: +19 (55-36)
  • Courtney Jackson: +13 (58-45)
  • D’Andre Williams: +13 (60-47)

This Sun Belt basketball web site is mega cool. BTH recommends

BURN THE HORSE
No idea why I've never seen this Web site before. No idea who is responsible for it but I love it. They have UALR as the third-most likely team to win the Sun Belt Tournament this year. Enjoy.
Click here
Long way to go, but if these projections played out the way their computer thinks they will, the UALR-Denver game at the Jack Stephens Center would be for the No. 2 seed in the Sun Belt Tournament. It's obviously unlikely all of them will work out, but it's still a nice piece of work.

Update: Omni Rankings is the work of Matt Olson. Nice job, Matt.

UALR Rewind: Trojans get straight As in victory over Louisiana-Monroe

Michael Javes
Pondering what time I’m getting back home and what time I have to get up tomorrow while compiling tonight’s BTH UALR Rewind.

BTH Keys
  • 1. Know Jack: We said Courtney Jackson needed to score and would be a key tonight. We didn’t see 20 points from the senior. But we’ll take it. Dominating effort by Jackson both inside and outside the paint. And he also went 4 of 4 at the free throw line. Grade: A.
  • 2. Shoot it: UALR needed to shoot well and did, finishing at 50 percent for the night. That included 6 of 16 for 38 percent from three-point range. Grade: A.
  • 3. Free time: UALR made 12 of 17 free throws to ULM’s 4 of 8. Textbook. Grade: A.
  • 4. Solid start: UALR jumped out to a quick 17-4 lead and still led 38-33 at the half. In fact, the Trojans never trailed. Grade: A.

Vegas, baby
UALR was a two-point favorite and won by 21.

Stat of the night
UALR had 27 field goals on 19 assists.

Always negative
ULM shot 48.3 percent in the first half.

Keep it positive
Michael Javes had 7 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and no turnovers.

Player of the game
Courtney Jackson

Up next
UALR travels to Arkansas State at 7 p.m. on Saturday

Jackson plays big, Neighbour returns as UALR goes to 4-0 in SBC

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Will Neighbour is guarded by ULM's
Steven McClellan on Thursday.

Courtney Jackson had a career high 20 points as UALR rolled to a 72-51 victory over Louisiana-Monroe on Thursday at Fant-Ewing Coliseum in Monroe, La.

UALR improves to 7-11 and 4-0 in the Sun Belt Conference. UALR has only been 4-0 in Sun Belt play one other time. That came in the 2001-2002 season.

Jackson was dominant most of the game from both the inside, outside and free throw line. He made 8 of 13 field goals, several coming well outside the lane, and 4 of 4 free throws.

D’Andre Williams and Chuck Guy each added 10 points for the Trojans. Taggart Lockhart had 9 while Michael Javes had 7 points and 9 rebounds.

But the surprise of the night came in the form of Will Neighbour, who returned after missing two games with a separated shoulder. Neighbour made 2 of 3 shots, all three-pointers to finish with 6 points and 3 rebounds.

UALR raced out to a 17-4 lead early in the game before letting ULM back in late in the first half. The Trojans led 38-33 at halftime.

UALR didn’t let Louisiana-Monroe get back into the game early in the second half, stretching the lead back to about 10 points most of the way.

UALR made 27 of 54 field goals for 50 percent while holding ULM to 36 percent. UALR also held a 36-30 rebound advantage.

UALR Live Tweetcast: Trojans travel to Louisiana-Monroe (Live Blog)

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Tipoff at 7:30 p.m.
UALR travels to Monroe, La., at 7:30 tonight to take on Louisiana-Monroe. Burn The Horse will be live at Fant-Ewing Coliseum for live game updates on our exclusive TweetCast. Until gametime, we're following those involved on both the ULM and UALR sides of this game.

UALR Gameday: Trojans can't take anything for granted on trip to Monroe

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UALR (6-11, 3-0) vs.
ULM (2-15, 1-3)
7:30 p.m. tonight
Monroe, La.
Vegas says: UALR by 2
UALR can’t really afford to take anything for granted. UALR is still just 6-11 on the season as it travels to Monroe, La., to take on 2-15 Louisiana-Monroe tonight.

But this is a game in which UALR needs to win if it expects to be among the elite in Sun Belt play. The Trojans are 3-0 in Sun Belt play and looking to go 4-0 for the first time since 2002.

Meanwhile, Louisiana-Monroe is 0-7 at home this season, including a loss to NCAA Division II Harding.

We still don’t know the status of UALR sophomore Will Neighbour, the Trojans’ leading scorer. Neighbour is listed as day-to-day and UALR is being intentionally vague about his potential return.

BTH Keys

Know Jack: While UALR’s Courtney Jackson, at 6-6, almost exclusively guards bigger players, he’ll likely be matched up with a much smaller player tonight. ULM started and almost exclusively played four guards all 6-3 and under in Saturday’s victory at Florida International. Jackson is a slippery post player who needs to score on the inside tonight.

Shoot it: UALR has struggled to shoot the ball at times this season while Louisiana-Monroe has allowed opponents to shoot nearly 45 percent. ULM is 2-2 when outshooting its opponent and 0-13 when its opponent shoots a higher field-goal percentage. UALR needs to shoot a better percentage tonight.

Free time: It’s almost always a key and important again tonight. ULM opponents have made more free throws than ULM has even attempted. That would be a recipe for success for UALR tonight.

Solid start: UALR has been a great first-half team most of the season. It needs another solid start tonight in Monroe.

Vegas Says
UALR is favored by 2 points on the Las Vegas line. This is the first time this season the Trojans have been labeled a favorite.

Predictions

  • CBS Sports line (12-4): ULM 67, UALR 65
  • Jeff Sagarin (12-4): UALR 70, ULM 65
  • Real Time RPI (10-6): ULM 72, UALR 66
  • The Sports Network (10-6): UALR 65, ULM 58
  • Combination: UALR 67, ULM 66