BTH Gameday: Roller coaster ride continues for UALR

Why does it take digging itself a huge first-half hole before this UALR team decides to play to its potential? It’s a question UALR Coach Steve Shields would love the answer to.

UALR returns to action at 7 p.m. tonight against North Texas at The Super Pit in Denton, Texas.

UALR went down 22 points on Thursday before rallying for a 65-62 victory over Florida Atlantic.

That game wasn’t all that dissimilar from a 58-56 victory over Troy on Nov. 29. In that one, UALR fell behind 31-21 with 2:43 left in the first half. The Trojans eventually pulled the game out in the final minute.
But Thursday’s game took it to a whole other level. UALR fell behind 33-11 late in the first half. The comeback from 22 points down broke a Shields-era record. The previous biggest comeback in his 10 seasons as head coach came on Jan. 14, 2006, when the Trojans fell behind Middle Tennessee by 19 points before rallying for a 68-66 victory.

Shields said this Trojan team has a “coolness” about it that can be frustrating. He told us via text last night that “when we get to where we bring effort, intensity and enthusiasm and fight every day, we will have a chance to be pretty good.”

Until then, it appears the roller coaster ride will continue.


After UNT’s Tony Mitchell scored zero points and only attempted 3 shots in 32 minutes on Jan. 17, he was challenged to take more shots by the coaching staff. They said they wanted him to take 15 per game.
In the Mean Green’s next game vs. Florida Atlantic, Mitchell went 8 of 19 from the field and finished with 24 points. Last night against Middle Tennessee, he went 4 of 11 and finished with 10 points.
Mitchell, who went 5 of 11 and finished with 13 points in the first meeting with UALR, is expected by most to enter the NBA Draft after this season. Expect him to get up a lot of shots tonight.


The Denton Record Chronicle reported that guard Alzee Wiliams will play today. Williams didn't play Thursday against Middle Tennessee with a knee injury.


Guard attack: Even if North Texas gets Alzee Williams back tonight, the Mean Green have a guard shortage due to injury. UALR’s guards, Josh Hagins, John Gillon, Kemy Osse and Ben Dillard, need to attack North Texas guards. Getting the Mean Green guards in foul trouble presents a host of problems for North Texas.
70th heaven: UALR is winless this season when its opponent scores 70 or more points. So is North Texas. First to 70 wins tonight.
Block party: No, not blocked shots. Block outs. UALR has to hold its own in rebounding tonight. It can’t let the Mean Green rack up a ton  of second chance points and expect to win.


North Texas is at home. North Texas is favored by 3 points. Not really a surprise.


CBS Sportsline needs to pick up ground on our other pickers. They're the only ones taking UALR today. On average, this looks like a two-point game:
OmniRankings (11-2): UNT 70, UALR 63
Real Time RPI (17-4): UNT 70, UALR 67
Jeff Sagarin (15-5): UNT 73, UALR 70
The Sports Network (15-5): UNT 70, UALR 66
CBS Sportsline (13-8): UALR 71, UNT 65
BTH Average (14-6): UNT 69.6, UALR 67.4