|Kemy Osse hits a 2nd half J.|
UALR’s other point guard John Gillon was out with a knee injury. Shields’ only option was to go with freshman guard Kemy Osse for a spell at the point. And Osse delivered.
By the time Hagins re-entered the game with 12:10 left in the half, UALR had built a 49-45 lead. Osse had a steal and hit a couple of free throws. He even stayed in and hit a jump shot for a 51-45 lead.
After Thursday’s game, UALR Coach Steve Shields said he wasn’t sure about the status of guards John Gillon and Ben Dillard, who were hurt during Thursday’s game.
BURN BABY BURN
UALR started a different freshman point guard for the third consecutive game. That has to be some type of record. Kemy Osse started the South Alabama game after John Gillon and Josh Hagins missed the team bus to the arena. Then Gillon started the Louisiana-Lafayette game. And Hagins was the starter at point on Thursday.
“We had dropped three in a row and I’m not willing to sit over there with my legs crossed on a three-game losing streak,” Shields said of the switch.
No word on whether or not freshman Stetson Billings should work on his ball handling for Saturday.
STAT OF THE GAME
22-12 Western Kentucky had 22 turnovers to UALR’s 12. As a result, UALR had 27 points off turnovers to WKU’s 13.
BTH KEYS TO VICTORY
Hack Harris: Yeah. Easier said than done. WKU’s Brandon Haris just doesn’t commit fouls. He played virtually the entire game on Thursday, committing just one foul. He’s played 271 of the past 280 minutes WKU has been on the court. Most of it without fouling. He also had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Grade: F.
70th Heaven: UALR wins when its opponents score fewer than 70. UALR loses when opponents reach 70. Western Kentucky scored 65 on Thursday. UALR wins. Grade: A.
Fresh feeling: James White got off to a slow start on Thursday. But he was big down the stretch. He had a couple of dunks, hit a nice jumper and finished with 9 points and 4 rebounds. Grade: B+.
Freshman point guard Josh Hagins had 5 assists without a turnover in 28 minutes on Thursday.
Sophomore Michael Javes, who had an otherwise solid game, went 1 of 6 at the free throw line.
The National Anthem was an issue again. I have no idea what tune they were singing. At least this group got the words right.
Western Kentucky ended up a one-point favorite. UALR easily beat the spread. The Trojans are 7-7 vs. the spread this season but 5-1 vs. the spread at home.
Our closest predictions compilation since we started. Real Time RPI takes over the overall lead with a win. OmniRankings also was a winner. Losers included Jeff Sagarin, The Sports Network and CBS Sportsline, which jumped off the bandwagon this game.
UALR travels to Troy on Saturday night. UALR is taking a charter flight instead of that eight-hour bus trip. So there’s that to look forward to.