Frankly, it was a Steve Shields special.
Less than 48 hours after getting blown away at Middle Tennesee, UALR responded with a 59-54 victory over Western Kentucky before the largest crowd to visit E.A. Diddle Arena this season.
How’d they do it?
They took a page out of the book from some of Shields’ best teams. They locked it up defensively and did enough on the offensive end to pull out the victory.
Western Kentucky shot just 32.7 percent from the field and had 18 turnovers. That allowed UALR to hang in there. And with the game on the line, freshman point guard Josh Hagins delivered the dagger – twice. First, he buried a three-pointer. Then he found Leroy Isler for a highlight reel layup to put the game out of reach.
It wasn’t pretty. Just effective.
That’s how you win on the road.
BURN BABY BURN
Western Kentucky went with the throwback uniforms again on Saturday against UALR. WKU had worn the uniforms with great success in beating Louisiana-Lafayette on Thursday. But the magic appeared to have run out on Saturday.
STAT OF THE GAME
28.6 percent. Western Kentucky’s shooting percentage in the second half on Saturday.
BTH KEYS TO VICTORY
Forty: That was today’s magic number. UALR shot 46.2 percent from the field while holding Western Kentucky to 32.7 percent. UALR is now 11-4 when it shoots at least 40 percent and 7-2 when opponents shoot less than 40 percent. WKU is winless when it doesn’t reach 40 percent. Grade: A+.
Board beatdown: UALR was on the way to a board beatdown at halftime, getting outrebounded by 11. But UALR outrebounded WKU by five in the second half. The final total shows WKU outrebounded UALR 37-31. But the second half put UALR over the top. Grade: B.
Paging Mr. White: James White still really didn’t get going. He had four turnovers in eight minutes. And that’s not going to get him a lot more minutes if he can’t clean that up. However, he hit back to back shots at a key point in the second half. Grade: C.
UALR sophomore Michael Javes finished with 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 blocked shots.
Western Kentucky made more free throws (15) than UALR attempted (12).
Are you kidding? There’s nothing ugly about winning at E.A. Diddle Arena.
Western Kentucky went in as a seven-point favorite. That makes UALR an easy ATS winner on Saturday.
Everyone was a loser on Saturday. CBS Sportsline actually came the closest, predicting a four-point WKU victory.
UALR hosts Florida Atlantic on Thursday at the Jack Stephens Center. Last week Florida Atlantic won at Diddle Arena. This week, FAU lost at home to North Texas.