UALR locks up defensively, beats North Texas 62-57

62    57

Ugly is beginning to suit this UALR team just fine.

UALR went ugly for the second consecutive road game and earned its second consecutive road victory with a 62-57 victory over North Texas at The Super Pit in Denton, Texas.
UALR (14-9, 8-4 Sun Belt Conference) holds on to its 1.5-game lead over Arkansas State in the Sun Belt’s West Division.

We’re getting to where we handle adverse situations a lot better,” UALR Coach Steve Shields said. “There’s still a lot of room for improvement. But I thought this was another step forward.”

It was a pretty solid team effort across the board for the Trojans. Will Neighbour, James White and Josh Hagins each had 11 points to lead UALR. Leroy Isler added 9, John Gillon 8 and Ben Dillard 6 for the Trojans.

UALR shot 41.2 percent while holding North Texas to 34.6 percent. UALR got outrebounded 37-31 but kept pace by getting key stops on defense at key points throughout the night.

UALR led most of the game, including 32-25 at halftime. But the Trojans got off to a slow start in the second half, scoring only three points in the first nine minutes. And North Texas took the lead on a three-pointer by Jordan Williams three-pointer with 11:51 left. It gave the Mean Green a 37-35 lead.

Hagins hit a jumper one time down to tie it and then John Gillon hit a three-pointer for a 40-37 lead. Neighbour hit a jumper for a 42-37 lead.

“The thing I’m most proud of is when they took the lead 37-35 we came right back and went on a run, got it to the paint a time or two,” Shields said. “Earlier in the year we struggled to answer those runs. That’s where we’re getting better.”

The Trojans then answered each of North Texas’ runs down the stretch and the Mean Green never had a possession to tie or take the lead.

North Texas’ future NBA player Tony Mitchell finished with 13 points and 6 rebounds. But he wasn’t able to dominate the game, thanks largely to the defensive efforts of Michael Javes.