Only time will tell. But for one night, UALR sophomore Gus Leeper was really good in the Trojans’ 70-60 victory at Louisiana-Monroe on Thursday night.
Leeper played sparingly as a freshman before a breakout performance in the final seven games of the season, including the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. He sat out all of last season with injuries and missed more than a month this season with injuries.
He’s been slow to work himself into the rotation behind sophomore Michael Javes. But on Thursday, he asserted himself against Louisiana-Monroe’s undersized lineup. Leeper finished with 12 points and 6 rebounds on Thursday. More importantly, he was able to play 17 minutes.
UALR hopes that is a sign of things to come.
UALR’s victory coupled with Arkansas State’s loss put the Trojans one full game up on the Red Wolves in the Sun Belt Conference’s West Division. UALR will either be 1.5 games or 0.5 games up going into next Thursday’s showdown with Arkansas State in Jonesboro. UALR is off on Saturday while ASU travels to Western Kentucky.
STAT OF THE GAME
Louisiana-Monroe’s leading scorer Amos Olatayo finished with 9 points and 9 rebounds. But credit UALR’s Leroy Isler for shutting him down, especially in the first half. Olatayo was just 3 of 10 from the field and 0 of 3 from three-point range. He had only two points at halftime.
BTH KEYS REVISITED
Ground and pound: Gus Leper had 12 points and 6 rebounds, Michael Javes had 8 points and 6 rebounds and Will Neighbour had 11 points and 6 rebounds. Mission accomplished. Grade: A.
Twilight zone: UALR didn’t settle for three-pointers and benefited as a result. The Trojans made 6 of 10 threes for the night. Grade: A.
White Knight: James White had some moments, including a late block and dunk on Thursday. But he struggled to get going offensively, finishing with just 2 points and 3 rebounds. Grade: D.
Josh Hagins finished with 14 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and had just 1 turnover.
UALR got outscored 37-34 in the second half, not exactly putting the game away early.
15 turnovers are far, far too many.
UALR was between a 4 and 6 point favorite, making those who bet on the Trojans winners.
Everyone went with UALR and everyone was a winner. Jeff Sagarin’s 70-63 was the closest.
Valentine’s Day Massacre next Thursday in Jonesboro.