UALR’s Will Neighbour missed a three-pointer that would have given the Trojans the lead late in Saturday’s game against South Alabama. In Jonesboro, Arkansas State rallied from five points down to force overtime. And seconds later, South Alabama’s Mychal Ammons went through UALR’s James White to score and essentially ice the Jaguars’ victory in Little Rock.
To make matters worse, Arkansas State never trailed in overtime and went on to beat North Texas. UALR and Arkansas State are now tied atop the Sun Belt’s West Division with 8-5 records.
What does it mean for UALR?
The Trojans now have to find two victories someplace they won’t be favored to win. It goes without saying that Thursday’s game at Louisiana-Monroe is a virtual must. As are the season’s final homestand games against Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas State.
But UALR probably also has to do two of the following:
- Win at Arkansas State
- Win at home against Middle Tennessee
- Sweep the Florida trip (FIU, FAU)
The Trojans will be heavy underdogs to do any of those three.
There is some hope. Arkansas State still has road games at Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky and North Texas.
South Alabama’s Augustine Rubit was as advertised. He finished with 17 points and 7 rebounds on Saturday. He made only 4 of 11 field-goal attempts but it seemed like a lot more.
BURN BABY BURN
UALR Coach Steve Shields’ teams have been really good in revenge games over the years. Going into this season, his teams were 10-1 when playing a team a second time after getting beat by 10 or more points in the first meeting.
But for the second time this season, it hasn’t worked out. UALR lost to Louisiana Tech in that scenario earlier this season and fell to South Alabama last night.
STAT OF THE GAME
4-11: UALR first-half free throw shooting. The calls weren’t going UALR’s way in the first half. But when they did, UALR didn’t take advantage. UALR was 16 of 17 in the second half but it was too late.
BTH KEYS REVISITED
Freedom: South Alabama was 23 of 33 at the free throw line to UALR’s 20 of 28. But the Trojans were 4 of 11 in the first half and USA was 11 of 13. That allowed the Jaguars to build and maintain their lead through intermission. Grade: C.
Turning point: UALR only had 15 turnovers to South Alabama’s 14. That doesn’t sound bad. But the Trojans had 11 in the first half, many of which were just sloppy. Grade: D.
Better start: UALR fell behind by 15 in the first half and trailed 36-26 at halftime. Enough said. Grade F.
Ben Dillard had 15 points and 2 assists on Saturday. He made 4 of 6 field goals and 6 of 7 free throws.
UALR went 4 of 17 from three-point range and most were good attempts. It just wasn’t their night.
I’ll have to watch the film this week to see for sure. But I’m guessing UALR had at least 12 missed field-goal attempts from the 2 feet range.
UALR was the favorite. Those betting on UALR lost.
Everyone loses. The Sports Network’s two-point prediction came closest.
UALR goes to Louisiana-Monroe on Thursday.