UALR can't get over hump in loss to FIU; likely falls to 4/5 game

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UALR couldn’t get over the hump on Thursday in a 65-52 loss to Florida International at U.S. Century Bank Arena in Miami.

UALR has now lost three consecutive games and falls 2 full games behind Arkansas State in the Sun Belt Conference’s West Division standings. Both teams have three games remaining.

Perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be on Thursday. UALR’s defense was solid most of the night. But the Trojans just couldn’t make any jump shots when they needed them.

UALR made 21 of 52 field goal attempts, including just 2 of 19 from three-point range. Several were wide open looks when the game was still tight.

The game slipped away midway through the second half.  After a dunk by sophomore Michael Javes and two free throws by freshman Kemy Osse, UALR trailed 42-39 with 9:23 remaining.

Needing a  defensive stop, FIU’s Tola Akomolafe scored on a layup for a 44-39 score.  UALR then turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions with a chance to cut into the lead. Eventually, FIU extended it. Junior Will Neighbour blocked a shot by Akomolafe got the offensive rebound and scored on a layup to make it 46-39.

James White missed two free throws on UALR’s next possession and Neighbour picked up his fourth foul on the second miss. FIU went to the other end and hit two free throws for a 48-39 lead. Then after a Neighbour turnover, Ivan Jurkovic’s dunk extended the lead to 50-39 with 5:20 left.

And that was pretty much it. FIU made its free throws and UALR never really got close.

Javes and freshman John Gillon had 12 points apiece to lead UALR. Neighbour had 9 points and 7 rebounds.