UALR digs another hole, can't get out in 70-66 loss to USA

70   66

It was bound to catch up with UALR sooner or later. A slow start dug the Trojans a huge hole again on Saturday. This time, they couldn’t quite climb out in a 70-66 loss to South Alabama at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.

The loss dropped UALR (14-10, 8-5) into a tie with Arkansas State in the Sun Belt Conference’s West Division. Arkansas State rallied to beat North Texas in overtime on Saturday.

UALR pulled the Houdini act a couple of times before, most recently in their previous home game when they rallied from 22 points down to beat Florida Atlantic.

UALR was lifeless from the start on Saturday, falling behind by 15 points in a first half that saw the Trojans shoot 37 percent, commit 11 turnovers and miss seven free throws. It was a minor miracle UALR got it back to within 36-26 at halftime.

UALR never really made its move until the final five minutes. Down 9 points, Josh Hagins hit two free throws and Kemy Osse a three-pointer, sandwiched around a South Alabama free throw, for a 64-59 deficit with 2:34 left.

After a turnover, Ben Dillard drove inside and scored as he was fouled. His free throw made it 64-62 with 1:48 left.

UALR then got a defensive stop and ran a pretty good set at the other end. It got Will Neighbour an open look at a three-pointer with 1:19 left. The ball spun around the rim and out. South Alabama then put the game out of reach when Mychal Ammons posted up James White, driving on him to score a layup for a 66-62 lead with 47 seconds left.

UALR did get to within 69-66 with 10 seconds left. But Ammons made 1 of 2 free throws to clinch the victory.

UALR made 21 of 61 field goals for the game for 34.4 percent. Of their 25 misses inside the three-point arc, nearly half came from less than two feet from the basket.

Dillard led UALR with 15 points while Hagins added 13. Neighbour finished with 6 points and 10 rebounds. But he made just 3 of 11 field goals and never could get going offensively.