BTH Morning After: Finish wasn't perfect (either way) in UALR victory

Let’s get it out of the way. Anyone who says they thought UALR could rally from 14 down in the final 76 seconds left is lying. That includes us.

(But we do find it ironic that right at the exact time when the Trojan Town message board declared the game over, that UALR rose from the ashes. That’s OK. We were preparing the postmortem. We were just smart enough not to press send.)

What’s really amazing about the comeback is that there was actually some room for error for UALR.
Southern didn’t go scoreless over the final 1:16. Southern actually went 5 of 9 from the free throw line during that span. But they missed three front ends of 1 and 1s that could have (should have) put the game out of reach.

UALR also wasn’t perfect.  The Trojans missed three field goal attempts, finishing the game by going 7 for 10 in the final 76 seconds. But each time they got it back. Junior DeVonte Smith missed  a layup but sophomore James White scored on the rebound. Sophomore Josh Hagins missed a three-pointer and senior Will Neighbour scored on a putback.  Hagins missed a layup and sophomore Kemy Osse scored on the rebound.


UALR senior forward Will Neighbour finished with 20 or more points for the third consecutive game. And he was a beast again on Friday.


After going without a three-pointer in Monday’s loss to Middle Tennessee, UALR hit one on its first attempt of the night on Friday. Freshman Mareik Isom drilled his first attempt. UALR made 6 of 13 on Friday, including 4 of 7 by Hagins.


19-5. UALR outscored Southern 19-5 in the final 76 seconds (actually final 68 seconds) to force overtime.


UALR junior point guard J.T. Thomas went down with a strain of some sort in the second half and did not return. His status for Tuesday’s game is not known. Junior Ben Dillard returned from injury and saw his first minutes of the season. He made 9 of 10 free throws in the game.


UALR let a second-half lead slip away when Neighbour went to the bench for a rest. It took a miracle finish to get the game into overtime.


UALR outrebounded Southern 44-42. UALR’s total included 15 offensive rebounds, three of which saved possessions during the Trojans’ rally.


Win the 2: Josh Hagins had 19 points and Kemy Osse and Ben Dillard each had 9. Grade: A.
Re-do Rebound: It didn’t look great most of the night, but UALR pulled down two more rebounds than Southern. Grade: B+.
Free thinking: UALR couldn’t get to the line early but did so late. The Trojans made 25 of 35 free throws compared to Southern’s 24 of 39. Grade: B.


We never saw a line posted. But no doubt this was an upset victory for UALR.


UALR hosts NCAA Division II Southern Arkansas at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Jack Stephens Center.