Statistics add up as Sooners put UALR away early

The final stat line didn’t show all that much disparity. But the little things added up against UALR on Friday as the Trojans lost 101-81 at Oklahoma.

UALR (2-4) was led by 16 points and 8 rebounds from senior Will Neighbour.

While the statline wasn’t tremendously different, the final score reflected the actual outcome. Oklahoma held between a 15 and 20-point lead for most of the final 25 minutes of the game.

Turnovers, rebounds and the inability to get defensive stops ultimately undid the Trojans.

Oklahoma shot 46.5 percent to UALR’s 40 percent. The Sooners made 12 of 28 three-pointers to UALR’s 9 of 26 and 23 of 33 free throws to UALR’s 20 of 25.

UALR committed 17 turnovers to Oklahoma’s 10 but Oklahoma’s press gave UALR fits in the first half. Junior DeVonte Smith finished with 13 points in his absence, but junior J.T. Thomas’ poise against the pressure of the Sooners was missed. Thomas missed his second consecutive game with a strained groin.
UALR was only outrebounded 44-42, including 12-10 in offensive rebounds, but it seemed much worse. OU’s Ryan Spangler had 11 points and 10 rebounds while Cameron Clark had 22 points and 8 rebounds.

Oklahoma beat on Neighbour every chance they got. Neighbour appeared to fall on his injured shoulder early in the game. He took an OU shoulder to the teeth later in the first half. He made 4 of 7 field goals, 3 of 4 three-pointers and 5 of 6 free throws. But he also had 4 turnovers.

The Trojans closed to within 25-23 on a three-pointer by Neighbour with 9:38 left in the first half. Then Oklahoma went on a run that essentially put the game out of reach.

OU’s Cameron Clark hit a three-pointer, Isaiah Cousins, Clark and Buddy Hield all hit layups, all sandwiched around three missed layups by UALR to make it 34-23. The lead reached 23 points before a late run by UALR cut it to 59-44 at halftime.

UALR closed to within 76-65 on a three-pointer by Neighbour with 10:58 left. But OU’s Je’lon Hornbeak answered with a layup and D.J. Bennett converted a three-point play to push it back to 81-65.

The only drama late was whether or not UALR could keep Oklahoma from reaching 100. That occurred with 35 seconds left when OU’s Trey Slate converted a layup for a 101-78 lead.

Sophomore guard Josh Hagins, who has to split time at point guard with Thomas out, picked up two early fouls. He finished with 12 points. Senior Leroy Isler added 11 while sophomore James White had 8 points and 5 rebounds.