The offense was fine. The defense, especially in the post, left much to be desired. The result was about what was expected as UALR rolled to a 90-58 victory over Southern Arkansas on Tuesday at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.
UALR (2-3) led by just five points at halftime before pulling away early in the second half.
“We talked about having better energy in the second half. And we talked about rebounding the basketball,” said UALR Coach Steve Shields, speaking about his halftime talk. “When you give up nine offensive rebounds in one half you’re not going to have very much success.
“I thought our guys had a lot more energy in the second half. I thought we played with more passion. I thought we defended better.”
The Trojans were led by 18 points and 8 assists from sophomore guard Josh Hagins, who split time at both point and shooting guard with junior J.T. Thomas out injured. Hagins also had 5 rebounds, 4 blocked shots, 1 steal and committed just 1 turnover. He went 4 of 4 from three-point range and 7 of 8 from the field.
Senior Will Neighbour had 17 points while sophomore James White had 16 points and 6 rebounds.
UALR shot 57 percent from the field and held a 37-30 advantage in rebounds. UALR had only 7 turnovers to 15 by Southern Arkansas.
All that was good. The fact that Southern Arkansas dominated the paint in the first half wasn’t. The Muleriders’ Alre’k Brown was unstoppable inside in the first half with 12 points and 9 rebounds. He finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
And UALR led only 39-34 at halftime after letting an 11-point lead slip away.
“I thought we finished the first half very passive,” Shields said. “It didn’t feel like we played the right way.”
UALR held only an 18-14 advantage in points in the paint at halftime. The Trojans won that stat 18-6 in the second half.
Former UALR walk-on Tre’von Wilkerson, who redshirted last year with the Trojans, finished with 3 points and 3 rebounds for SAU.