UALR senior guard Leroy Isler was suspended for Thursday night’s UALR victory over Texas State. UALR Coach Steve Shields said in the postgame that he suspended Isler because he was ejected on Saturday against Georgia State.
UALR’s pregame press release stated: “Head men’s basketball coach Steve Shields has announced senior Leroy Isler will serve a one-game suspension against Texas State tonight at the Jack Stephens Center for the play that resulted in his ejected at Georgia State on Saturday, Jan. 18.”
This was news to us. We weren’t even aware Isler had been officially ejected. Saturday’s official statistics provided by Georgia State don’t indicate an ejection or a flagrant foul. We did a quick Internet search and turned up a couple of references to it. The first was from GSU Web site www.gstvonline.org.
“A scuffle broke-out halfway through the second half that resulted in ULAR’s [SIC] Leroy Isler being rejected [SIC] from the game for spitting gum at one of the Panthers. By the time of publication, officials had not issued a suspension for Isler extending beyond Saturday’s game. Georgia State Athletic Director Cheryl Levick said that a call would be placed to the Sun Belt Conference regarding the incident and possibly seeking a suspension for Isler.”
And on Twitter, @Panther_Report reported that Isler was “ejected from game for elbowing [GSU’s Ryan] Harrow.”
This morning, BTH confirmed Isler was ejected for a Flagrant 1 foul. This does not require an automatic suspension from the Sun Belt Conference and it doesn’t appear the conference took any official action. The suspension came from UALR.
It’s the second time this year a UALR player has been suspended just before a game. Earlier this year, Josh Hagins suspended for a game after he apparently used profanity in a postgame celebration against Texas-Arlington He ended up missing a Jan. 9 game against South Alabama. That suspension was announced near gametime by UALR Athletic Director Chris Peterson and included quotes from Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson.
Isler, who had started every game up until Thursday, is expected back in the lineup on Saturday against Arkansas State.
UALR’s victory allowed the Trojans to remain in second place overall in the Sun Belt Conference behind Georgia State, which improved to 6-0 with a victory at Louisiana-Lafayette on Thursday. UALR is now 5-2 in Sun Belt play. Everyone except Georgia State, UALR and Western Kentucky (4-2) has at least two conference losses.
STAT OF THE GAME
UALR made an impressive 19 of 22 free throws on Thursday for 86.4 percent.
Have a game DeVonte Smith. The junior point guard had 17 points, 4 rebounds 2 assists and 0 turnovers in 37 minutes. He made 6 of 6 field goals, including 2 of 2 three-pointers. He also made 3 of 3 free throws and added a key steal late in the game.
On the postgame show last night, Ray Tucker said J.T. Thomas would have surgery and is out for the season. This hasn’t been confirmed officially by UALR yet. If true, Thomas, a junior this year, could possibly still have two years of eligibility if the NCAA grants him a sixth year. UALR played without James White on Thursday with what was called an ankle injury. White’s status for Saturday’s game at Arkansas State is unknown.
GLASS HALF FULL
One thing is for sure: Gus Leeper can play as many minutes as his ability to stay out of foul trouble will allow. Leeper played 15 minutes before fouling out on Thursday. He finished with 11 points, 3 rebounds and a steal.
GLASS HALF EMPTY
Take away Will Neighbour’s 21 points, Smith’s 17 and Leeper’s 11 and the rest of the UALR roster combined to score just 20 points on 8 of 24 shooting.
KING PRIAM’S KEYS
Threes Below 35: Texas State made just 3 of 15 three-point attempts for 20 percent. Grade: A.
Js For Josh: Josh Hagins had just 6 points in 30 minutes. But he did add 3 assists and 3 blocked shots. Grade: C.
Smash the Glass: UALR has to be cut a little bit of slack with Leroy Isler and James White out of the lineup. Still, the Trojans got out rebounded 30-25, including 10-8 in offensive rebounds. That’s not good enough: Grade: C.
WHAT HAPPENED IN VEGAS?
UALR ended up a 4.5-point favorite in Las Vegas and won by 5. That’s a winner.
UALR travels to Arkansas State on Saturday. ASU was off on Thursday.