Something strange is quietly happening in the Sun Belt Conference this year. About two hours before gametime, players are getting mysteriously suspended for one game.
It’s happened twice to UALR with Josh Hagins missing the game against South Alabama and Leroy Isler missing the game against Texas State. It’s also happened twice to UALR opponents. WKU played UALR without T.J. Price and ULL played last night without Shawn Long.
No idea if it’s happened to anyone else. But its happened four times in UALR’s nine Sun Belt games this season.
But why? Conduct detrimental to the team. Violation of team rules. All the regular stuff.
Perhaps it’s just a strange coincidence. But if it happens again, I’m calling it a trend.
No way to know how Louisiana-Lafayette’s Shawn Long would have impacted Thursday’s game. Of course, there’s no way to know how UALR’s James White could have impacted the game if he had played. It’s pretty likely that UALR’s rebound advantage wouldn’t have existed with Long on the court.
PLEA FOR SANITY
Since the NCAA wants to adjust the rules, how about eliminating the continuation three-point plays in college basketball. There were at least four in Thursday’s game – going both ways – that should have just been fouls on the floor.
INJURY REPORTI asked James White after the game what his status was. He said he expects to be back on Monday. That goes along with the original timeline we were given when he was shut down last week.
STAT OF THE GAME
UALR made 15 of 27 second-half field goals for 55.6 percent. The Trojans made only 14 all game last Saturday at Arkansas State.
UALR senior Will Neighbour had 24 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Trojans. He made 7 of 9 field goals and 9 of 11 free throws. And he joined the 1,000-point, 500-rebound club.
GLASS HALF FULL
We thought freshman Mareik Isom gave some of the best minutes of his career on Thursday. Isom finished with 7 points and 2 steals. He made a first-half three-pointer, his first trey in 12 games. And he made a key second-half layup.
GLASS HALF EMPTY
Foul trouble continues to plague UALR forward Gus Leeper. He picked up two quick fouls on Thursday and had to sit much of the first half. When in there, he was productive with 4 points and 2 rebounds in 14 minutes.
KING PRIAM’S KEYS
Bounce Back: Will Neighbour needed a bounceback game and got it with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Grade: A.
Paint Patrol: UALR held a 38-31 rebound advantage and 36-26 advantage in points in the paint. Grade: A.
Win Field Goal Percentage: UALR shot 47.2 percent for the game to Louisiana-Lafayette’s 37.7 percent. The teams both shot 38.5 percent in the first half. Grade: A.
Threes Below 35: ULL was hot early from the three-point line. But the Cajuns went 0 for 8 from three-point range in the second half to shoot 20 percent for the game. Grade: A.
Free Josh: UALR’s Josh Hagins had 14 points and 6 rebounds but went 0 for 5 from three-point range. Still a good effort on a night when his shot wasn’t really on. Grade: B+.
WHAT HAPPENED IN VEGAS?
Louisiana-Lafayette was a 2.5-point favorite. That makes a bet on UALR a winner.
UALR gets on the bus tomorrow morning for the eight-hour drive to Mobile, Ala. The Trojans will take on South Alabama on Saturday.