Think about this. UALR shot 46.3 percent from the field. UALR made 21 of 23 free throws (91.3 percent). UALR held a 34-26 advantage in rebounds. UALR’s leading scorers James White (23 points, 11 of 13 free throws) AND Will Neighbour (18 points, 7 of 10 field goals) each had really solid games.
And UALR lost. They didn’t just lose. They got their doors blown off from the opening tip.
It came down to two factors – one of which has been a problem, one which hasn’t.
First the one that hasn’t been a major issue: turnovers. UALR had 20 turnovers. UALR was making shots. But there were 20 possessions in which UALR didn’t even get a shot.
The second has been an issue from the start of the season: three-point defense. Opponents have shot 36.8 percent from the three-point line against the Trojans this season. Georgia State shot an amazing 15 of 34 (44.1 percent) on Saturday. Georgia State attempted 34 of its 64 field goal attempts from three-point range. And why not? When you’re making them at that clip you might has well bomb away.
The bottom line is this. UALR’s offense works. But the Trojans are still struggling on the defensive end.
Maybe not the margin or the 30-point halftime deficit, but the margin was predictable.
UALR dropped to 9-9 on the season but is still 4-2 in Sun Belt Conference play and has already played four of its nine conference road games. With the exception of 5-0 Georgia State, everyone else in the Sun Belt has at least two losses already. And everyone except UALR (4-2), Louisiana-Lafayette (3-2), Western Kentucky (3-2) and Louisiana-Monroe (3-2) has at least three.
Perhaps Georgia State will run away from the rest of the field. But the Panthers still have some significant road tests ahead of them. Regardless, there's no reason to panic yet.
STAT OF THE GAME
20 Turnovers by UALR. No possible way to win with that many give-aways.
Playing before some hometown folks, James White had 23 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block and 1 steal. The best part of his night was free throws. After struggling a bit early in the year, White is now making them. He made 11 of 13 free throws on Saturday.
GLASS HALF FULL
Will Neighbour continues to churn out solid offensive nights. And his shot is definitely coming back.
GLASS HALF EMPTY
Even knowing what Georgia State’s R.J. Hunter was going to do, UALR could do nothing with him. Hunter finished with 25 points and made 6 of 10 three-pointers.
KING PRIAM’S KEYS
Rebound, Rebound, Rebound: UALR outrebounded Georgia State 34-26. This wasn’t the problem. Grade: A-.
Defend the three: Georgia State made 15 of 34 three-pointers. Grade: F.
Hagins vs. Harrow: Ryan Harrow had 12 points, 7 assists and only 1 turnover. Josh Hagins had 5 points, 6 assists and 4 turnovers. Grade: D+.
Big Men Big: Will Neighbour and James White were more than solid. Grade: A-.
WHAT HAPPENED IN VEGAS?
Georgia State was a double-digit favorite and had that covered before the first media timeout.
UALR is back at home Thursday against Texas State.