The UALR Trojans beat the Troy Trojans in the opening game of the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Tournament 74-61, but, don’t let the score fool you, because it was a great game!
Troy got off to start with a hot hand leading things early…until around 9 minutes to go when UALR took command and both teams would fight to the half…eventually leaving the score notched at 33. The second half is where the true Trojan team began to make its way to the front…that being Arkansas-Little Rock. In the middle of the 2nd half Troy would go on an 8 and a half minute drought…allowing UALR to capitalize and go on a 16-0 run. From then on it was a cruise to the finish.
Troy looked as if they were going to make the upset, and I had full confidence that they could. However a sensational shooting show from UALR would settle this one, along with the Troy drought. Other than those factors, Troy didn’t have a terrible game – they played decent for an 8 seed.
As a team, Troy shot 30% from the floor, as well as 27% from behind the 3 point arc. They only hit 60% of their free throws as well. They did manage to find 41 rebounds, with 16 of those coming on the offensive end. The Trojan players did as I expected – they spread the ball out and played like a team. Four of the starters landed in double digit points figures, with Tevin Calhoun leading the way with 15 points.
As for the UALR Trojan team, their red-hot 2nd half is what ultimately won them this ball game. They shot 17 of 29 from the floor (59%), and 4 of 7 from behind the 3 point arc (57%). The starters performed well, but another element to this game was the performance by UALR’s bench. This Trojan squad’s bench outscored Troy’s bench 30-9. Also, UALR’s three leading rebounders came from…you got it…the bench.
The main impact players for UALR were Josh Hagins (15 pts; 8 reb; 6 ast), James White (14 pts; 6 reb), and DeVonte Smith (11 pts; 8 ast). UALR played well this outing and did their job, surviving and not allowing an upset.
Now Arkansas-Little Rock will look to play its in-state rival, Arkansas State, tomorrow evening at 6. That one is sure to be a thriller as well, so don’t miss out as it will also be aired on ESPN 3!
WTRT will have you covered for that contest as well…so until then…have a great rest of your evening!