The largest victory of the season for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock men's basketball team came against the Sun Belt Conference preseason favorite.
UALR (5-13, 2-3 Sun Belt) ended its two-game losing streak in a 77-65 victory over Texas Arlington (11-7, 2-3) Thursday night at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock as the recently struggling Trojans led for the entire game and by as many as 16 points.
It was perhaps the most convincing conference victory in the two-year career of Coach Wes Flanigan, whose largest Sun Belt victory came against South Alabama, 73-56, on Jan. 21 last season.
The victory moved the Trojans out of a five-way tie at the bottom of the conference standings.
UALR sophomore guard Andre Jones scored a game-high 24 points with 8 rebounds and 2 assists, while freshman guard Jaizec Lottie scored a career-high 16 points on 5 of 9 shooting.
Lottie had 13 points by halftime, and his play fueled the Trojans into a 13-2 run that was capped with a resounding dunk by Jones after he received a backdoor pass from junior forward Oliver Black with 5:27 left in the first half to lead 32-20.
The Mavericks struggled to get near the basket offensively. UALR's Black swatted a lob pass into a steal with 3:56 left in the half. That forced the Mavericks to shoot farther out, and the team was 1 of 11 from three-point range by halftime. They had come into the game with the league's fifth-ranked three-point percentage (35.3).
Texas Arlington finished the game 6 of 29 (20.7) from three-point range.
Texas Arlington senior forward Kevin Hervey, the Sun Belt preseason Player of the Year, led the Mavericks on a 10-3 run by scoring nine points, including a dunk with 29 seconds left, as the Mavericks trailed 39-32 at halftime. Hervey opened the second half with a layup and three-pointer that helped tie the game 39-39 with 18:33 left.
The Mavericks only scored three more baskets in the next nine minutes. They had six turnovers during the stretch, including a steal and layup by Jones to set UALR up 52-43 with 13:29 remaining.
The defensive effort led to a 9-0 Trojans run, which was capped by a steal by Camron Reedus, who threw a full-court pass to junior guard Ben Marcus for a 57-43 lead.
Sports on 01/12/2018
Print Headline: UALR men climb out of cellar