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UALR pushed by Philander Smith

by Mitchell Gladstone | December 12, 2021 at 2:36 a.m.

Philander Smith;M;FG;FT;O-R;PF;A;PTS



A. Johnson;34;1-10;1-3;2-2;3;2;3


D. Johnson;24;1-4;1-2;1-5;4;2;3








PCT — FG 29.0, FT 62.5. 3-PT — 5-16, 31.3 (Rufus 2-4, Childs 1-1, Perkins 1-3, Jordan 0-1, A. Johnson 0-4). BL — 3 (Perkins 2). TO — 15 (Childs 4, D. Johnson 4). ST — 11 (Childs 3, A. Johnson 3).











PCT — FG 35.6, FT 83.3. 3-PT — 3-19. 15.8 (Lukic 2-7, Jefferson 1-6, Osawe 0-1, Smith 0-2, Stulic 0-3). BL — 2 (Stulic 2). TO — 22 (Lukic 7). ST — 6 (Besovic, Palermo, Lukic, Jefferson, Smith, Osawe).

Halftime — UALR 32, Philander Smith 30

Officials — Carrion, Wallace, Orkus

Attendance — 1,252

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock had already hosted a pair of non-NCAA foes this season, outscoring their opponents 206-111 in back-to-back mid-November wins.

Philander Smith had no intention of letting the Trojans off easy a third time.

The Panthers pushed UALR to the brink Saturday afternoon inside the Jack Stephens Center before the Trojans avoided what would've been a stunning upset with a 60-51 victory. Philander Smith was within a possession inside the last two minutes, but UALR scored eight of the game's final 10 points -- six of which came at the free-throw line.

It was a rough offensive outing for the Trojans, shooting 16 of 45 from the field with 22 turnovers, but they did nearly half of their scoring at the free-throw line, going 25 of 30.

And while the win ended a four-game UALR losing skid, it was far from satisfying for Coach Darrell Walker.

"We're not a very good team right now, let's just be honest," Walker said. "We've got a lot of work to do, and that's not taking anything away from [Philander Smith]. ... We have a five-game stretch coming up, four more at home and one on the road at Central Arkansas, and the competition's going even higher. Nobody is coming to rescue us anytime soon."

The injuries have continued to pile up for the Trojans. Nikola Maric and DeAntoni Gordon, two of UALR's top three scorers, were both out again. Marko Andric had flu-like symptoms and wasn't at the game.

There were seven Trojans in tracksuits on the bench. Walker had the same number of guys available to play.

"This is going to be our team for the next four games," Walker added. "We've got to figure out how to grind out and get some wins. ... There's only so much you can do when you've got a bunch of good players not dressed up."

The Panthers took a 44-43 lead with fewer than eight minutes to go, but it was the last time Philander Smith (6-4) would be on top.

A clutch three-pointer by Marko Lukic put UALR (5-6) back in front 15 seconds later, part of a 7-0 spurt that looked to give the Trojans some breathing room.

But the Panthers, coached by Todd Day -- the University of Arkansas' all-time leading scorer -- flashed the Nolan Richardson-inspired pressing defense that's become a staple of Day's Philander Smith teams and held UALR to two points over the next four-plus minutes.

"We knew that they really only had one ball-handler, so once he got in foul trouble...we just attacked," Day said. "They were shorthanded and we [believed we] really should get a win. We felt like we were a better team coming in."

The Trojans didn't have many positives outside of junior Isaiah Palermo, who finished with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting and came up one rebound shy of a double-double.

Palermo has reached double figures in four consecutive games, but he is one of several players who Walker says are "playing too many minutes."

That'll only change if UALR gets players healthy soon.

"It's going to be a battle," Walker said of his team's upcoming stretch, which continues at UCA on Tuesday. "We've got to take one game at a time and figure out how to get some wins."

Arkansas State 82, Mississippi Valley St. 77

Tied at 46-46 with just more than 12 minutes remaining, ASU (7-2) ripped off 10 straight points to take control in Itta Bena, Miss., and ease to a fourth consecutive win.

Norchad Omier needed only 25 minutes to log 15 points and 15 rebounds for his fifth double-double this season.

Guards Marquis Eaton and Desi Sills scored 18 and 17 points, respectively, rounding out the brunt of the Red Wolves' offense.

MVSU (0-8) got a game-high 20 points from Caleb Hunter and forced 24 ASU turnovers, but couldn't hang on after leading by four in the early minutes of the second half.

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