Chaplin, Trojans get rolling win win

Arkansas-Little Rock's men's basketball team overcame a 14-point first-half deficit and used strong perimeter shooting to put away Texas-San Antonio 93-84 in a nonconference matchup Wednesday night at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.

Jamir Chaplin scored a game-high 22 points and collected five rebounds to lead the way for the Trojans (5-6). Bradley Douglas scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half and connected on 5 of 7 shots from the field. Jordan Jefferson converted 9 of 10 free-throw attempts and provided 17 points off the bench in the win.

"I feel myself coming out of my shell offensively," Chaplin said. "The defensive part is going to be there, but offensively, me scoring is going to be a big thing for our team. I got to score."

UTSA (5-5) led for all but 27 seconds of the first half. The Roadrunners used an 11-0 run to take a 14-point lead at 35-21 with 5:21 left before halftime. Christian Tucker made two three-pointers on the scoring run and had 14 points in the first half. Tucker would finish with a game-high 23 points in the loss.

UALR stormed back and closed the opening half with a flurry, going on a 21-8 run into the break and trailing 43-42 at the half. Jaylen Crocker-Johnson scored 13 points in the first half, while Chaplin had 12 for the Trojans.

"I said, "Let's make a stand before we go into halftime," and we did," UALR Coach Darrell Walker said. "We went into halftime down one. Then we continued on the first five to eight minutes of the second half to really guard and get control of the basketball game late."

Earlier in the day Wednesday, a federal judge in Charleston, W.Va., issued a 14-day temporary restraining order against the NCAA that allows college athletes who have transferred two or more times to be immediately eligible for competition.

Trojans transfer Makhel Mitchell, a 6-10 center, is one of those athletes who is now eligible to play. He previously played at Maryland, Rhode Island and last season at the University of Arkansas.

Mitchell was in uniform on the bench and warmed up with the Trojans on Wednesday night, but was held out of action by Walker.

"Things are still developing and we just got to see what the NCAA is going to say," Walker said. "He would be a bigger presence down there. Can change shots, can block shots, can rebound the basketball. You can throw the ball into the post to him sometimes."

Wednesday night's game remained closely contested early in the second half. A steal and fastbreak dunk by Chaplin gave UALR its first lead of the half at 48-47 with 15:56 remaining in the game. A three-pointer from Cougar Downing just before the under 12-minute media timeout pushed the Trojans' lead to 58-54.

The UALR lead grew to double digits following a three-pointer by Chaplin with 8:45 left that gave the Trojans a 68-57 advantage and forced a Roadrunners timeout. Coming into the game, UALR was shooting 32.2% from behind the arc. On Wednesday night, the Trojans shot 50% from long range, connecting on 9 of 18 attempts.

UTSA tried to close the gap late, but nine quick points from Bradley Douglas pushed the UALR lead to 84-70 with 2:21 left and that would prove to be enough to secure the victory.

"There is only two things in this business: There is winning and then there is misery," Walker said. "If you lose, it's misery. When you win, everybody feels good about themselves. Even the water tastes better. It was good for us to get a win."

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