Leader Blues

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

SPORTS>>Moore leads UALR past No. Illinois

By JOE ANGOLIA
UALR sports information

The UALR men’s basketball team (7-2) got back on track Sunday afternoon, as six players scored in double figures to lead the Trojans to a 97-85 win over Northern Illinois (4-6) at the Jack Stephens Center.

UALR shot a blistering 61.8 percent from the floor and reached 90 points in regulation against a Division-I opponent for the first time since the 2001-02 season.

“I’m proud of our guys for the way they responded after Friday night’s disappointing loss,” said UALR head coach Steve Shields.

“I thought we had really good energy level about us, and had a lot of enthusiasm and intensity on the defensive end in the first half.”

UALR junior Steven Moore totaled season highs of 22 points and eight assists, against zero turnovers, to lead the way for the Trojans. Senior Brandon Patterson, who played just seven minutes against Wright State because of the flu, recorded his first career double-double against NIU with 10 points and a career-high 10 rebounds.

“(Brandon) gives us good length on the perimeter from a defensive standpoint, values the basketball and has poise on the offensive end,” added Shields. “He does so many different things for us, aside from just scoring the ball, and I thought he was really good tonight.”

Four other Trojans reached double digits in points as UALR had six double-figure scorers for the first time since a 74-73 loss to Western Kentucky on Feb. 16, 2006.

Sophomore Matt Mouzy went 4-of-9 from beyond the arc on his way to a 14-point effort, while senior John Fowler, junior Mike Smith and freshman Curtis Jackson each added 10 points a piece.

Smith collected nine rebounds in the game, falling one board short of his third double-double.

UALR led from wire-to-wire on Sunday afternoon, and broke the game open with a 21-2 first-half run. The Trojans took a 43-23 lead into the break after shooting 62.1 percent from the field with a +16 rebounding margin (23-7) over the first 20 minutes.

Nine different players got into the scoring column for the Trojans in the first half, with the UALR bench outscoring the starters 43-23.

Freshman Courtney Jackson led the Trojans with eight points in the first half, while Moore and Curtis Jackson chipped in seven points a piece.

The 20-point ballgame turned into a shootout in the second half, as the two teams combined to score 116 points over the final 20 minutes.

NIU cut its deficit to 13 points, 86-73, after a three-pointer with 3:21 to go, but Moore delivered a three pointer of his own on the other end to keep the Huskies on the ropes.

The Trojans did just enough at the free-throw line over the final two minutes, going 6 of 10 at the line, to keep NIU at bay.

UALR returns to action tonight when it travels to FedExForum to take on the No. 15/17 Memphis Tigers. “We know it is going to be a difficult game,” said Shields. “Our guys will be excited about going there, but we have to make sure that we value the basketball. Like I told them in the locker room, we can’t give up 18 offensive rebounds to Memphis like we did tonight.”