The Little Rock Trojans took their first lead in the I-40 Showdown with a 76-56 victory over the UCA Bears in the Farris Center Nov. 17.
The Little Rock defense was one of the deciding factors in the game as they held UCA to only 26% from the field.
“We made everything tougher,” Trojan head coach Darrel Walker said.
The Trojans also crashed the glass in this game, grabbing multiple offensive rebounds and converting them into points. The Trojans ended the game outrebounding UCA 45-35.
Sophomore guard Markquis Nowell had a standout game for the Trojans, scoring 25 points and dishing out seven assists.
“Once I see somebody open it’s my job to give it to them,” Nowell said. “Without them shooting the ball, well, I wouldn’t have had those seven assists.”
The Trojans shot just under 43% from the field for the game.
The first half was sloppy with both teams rushing shots and having multiple turnovers. The first field goal was not made until the 16:54 mark of the first half.
Little Rock took the lead early and never gave it back to the Bears.
The Trojans lead the game for over 34 minutes compared to UCA only having the lead for four minutes that came early in the first half. At the end of the first half, despite the Bear’s poor shooting, they only trailed by four.
The game was fairly close up until the 8:45 mark of the second half where Nowell and red-shirt junior guard Ben Coupet Jr. took over the game.
Nowell scored 10 points in the Little Rock run that sealed the win for the Trojans.
Coupet Jr. had 11 points in the same run, nailing three 3-pointers and slaming home a dunk.
After a rough first half of socring only two points, Coupet Jr. finished with 15 points in the game.
UCA showed fight in the game and their defense had some positive moments but they just seemed out of sorts throughout this game.
“I think the biggest thing is right now is we’re not listening,” head coach Russ Pennel said.
The Bears recorded 10 blocks in the game, but the Trojans were still able to score in the paint. The Trojans had the offensive advantage in the paint, scoring 24 points in the paint compared to eight for UCA.
Sophomore center Hayden Koval was a force to be reckoned within the paint.
Koval finished with four blocks to go along with 10 points.
Freshman forward Eddy Kayouloud led the Bears with 14 points. Kayouloud was also active on defense recording two steals and one block in the game.
However, turnovers were a problem for the Bears in this loss. The 18 UCA turnovers were converted into 17 poins for Little Rock. Additionally, despite the Bears forcing UALR into 14 turnovers of their own, only three points came from it.
The Trojans dominated the paint in the game scoring 24 points in the paint compared to UCA’s eight points.
Next up, UCA will travel to Riverside, California to compete in the Empire Classic against California Baptist Nov. 22 at 9 p.m.