Com­plete team ef­fort paces Tro­jans past Tigers

The Saline Courier - - FRONT PAGE - Spe­cial to the Courier

LIT­TLE ROCK - Ar­guably Lit­tle Rock’s most com­plete ef­fort of the sea­son helped the Tro­jans close out its non­con­fer­ence schedule with a con­vinc­ing 86-62 vic­tory over Ten­nessee State Tues­day night at the Jack Stephens Cen­ter.

“This was our most com­plete game of the sea­son and I was pleased with our de­fen­sive ef­fort,” said Head Coach Dar­rell Walker. “I know the story will be that we scored 86 points, but that was a very ath­letic team we played and we held them to 62 points. I’m proud of our team, our short­handed team, and it feels good to head into con­fer­ence play with a win­ning record.”

Three nights af­ter scor­ing its fewest points of the sea­son at North Texas (53), Lit­tle Rock re­sponded with its best of­fen­sive per­for­mance of the sea­son, scor­ing a sea­son-high 86 points, which is the most for the team since the 91-62 win over South Alabama on Jan. 12.

A sea­son-high five Tro­jans scored in dou­ble fig­ures on the night, led by 25 points from Markquis Now­ell - his sev­enth 20-point per­for­mance of the sea­son. Now­ell was 9 of 15 from the floor and 5 of 8 from 3-point range.

Ruot Monyy­ong posted his fourth dou­ble-dou­ble of the sea­son with 15 points and 14 re­bounds against his home­town team. He reached the dou­ble-dou­ble late in the first half while tal­ly­ing four blocks on the night.

Ka­mani John­son tied his ca­reer high with 17 points for Lit­tle Rock on 5-of-7 shoot­ing and just missed his third dou­ble-dou­ble of the sea­son, fin­ish­ing with nine re­bounds with a pair of blocks. John­son also went 7 of 9 from the free-throw line.

Ben Coupet Jr. added 14 points with four re­bounds while go­ing 5 of 6 from the free throw line.

Isa­iah Palermo set a new ca­reer high with 11 points off the bench, go­ing 4 for 8 from the floor while play­ing 28 min­utes, also a new ca­reer best for the fresh­man.

As a team, Lit­tle Rock shot 53.7 per­cent from the floor, its best shoot­ing per­for­mance of the sea­son. The Tro­jans made 29 of their 54 shots while go­ing 7 of 14 from 3-point range, also their best per­for­mance from be­yond the arc this sea­son.

Once again, Lit­tle Rock held an op­po­nent well be­low their sea­son scor­ing av­er­age, hold­ing Ten­nessee State to 62 points af­ter the Tigers came in av­er­ag­ing 76.7 points per game.

The Tro­jans were out­re­bounded 41-37, but were nearly even in second-chance points, outscored by two at 12-10. Lit­tle Rock dom­i­nated in the paint, outscor­ing Ten­nessee State 42-22, while forc­ing 20 Tiger turnovers.

Lit­tle Rock is now 2-1 all-time against Ten­nessee State, win­ning both games of the home-and-home se­ries over the past two sea­sons. The Tro­jans are 1-0 all-time against the Tigers in Lit­tle Rock.

Lit­tle Rock will now have nine days off before be­gin­ning its 2019-20 Sun Belt Con­fer­ence schedule on the road against the Louisiana schools. The Tro­jans first travel to Mon­roe to take on ULM on Thurs­day, Dec.

19, tip­ping at 7 p.m. at Fan­tew­ing Coli­seum.

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