The Little Rock Trojans improved to 9-0 last night with a 77-54 win over Central Arkansas at the Farris Center in Conway. This is the Trojan’s second win over UCA this season after beating them 79-73 on December 1st in the Jack Stephens center.
The win matched its third-longest win streak in program history and extends the longest streak to open a season. Four Trojans finished the game in double figures as Little Rock shot 45.2 percent as a team and knocked down 17 of 18 free throws.
“I thought in the first half we played Little Rock basketball,” head coach Chris Beard said following the win. “We shot a good percentage, had low turnovers and defended at a high level. They’ve got really good players; they’ve got a really good offense with spacing. To hold those guys to 15 points in the first half was about as well as we’ve played all year.”
Little Rock closed the first half with a 15-0 run and held the Bears without a point over the final 6:39 to stretch a seven-point lead into a 22-point halftime margin. The Trojans outscored the bears 40-39 over the final 20 minutes.
“I was really disappointed in the second half,” Beard said. “So I told the guys, I’m pleased with the victory, but we’re trying to play basketball, we’re not trying to play the scoreboard. We have to play a lot better than we played tonight to take the next step.”
Marcus Johnson Jr. continued to shine again in the season, leading all scorers with 16 points on the night. Jalen Jackson added 14 points while Josh Hagins added 13 points and five assists. Maurius Hill scored 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
The Trojans continued their strong bench play for the season, finishing the game with a 39-10 edge in bench scoring and a 16-2 advantage in second-chance points.
“I don’t believe in starters and bench players. What we have is 12 guys who are eligible to play and I trust all 12 to play at a high level,” Beard told us during an interview on Tuesday. “I think that sometimes you have to have your best players coming off the bench, it creates an advantage on offense and defense.”
The Trojans are one of eight undefeated teams in the country as of Wednesday night and are now of just two – the other being Navy – with a 5-0 road record on the season. Of the eight undefeated teams, only SMU (2) and Little Rock have multiple road victories.
The Trojans will look to match the program record for consecutive victories (10) Sunday vs. Northern Arizona in what will be their final non-conference home game.Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. with the women’s basketball team vs. Missouri State set to follow. Tickets are available.