Trojans overcome deficit to top South Alabama

LITTLE ROCK – For the third straight game to open conference play the UALR (8-7, 3-0) men’s basketball team pulled out a thrilling victory, this time it was a 65-60 win over South Alabama (6-10, 0-3) inside the Jack Stephens Center. The Trojans were led by senior forward Will Neighbour, who posted 22 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.

James White added 13 points, three rebounds and two blocks for the Trojans. Senior Leroy Isler scored eight points while pulling down six rebounds and dishing out three assists.

Both DeVonte Smith and junior Ben Dillard posted career highs in minutes played with 40 and 34, respectively. Smith provided a career-high 10 rebounds to go along with his seven timely points and six assists against just one turnover in 40 minutes at the point. Dillard added six points and two rebounds while making 3 of 4 at the foul line in the closing seconds.

UALR returns to action on Saturday when it plays the backend of a men’s and women’s doubleheader against Troy at the Jack Stephens Center.

Lions rally, beat winless Aggies

FORT SMITH — UAFS held Oklahoma Panhandle State to just 27 points in the second half of Thursday’s Heartland Conference game to rally for an 84-68 win at Oscar Williams Fieldhouse in Goodwell, Okla.

It was the third consecutive win for the Lions (10-3, 3-2), who improved to 8-1 all-time against OPSU (0-12, 0-4).

After starting conference play 0-2, the Lions will look to sweep their second conference weekend series in a row on Saturday when they play Newman at Fugate Gymnasium in Wichita, Kan.

UAFS trailed by eight points (41-33) at halftime after shooting just 33 percent from the field (10 for 30) in the first half, but the Lions finally found their shooting touch in the final 20 minutes, shooting 50 percent (18 for 36) from the field during that span.

Junior guard Blake Branham led UAFS with 17 points.

Senior guard Jake Toupal chipped in 15 points, including three 3-pointers, and freshman guard Seth Youngblood added 12 points, including two 3-pointers.

A-State suffers conference home loss to Troy

JONESBORO — Troy’s Tevin Calhoun scored a game-high 35 points with seven three-pointers and the Trojans netted an arena-tying record 14 three-point field goals to hand the Arkansas State University men’s basketball team a 98-84 loss this Thursday night in the Red Wolves’ Sun Belt Conference (SBC) home opener at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro.

The loss snaps A-State’s four-game winning streak as the Red Wolves go to 9-5 overall and 2-1 in conference action. Troy is now 6-9 overall and 1-2 in the league with win, which is second in its eight contests.

Senior forward Kirk Van Slyke recorded double-figure scoring for the seventh game in a row and the 13th time this season with season-high tying 27 points to pace the Red Wolves. Senior guard Brandon Reed compiled a season-best 23 points, while senior guard Melvin Johnson III tossed in 17 points. The other six A-State players who received playing time accounted for a combined 17 points in the contest.

Arkansas State finishes up its two-game conference homestand on Jan. 11 as the Red Wolves face the South Alabama.

Gibson’s 36 leads Harding to third straight

SEARCY - Harding sophomore Jacob Gibson tied a school record with eight 3-pointers and scored a career-high 36 points to lead the Bisons to an 89-71 Great American Conference victory over Henderson State on Thursday at Rhodes Field House.

Harding won its third straight and improved to 6-5 overall and 3-2 in GAC action. It was the Bisons’ 10th win in their last 13 games against the Reddies, who fell to 6-7 overall and 2-3 in conference. Henderson State has lost four of its last five road games.

Hayden Johnson scored 16 points and added seven rebounds. Sophomore Blake McNair scored a career-high 16 points and added four assists, and freshman Will Francis scored 15 points and added seven rebounds and seven assists. Senior Weston Jameson had a career-high 10 assists and moved past Harding Hall of Famer Corey Camper into eighth with 353 in his career.

Deoirvay Johnson made all five of his 3-point attempts in the second half and led Henderson State with 26 points off the bench. Kevin Kozan had 13 points, and Charles Wesley added 11.

Harding returns to action on Jan. 11 against Ouachita Baptist in Arkadelphia.

Tech overcomes deficit to defeat Tigers

RUSSELLVILLE — Bobby Hatchett led all players with 25 points while adding six rebounds, Bryson Fletcher scored 10 points, and Kendell Pinkney posted five assists and three steals as the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys (8-5, 3-2 GAC) overcame a ten-point halftime deficit to beat the Ouachita Baptist Tigers (3-8, 0-5 GAC) in Tucker Coliseum on Thursday night.

Tech will return to action on Jan. 11 to face Henderson State in Arkadelphia, Arkansas before returning home on Jan. 16 to take on Arkansas-Monticello.

Storm snaps UAM’s winning streak

BETHANY, Okla. – Southern Nazarene outscored the University of Arkansas at Monticello men’s basketball team 19-4 in the final eight minutes of the second half to snap the Boll Weevils’ eight-game winning streak by a final score of 71-66 on Thursday night at the Sawyer Center.

Brandon Wilson and Kenric McCants led UAM in scoring with 14 points each. Senior Jared Harrison and junior D’Audrio Patton also reached double-digits with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

The Weevils are back in action Jan. 11 at home against Ecclesia College for the final non-conference game of the season.


Aggies surprise Lady Lions

FORT SMITH — Oklahoma Panhandle State hadn’t played a game at Oscar Williams Fieldhouse since Dec. 7 until Thursday night, and the Aggies made the most of their long-awaited home encounter against the UAFS Lady Lions at Goodwell, Okla.

Senior point guard Sarah Johnson scorched the nets for 38 points to lead the Aggies to a surprising 71-65 win against the Lady Lions in Heartland Conference play. It was the first win of the season for the Aggies (1-13, 1-6), who were coming off three consecutive road games.

The Lady Lions (3-11, 3-5), who were coming off a 59-55 conference home win against Oklahoma Christian on Jan. 2 at the Stubblefield Center, will look to salvage a split on their two-game conference road trip, which concludes on Saturday against Newman at Fugate Gymnasium in Wichita, Kan.

Freshman forward Justyne Huber posted a double-double to lead the Lady Lions, finishing with 12 points and 14 rebounds.

Harding ties best start in program history with win

SEARCY — Senior forward Kristen Celsor scored a career-high 36 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as she led the Harding women’s basketball team to a 92-75 Great American Conference victory over Henderson State on Thursday. With the win, Harding tied the 1996-97 team for the best start in program history at 13-0. The Lady Bisons also improved to 5-0 in the GAC.

Celsor’s 36 points tied for the seventh-most in program history, and the most since Mindy Napier (1998-02) scored 39 at Lyon in 2000. It was the fourth time this season Celsor has scored 30 or more points. It was also her fourth double-double and the third time she has scored more than 30 points and grabbed more than 10 rebounds this season.

Junior forward Arielle Saunders scored 16 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for Harding. It was the third time this season she has had 15 rebounds in a game. Junior guard Montana Lewis added 14 and senior guard Deshelle Isaac-Boyce came off the bench and scored 10.

Henderson State (8-3, 3-2 GAC) was led by junior guard Aungelique Sledge who scored all of her 18 points in the first half. Jasmine Settles followed with 15 points, while Tiara Davis scored 11 with Vanessa Pieper adding 10.

Harding will hit the road on Saturday as they travel to Arkadelphia to face Ouachita Baptist.

Golden Suns fall to Ouachita Baptist

RUSSELLVILLE — Despite a 20-point, three rebound effort from junior Cara Neighbors and an eight-point, six rebound effort senior Jae Tucker the Arkansas Tech Golden Suns (6-5, 2-3 GAC) were unable to hold off the Ouachita Baptist Lady Tigers (3-8, 1-4 GAC) offense as they were defeated 72-60 Thursday night at Tucker Coliseum.

The Golden Suns will travel to Arkadelphia to play Henderson State on Jan. 11.

Blossoms fall to Crimson Storm

BETHANY, Okla. – The University of Arkansas at Monticello women’s basketball team was unable to overcome its worst shooting performance of the season in a 72-61 loss to Southern Nazarene on the road Thursday night.

UAM (5-7, 1-5 Great American Conference) scored the game’s first five points and led for the first seven minutes of the first half. SNU (6-6, 3-3 GAC) took its first lead of the game following a 7-0 run to put the Storm on top 11-8 at the 11:41 mark.

The sophomore trio of Jordan Goforth, Nikki Mullen and Tamia Grady led the Blossoms in scoring with 15, 14 and 12 points respectively. Sophomore Donlicia James added eight points in 14 minutes off the bench.

The Blossoms are back in action Jan. 16 on the road against Arkansas Tech.