Little Rock Trojans extend their hot start on the season thanks to a strong first half start against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (NAU) on their way to a 84-57 victory. Little Rock, at 10-0, is now one of only six teams undefeated in NCAA Division I basketball.
The game started slow with Little Rock and NAU trading shots before the Trojans started to pull away thanks to strong rebounding and points in the paint. The Trojans never let up going to 44-23 at the half while suffocating NAU on defense.
“That is how we work, our offense plays off of our defense. It allows us to play our defense.”Trojan forward Mareik Isom said following the game. Isom finished the game with seven rebounds and was one of four Trojans in double figures with 12 points.
The second half brought more of the same, with the Trojans outscoring NAU 40-34 despite a couple of strong runs by the Lumberjacks.
Northern Arizona the game with a 2-7 record and looking for their first win since before Thanksgiving. Instead Little Rock ties their longest winning streak in school history and extended the longest winning streak for any team as a member of the Sunbelt conference.The win was Little Rock’s 100th ever at the Jack Stephens Center since the building opened for the 2004-05 season.
Little Rock has held up to the pressure of the perfect season, increasing their margin of victory in each of the lasts six games after a number of close early games. The victory was the Trojans’ fourth straight double-figure win and second consecutive win by at least 20 points. Little Rock also held its opponent under 60 points for the fourth straight game.
“The goal of any coach is for the team to get better every day. I think our team is getting a little bit better every day, not quite as good as I would like to be. The great thing about this team is that I think we have a huge ceiling… We haven’t peaked in any stretch of the imagination.
The strong all around play has guided the Trojans, something coach Chris Beard says is a key part of his teams.
“The proudest thing tonight is we played 12 players in the game and 11 of them scored, and that is how we want our teams to be, “Coach Beard said following the game. “We have no objective to have the leading scorer in the conference or the country.”
Marcus Johnson Jr. led all Little Rock players with 15 points while Jalen Jackson (14), Roger Woods (13) and Mareik Isom (12) all poured in at least 12 points for the Trojans.
Lis Shoshi was Little Rock’s top rebounder, bringing down eight boards in 18 minutes. Hill and Isom had seven rebounds apiece. Josh Hagins led the way with five assists, while Woods, Ben Marcus and Stetson Billings each had two blocks.
The Trojans head to Lubbock on Tuesday to take on the 8-1 Texas Tech Red Raiders led by legendary coach Tubby Smith. Tip off is set for 2 p.m. with television coverage on Fox Sports Southwest.
“Any time you get a chance put your team up against a legendary coach like coach Smith you only win,” Beard told us earlier this week.
“”We have a great opportunity Tuesday in Lubbock. They have the kind of program there that we would like to build here,” Beard added after the game. “We have a great opportunity Tuesday in Lubbock. They have the kind of program there that we would like to build here. I am very appreciative of coach Smith for scheduling the game for us. It is a great opportunity against one of the better teams in the country this year…. We will compete on Tuesday night.”