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UALR, injuries overtake Indians
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- For the first half of Tuesday's game, the SoutheastMissouriState University Indians had the tempo exactly the way they wanted it.
The Indians were intent on not engaging in a high-scoring affair with potent Arkansas-Little Rock, so they worked the shot clock to try and limit the Trojans' opportunities.
So as the Indians entered the intermission trailing only 32-25, Southeast coach Gary Garner was understandably encouraged, especially since his team shot just 34 percent in the opening 20 minutes.
But Southeast's shooting never picked up, and UALR's scoring did. The result was a 81-56 Trojans victory at Alltel Arena. The Indians fell to 4-5, while the Trojans improved to 6-3.
"In the first half I thought we got the kind of game we needed to have to have a chance to win. We couldn't get in a high-scoring game with them," Garner said. "Then in the second half, especially at the beginning, the game got away from us.
"We just didn't shoot well enough to have a chance to stay in the game. We knew we were going to have to play really well and we didn't. I thought we played hard, but we didn't play smart."
It didn't help the Indians that an already thin roster grew even thinner during the game as sophomore point guard Kevin Roberts suffered a foot injury late in the first half. He did not return.
The Indians already were missing sophomore guard Brett Hale, who did not play because of a back injury suffered during Saturday's win at Missouri-Kansas City. And junior forward Reggie Golson again did not play because of knee problems.
"We're depleted, and we're having to play guys out of position," Garner said.
Still, the Indians hung with the favored Trojans -- UALR was a 14-point favorite -- for the first 20 minutes before the Trojans broke the game open in the second half.
"Give Southeast Missouri credit," UALR coach Porter Moser said. "I know they were shorthanded, but they played hard. They're a well-coached team.
"We really played well and had a good game tonight. I know it hurt them when Roberts went down and they didn't have Hale."
Guard Nick Zachary led the Trojans offensively with 16 points. Also in double figures were guard Mark Green (12), forward Danny McCall (11) and forward Jake Yancey (10).
Southeast was paced by senior guard/forward Demetrius King, who was questionable for the game after spraining an ankle during Monday's practice. But King played 29 minutes and matched his career high with 17 points.
"The ankle didn't bother me too much," King said. "I knew we were shorthanded and I had to play a lot."
Junior forward Damarcus Hence added 12 points.
"They're a really good team, but we just didn't shoot the ball well enough," sophomore guard Derek Winans said. "We got a lot of good shots but they wouldn't go down. It really hurt when Kevin went down and we were missing two of our guards."
The Indians finished the game shooting 34.4 percent from the field on 22 of 64. The Trojans shot 56 percent on 28 of 50.
"They're a very good team," Garner said. "They're one of the better teams we'll play."
UALR scored the game's first six points and never lost the lead, but the Trojans couldn't shake the Indians in the opening half. UALR's biggest first-half lead was 10 points late, but King's conventional three-point play with five seconds left made it 32-25 at the intermission.
But the second half was no contest. The Trojans scored the first six points and never looked back as they eventually built their lead to 28 points while coasting to victory.
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