The Dolphins (2-3) cut a 15-point deficit to six at the midway point in the second half, but the Trojans (3-2) used a late three-point play to quash the rally. UALR shot 56 percent (14-25) from the floor in the second half to hold off the comeback.
John Gillon led the Trojans with 16 points and four assists, while Will Neighbour added 15 points. Taggart Lockhart (14) and James White (13) also finished in double-digits for the Trojans.
“We had another bad start,” JU head coach Cliff Warren said. “Even though we rallied late, we couldn’t find the defensive stop or rebound we needed to put us over the top. We have to refocus quickly because we still have two games left on this trip.”
Trailing by 15 in the second half, four straight free throws from sophomore Evin Graham capped a 9-1 JU run to cut the deficit to 48-42 with 14:11 left. Freshman Tyler Alderman kept it a six with more free throws, but Gillon added a three-pointer to push the Trojans’ lead back to double-digits at 58-48 (9:37). A three-point play from senior Russell Powell got the Dolphins to 60-51 with a 7:27 left. The Trojans added a three-point play on the next possession to give them a double-digit lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Junior Javon Dawson and freshman Jarvis Haywood each finished with 14 points for the Dolphins who shot 35.1 percent (29-64) for the contest. Alderman recorded seven points and five rebounds in the loss.
In the first half, consecutive three-pointers by Lockhart and Josh Hagins gave the Trojans a 28-17 lead (8:58). The Dolphins trimmed the lead to 33-25 less than four minutes later on a dunk by Dawson (4:21) and a three-pointer from junior Dylan Fritsch (4:08). UALR used a timeout to regroup and ended the frame with a 9-2 run to take a 42-27 advantage at halftime.
The Trojans out rebounded the Dolphins, 32-17, in the first half and had 20 second-chance points to setup the win. The Dolphins held a 15-13 rebounding advantage in the second half.
The Dolphins will now head to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to play their final two games of the Hoops for Hope Classic. They will play UW-Milwaukee and Rider on Friday and Saturday, respectively, at 4:30 p.m.