UALR (2-2) used a strong defensive effort to hold Milwaukee (2-2) to 33 percent shooting from the field and 23 percent shooting from three-point range and earn a 59-43 win over the visiting Panthers Monday night at the Jack Stephens Center as part of the Hoops for Hope Classic. Junior Will Neighbour led all players with a season-high 17 points, while junior Leroy Isler chipped in with career-high 13 points, five rebounds and four steals in his first career start.
The Panthers entered Monday's contest shooting 41.4 percent from the field and 41.5 percent from three-point range, but were held to season-low efforts in both categories by a UALR defense that forced Milwaukee into a season-high 19 turnovers.
Freshman James White scored seven points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked two shots in what was also the first start of his career. Freshman John Gillon totaled nine points, four rebounds and three assists while getting the start at point guard. Sophomore Ben Dillard came off the bench to score seven points on 3-of-5 shooting.
UALR finished the night with a season-best 51.1 (24-of-47) shooting percentage from the field.
Neighbour scored 13 of his season-high 17 points over the final 20 minutes of the contest. The Grayshott, England-native finished the night 8-of-15 from the field and pulled down six rebounds, had two steals and blocked a shot.
The Trojans' offense was strong from the opening tip. UALR used buckets by Neighbour and Isler to build a quick 6-0 lead just over four minutes into the contest before eventually going up by as many as eight on a three-pointer by Gillon that made it 21-13 at the 7:04 mark. Milwaukee closed the half on a 5-0 run to trim to Trojans' lead to two, 25-23, heading into intermission.
Milwaukee tied the score on a pair of free throws by Demetrius Harris in the first minute of the second half, but UALR answered with five-straight points to go back up 30-25.
Although Milwaukee would never take the lead, the Panthers did force three tie scores over the final 20 minutes. Aaron Jordan's jumper knotted the score at 32 at the 13:34 mark, but UALR answered with an 8-0 run to go up 40-32. Milwaukee would get no closer than three the rest of the way, as Neighbour closed the game with six points over the final 4:39 to seal the win for UALR.
Harris finished with 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting to lead the Panthers on offense. Jordan and Arians had 13 each to give Milwaukee three players in double figures on the night. Jordan and Arians combined to knock down all five treys for Milwaukee.
UALR was outrebounded 35-29 on the night, as three players Christian Wolf and Kyle Kelm led Milwaukee with six boards each.
UALR's 10 steals were a season best.
The Trojans will continue the Hoops for Hope Classic on Wednesday night when they host Jacksonville at the Jack Stephens Center following the conclusion of the UALR women's team's game against Oral Roberts. UALR will continue the Hoops for Hope Classic with a trip to Puerto Vallarta,Mexico to play SMU on Saturday.
Assistant Sports Information Director