LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Trailing by 13 in the second half, Little Rock rallied back to take a seven point advantage with six minutes remaining. But hot three point shooting by East Tennessee State down the stretch gave the Buccaneers the 67-63 win at the Jack Stephens Center Saturday afternoon.
"I'm disappointed we didn't get the win, but I'm proud of my team and how they competed," said head coach Darrell Walker. "That was a very good team we played, picked to win their conference, and we put ourselves in a chance to win. If we can convert those chances and take advantage of opportunities, we could have a pretty special team."
Game Notes
• For the game, Little Rock shot 46.7% from the floor and held East Tennessee State to just 45.1%. The Trojans once again held an opponent to more than 10 points under their season average as the Buccaneers came into the game averaging 77.3.
• Markquis Nowell scored 20 or more points for the third-straight game, finishing with 20 points to go along with six assists and three rebounds while playing 38 minutes.
• Ben Coupet Jr. added 15 points and six rebound for the Trojans, shooting 5-of-10 from the floor and 2-for-4 from three point range.
• Kamani Johnson was solid inside, finishing with eight rebounds and eight points, pacing the Trojans on the glass as Little Rock outrebounded ETSU 33-23.
• Jovan Stulic finished with nine points and four rebounds with Ruot Monyyong adding seven points for the Trojans.
First Half Notes
• East Tennessee State forced five Trojan turnovers early, building an 8-2 lead, but a 10-1 run for Little Rock gave the Trojans the 12-11 lead at the 12:11 mark. Coupet notched seven of the 10 points for Little Rock during the run.
• A dunk by Monyyong at the 7:55 mark, his 17th of the season, put Little Rock on top 15-14, but East Tennessee State would score nine of the next 10 points, building a seven point advantage at 23-16 with 4:46 left in the opening half.
• Three-point shooting by East Tennessee State helped the Buccaneers increase their lead down the stretch. Six of ETSU's final seven field goals were beyond the arc as it upped its lead to 31-22 with just under a minute to go.
• Little Rock shot 40.0% in the first half on 6-of-15 shots, but ETSU had 27 total shots, making 11 (40.7%), including going 6-for-12 from three-point range.
• Coupet, Monyyong and Nowell combined for 19 of Little Rock's 22 points in the opening 20 minutes with Coupet, Johnson and Lottie each pulling down four rebounds. 13 Trojan turnovers resulted in a 12-5 points off turnover edge for the Buccaneers.
Second Half Notes
• A 6-2 run for the Bucs to open the second half put Little Rock down 13 at 37-24, its second-largest second half deficit of the season.
• Threes from Nowell and Stulic, as well as three-straight free throws from Stulic and a strip and steal, sparked a 14-2 run for the Trojans, getting to within one at 39-38 at the 14:54 mark.
• After being held without a field goal for over five minutes, ETSU rattled off five-straight, upping its lead back to six at 44-38. Coupet then hit a driving layup through traffic, then hit a three from the right wing, bringing Little Rock back to within one at 44-43 at the midway point of the second half.
• Nowell converted five-straight points for the Trojans, a steal and a layup and a long three in transition, giving Little Rock its first lead since the 7:55 mark at 45-44. He had 10 points during the extended run for Little Rock.
• Little Rock's run extended to 22-6 over an eight minute span, pushing the lead to seven at 52-45 off a tough shot from Johnson as he was falling to the floor and a pair of free throws from Nowell.
• Up 56-49, East Tennessee State converted an and-one on a three-point attempt, cutting the Trojan lead to 56-53 with 6:07 remaining. The Buccaneers then converted a transition three at the other end, tying the game at 56-56 with 5:30 remaining and scoring seven points in 29 seconds.
• Tied at 61-61 with just under three minutes remaining, ETSU built a 66-63 lead with less than 30 seconds remaining. Little Rock had two good looks at a game-tying three, but couldn't convert. The Buccaneers then converted one of two free throws in the waning seconds and kept the Trojans from getting a good look late.
Up Next
• The Trojans will have a week off before heading back on the road, traveling to Texas to meet North Texas on Saturday, December 7. Opening tip against the Mean Green will be at 5 p.m. at the Super Pit in Denton.