The first round of the Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball Tournament got underway with first round action last night at the UNO Lakefront Arena.  In the first game, Arkansas-LIttle Rock pulled away in the second half to defeat Troy 74-61.  In the nightcap, UT Arlington squeaked by UL Monroe 68-65.  Here are the capsules from last night's games:

#5 UALR 74, #8 TROY 61---A 16-0 run in the second half proved to be the difference as UALR pulled away in the second half.

The teams were tied at halftime, 33-33 and tied again at 44 with 13:29 to play.  But UALR (15-16) held Troy scoreless over the next eight-plus minutes to pull away.  Troy (11-20) shot just 30 percent for the game.

Josh Hagins led a balanced attack for UALR with 15 points.  James White added 14, while DeVonte Smith and Ben Dillard chipped in eleven points each.

Troy also had four in double figures, with Tevin Calhoun scoring 15 points.  Antoine Myers scored 12 points, Hunter Williams eleven and Jeff Mullahey ten.

UALR will now take on in-state rival, #4 Arkansas State Friday at 6pm.  The two teams split during the regular season with each team winning on its home court.

#6 UT ARLINGTON 68, #7 UL MONROE 65--In the nightcap, UT Arlington held the Warhawks to just 35% shooting in the second half to take a 68-65 win.

ULM (10-17) led by four points at halftime and got the first basket of the second half and still led by four points, 56-52 with 7:38 left.  But UTA was able to tie the score at 60-60 headed into the final media timeout.  After the timeout, Jamel Outler hit three free throws and a layup to give UTA  five point lead.  Tylor Ongwae, who led ULM in scoring with 20 points, drilled ULM's only three pointer of the second half to get the Warhawks within two.  The two teams traded layups before Reger Dowell increased the lead to the final margin by making one of two free throws.  ULM had one last chance, but Jayon James was off line on his three point attempt and UTA (15-16)  had the win.

Dowell, the league's leading scorer, led UTA with 18 points despite shooting just 6-18 from the field. Anthony Walker added a double double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.  Outler and Lonnie McClanahan also scored in double figures.

Marvin Williams scored fourteen points for ULM to join Ongwae in double digits.


WOMEN--#1 Arkansas State vs. #4 Texas State--12 noon

#2 Western Kentucky vs. #3 UALR--2:30


#5 UALR vs. #4 Arkansas State--6:00pm

#6 UT Arlington vs. #3 Louisiana--8:30

(participating school websites and contributed information to this story)

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