RECAP: Little Rock Trojans Defeat the University of the Ozarks, 100-61

Maurius Hill put up 20 points to lead the Little Rock Trojans to the 100-61 win on Monday night.
Maurius Hill put up 20 points to lead the Little Rock Trojans to the 100-61 win on Monday night.

Monday was just another day at the office.

Little Rock Trojans head coach Wes Flanigan led his team to another tune-up victory Monday evening at the Jack Stephens Center, a 100-61 throttling of the University of the Ozarks, a Division III program.

Before the bench cleared and the points came raining down for the Trojans (2-0), who pulled away after a relatively competitive first half, it was clear who possessed the hot hand.

Fresh off a career-high performance against Central Baptist College on Saturday, Kemy Osse put up 12 points in the first half, including a 3-of-5 performance from behind the arc, while fellow senior Maurius Hill was perfect from the field (6-for-6) for 14 points and logged 7 rebounds.

The Eagles, who compete in the American Southwest Conference and counted the game as an exhibition for its own purposes, kept things tight early and broke up several large Little Rock runs with spurts of its own, thinning the deficit to as low as 11 points in the waning minutes of the first half.

Forward Josh Berard paced U.O. with 17 points, while Jace Richardson scored 16, both with identical 7-for-16 shooting marks. The Eagles rotated in a total of 15 players, while the Trojans played 13, nine of which scored.

Little Rock began the second half with an 18-4 run and never looked back, cruising to a second straight blowout win in front of 1,781 fans at the Jack.

Hill scored 20 points and finished a perfect 9-for-9 shooting and Osse scored 17. Neither played for more than 25 minutes, a common story line for these early-season, inter-divisional match-ups. Three other Trojans, Marcus Johnson Jr. (14 points), Andre Jones (14) and Jalen Jackson (12), dipped into double digits.

The Trojans as a squad posted an impressive 60 percent shooting mark (34-for-57), and forced 19 Eagle turnovers, cashing them in for 28 points.

Little Rock will upgrade to a tougher test this Friday, when the Idaho Vandals are scheduled to make the long journey to Arkansas. Last season, the Vandals went 21-13 and made the College Basketball Invitational (CBI), dropping a first-round game to the Seattle University Redhawks. Idaho hosted the Trojans last December and lost, 64-54.

This year’s iteration returns a few starters, like junior guard Victor Sanders, who averaged 15.9 points per game and had the team’s top 3-point performance last season, and senior guard Perrion Callandret, who put up 14 points and four boards a game.

The Vandals, who like Little Rock, have already had a tour of local smaller-division teams, will first visit the Northern Illinois Huskies on Wednesday evening.

– H. Hudson