HOT SPRINGS, AR (ArkansasSports360.com) - UALR beat South Alabama at its own game, dominating the offensive glass and ripping apart the Jaguars' full-court pressure while getting a career-high-equaling 26 points from senior Solomon Bozeman to win 82-68 and advance to a Sunday matchup with Arkansas State in the Sun Belt Conference men's tournament in Hot Springs.
The Trojans and Red Wolves meet at 8:45 p.m. Sunday on the court in Summit Arena. Arkansas State defeated UALR twice in the regular season, but A-State will be without sophomore guard and top perimeter defender Trey Finn, who tore his left patella tendon in practice earlier this week.
UALR, which lost to South Alabama 92-79 last week in Mobile, Ala., played perhaps its best game of the season by establishing its defensive presence from the outset. UALR had doubled up 12-6 in the game's first eight minutes, as Bozeman began warming up with three straight baskets. But when UAR had doubled up the Jaguars 30-15 with 5:33 left in the half, there was reason for shock in the small Convention Center court area.
About the only thing the Trojans did wrong in the first half was foul too much, as they carried a 39-28 lead into intermission.
South Alabama was within nine a couple of times with a little more than eight minutes left, but Bozeman and UALR blew the game open with a 14-4 run and eventually to led by as much as 20.
South Alabama was the fourth seed out of the Sun Belt East. UALR was fifth in the West. Arkansas State took a share of the West title and was the No. 1 seed from the division.