The Little Rock Trojans took a 71-66 opening night win at home over the Texas State Bobcats in a defensive slugfest where both teams struggled to shoot the basketball. The two sides shot a combined 38% from the field and attempted a total of 51 free throws.
Leading the way for the Trojans was Texas A&M transfer KK Robinson with 24 points, four assists, four rebounds and five steals in a high-level defensive performance for the 6-foot guard. Behind him was graduate forward DeAntoni Gordon with 17 points and eight rebounds.
A late Texas State comeback had Little Rock trailing 60-59 with just 3:11 left on the clock. From there, Robinson and South Florida grad transfer Jamir Chaplin combined for Trojans’ final 12 points.
“We just tried to stay locked in try to get the win every possession,” Robinson said. “We knew that we had to get a stop, [and] I had to get a rebound. I think they killed us on the offensive glass and that was really the main thing the last three minutes [was to] get the rebound, finish the possession and then go down and make good plays.”
For the Bobcats, junior Josh O’Garro led the team in scoring with 15 points to go with his eight rebounds, while junior Brandon Love finished with a double-double (13 points and 10 rebounds).
Despite being outrebounded 53-31, the Trojans’ ability to get to the line and convert on their opportunities at the charity stripe would be the catalyst, claiming 22 there.
“We got outrebounded 53 to 31 and that’s a big time concern,” head coach Darrell Walker said. “We have to figure out how to rebound the basketball, but on the other side we pressed and trapped and did 13 defenses. We forced them into 22 turnovers for 25 points, so they had that advantage on the rebound and we had been forced into turnovers and converting.”