The University of Central Arkansas Sugar Bears outscored Houston Baptist, 38-22 in the second half Saturday on the way to their second straight Southland Conference victory, 67-54, at the Farris Center.
UCA scored in the first 36 seconds of the second half to take the lead from the Huskies (4-9, 0-2) and kept it the rest of the way as they outscored HBU 38-22 over the final 20 minutes.
The Huskies trailed by one with under 14 minutes to go, but the Sugar Bears then scored six straight to push the lead to 49-42 with 12:05 remaining. HBU strung a couple of baskets together a few moments later to trim the Sugar Bear lead to 53-50 with eight minutes remaining, but UCA countered with a 12-0 run over the next six minutes to put the game away with a 65-50 lead with 2:14 to go.
Sophomore guard Jameka Watkins, making her second start of the season, scored a career-high 17 points — hitting five of eight from the field, including both of her 3-point attempts, and five of six from the free-throw line. She also added two rebounds, steals and assists.
“We’d talked to her — the last game they were backing off and letting her shoot and she wasn’t always looking to shoot,” said UCA coach Sandra Rushing. “Today, she came up to me and told me she was looking to shoot. And it worked out for us.”
Courtney Duever had 14 points for the Sugar Bears and Rice added 10, including four of five at the free-throw line. Rice also tied a career high with a team-leading eight rebounds as the Sugar Bears dominated the glass 41-24.
“We shot 75 percent at the free-throw line and outrebounded them and that’s the difference in the ballgame,” Rushing said. “That’s something we’ve talked about — rebounding and defense wins championships.”
After being home for their last six games, the Sugar Bears will take to the road for their next three. After an open date on Thursday, they’ll travel to Tulsa to take on Oral Roberts on Saturday, then head to Texas for a two-game swing at Southland Conference newcomers Incarnate Word and Abilene Christian the following week.
The UCA men closed the first half with a 14-2 run and never looked back on the way to a 86-69 victory over Houston Baptist to even their SLC record at 1-1.
The Bears (4-9, 1-1) shot 50.8 percent from the field and held a 53-34 advantage in points in the paint over the Huskies (3-11, 0-2). They added 12 second-chance points.
The Huskies shot 38.7 percent.
LaQuentin Miles led the Bears with 22 points on 10-of-18 shooting. DeShone McClure was seven of 12 from the field on the way to 19 points. Tirrell Brown had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The Hendrix College women’s basketball team wrapped up its nonconference schedule by downing Centenary College, 81-69, at Grove Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
The victory was the third straight for the Warriors, who improve to 6-6 on the season.
For the game, the Warriors shot a season-best 43.5 percent (30-of-69) overall, 3-of-10 from outside and 18-of-28 at the free throw line. The Ladies (0-9) shot 35.4 percent (23-of-65) from the floor, 1-of-7 from outside and 22-of-27 at the foul line. Hendrix held a 46-41 rebound advantage and had a season-best 10 blocked shots and a season-low 10 turnovers.
Freshman guard Taylor Neal led the Warriors with 16 points to go with two assists, two blocks and a steal. Freshman forward Anna King came off the bench for 12 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Sophomore point guard Caitlin Kriesel-Bigler added 11 points and dished out a career-high 10 assists, tied for the fourth most in school history. Freshman guard Melanie Martin scored a season-best 10 points and senior center Jamie Tate had nine points, 11 rebounds and two steals. Sophomore forward Katy Gallien chipped in seven points.
Hendrix will resume Southern Athletic Association play Friday when it hosts Oglethorpe at 6 p.m.
Conway Lady Wampus Cats (11-2) defeated Prairie Grove, 67-52, Friday in the semifinals of the Siloam Springs tournament.
The Lady Cats had four players in double figures. Alexis Tolefree with 16, Jordan Danberry with 14, Christin Rogers with 11, and Hailey Estes with 10.