Contrasting styles clash in UCA-SFA game

Something has to give Thursday night when one of the top scoring teams in the Southland Conference takes on the stingiest team in the league at 7:30 p.m. at the Farris Center.

The University of Central Arkansas Bears are averaging 79.2 points per game, second in the SLC, while the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks are allowing just 48.5 points. That figure leads the nation among 345 NCAA Division I teams.

The men’s game will follow the women’s contest, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. The Sugar Bears have begun the conference season 2-0.

“They (the Lumberjacks) are a really, really good defensive team,’ said UCA head coach Corliss Williamson. “They have shut down nearly everyone they have played this year. We are going to have to come out and execute as well as we have all season on Thursday night.”

The Lumberjacks are 12-1 overall and 3-0 in conference play. Their lone loss was at Texas A&M on Dec. 5, a 62-54 setback. Since then, SFA has won seven straight games, including league wins over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (67-56), Lamar (79-43) and McNeese State (71-43).

The Lumberjacks have held three opponents to fewer than 40 points this season, and seven under 50 points.

UCA (5-7, 0-2) had two four-point SLC losses last week, at Nicholls State and at Southeastern Louisiana. The Bears enter the game with two players ranked in the Top 5 in the SLC in scoring. Senior forward Jarvis Garner is third at 15.9 points, while senior guard Robert Crawford is fourth at 15.8.

UCA, which is 0-8 against SFA since joining the league in 2006-07, hopes to return the services of junior All-SLC guard LaQuentin Miles, who has missed the past five games with a broken hand. Miles was averaging 13.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists when he was injured.

UCA teams continue the homestand Saturday against Northwestern State with games at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

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