Demons sink Bears with perimeter attack

UCA SPORTS INFORMATION

 

NATCHITOCHES, La. — Northwestern State’s fast-paced offense is hard to defend, but Saturday it was the Demons’ perimeter attack that did in the University of Central Arkansas Bears, for the second time this season.

The Demons (16-6, 10-2) nailed 11 three-pointers and pulled away in the second half to down the Bears 93-73 in Southland Conference action at Prather Coliseum.

It was the second time this season that the Demons made 10-plus threes against UCA. They hit a season-high 12 in the first meeting in Conway, a 100-88 Demons’ victory.

“Northwestern State is playing excellent basketball right now,’ UCA head coach Corliss Williamson said of the Demons, who have won six consecutive games. “Both teams kind of mirror each other in how we want to play, our approach to the game. But tonight, they were just better than us.

“But the thing about it, I was proud of our guys the way we fought. As much as I hate losing, I can accept a loss when I know our guys were out here fighting like men. You just have to tip your hat to Northwestern. They played a heck of a game.’

The two highest-scoring offenses in the SLC combined for 46 turnovers, with NSU scoring 36 points off UCA’s 25 miscues.

“We closed out some on their shooters, but sometimes we were a little late getting their, and they were able to knock down shots. They do a great job of penetrating and kicking the ball out and finding the shooters. And they’ll do it two or three times and wear your defense down. Eventually they get someone open.’

The Bears shot just 33.3 percent in the first half and trailed 45-34. UCA was within three points at 23-20 with nine minutes left but the Demons pulled away down the stretch. UCA’s defense forced 13 turnovers but the Bears turned it over 14 times themselves, with the Demons scoring 23 points off those turnovers.

NSU made 6 of 15 from three-point range, while UCA was 3 of 9.

The Demons allowed UCA to get as close as five points early in the second half on a three-pointer by Robert Crawford. But NSU continued to hit from outside, and rebound the majority of its misses, to stretch the lead. The NSU margin reached a high of 23 with 2:07 left to play.

Garner led the Bears with 13 points, while DeShone McClure scored 12 and LaQuentin Miles added 10. The Demons had five players in double figures, led by Brison White with 20 points.

“Turnovers was one of the things we talked about at halftime that was going to continue hurt us for the rest of the game,’ said Williamson. “When we did get them to turn the basketball over, we couldn’t convert on the other end. We couldn’t make layups or tip-ins, jump shots. That really hurt us because they did a great job on capitalizing on ours.’

The Bears return home for a pair of games next week, hosting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Thursday night and Sam Houston State on Saturday afternoon.

 

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