KATY, Texas — With two more players receiving recognition, University of Central Arkansas basketball teams are set to begin play Wednesday in the Southland Conference tournament here at the Leonard E. Merrell Center.
The Sugar Bears (15-14) will play Stephen F. Austin (13-16) in the first round at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Winner will play Lamar at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
The seventh-seeded Bears (13-16) take on sixth-seeded Sam Houston State (15-16) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Winner will play Oral Roberts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
The title games will be at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Winners will get automatic bids to the NCAA tournament.
The Bears make their first appearance in the tournament after Jarvis Garner and LaQuentin Miles were named to the All-Southland Conference third team on Tuesday while guard Robert Crawford was an honorable mention selection.
Garner, a senior from Conway, is the No. 3 scorer (16.1 ppg) and No. 8 rebounder (6.9 rpg) in the Southland, while Miles, a junior from Jacksonville, is eighth in scoring (15.6), sixth in steals (1.5) and 10th in assists (3.0).
Garner, a two-time SLC Player of the Week, has two of the top scoring games in the league this season. He scored 38 points twice, in victories over Central Baptist and McNeese State. He closed out the regular season with a 34-point effort last Saturday in an overtime win over third seed Oral Roberts at the Farris Center. Garner scored in double figures 23 times this season and recorded seven double-doubles.
Miles, who missed five games with a broken hand, scored in double figures in 21 of the 24 games he played in this season, with a high of 25 against McNeese State. He also had a career-high 10 assists in the same game. Miles was a third-team selection to the All-SLC team a year ago.
Crawford led the league in 3-point shooting at 43.5 percent and had the highest scoring game of the season with 39 points in UCA’s win over Southeast Missouri in December. Crawford’s 84 3-pointers this season is the second-best season mark in UCA history, trailing only Rodney Dean’s 94 in 1998-99. He scored in double figures 20 times and made at least one three pointers in all but two games, with a high of seven three times.
The Bears lost twice to Sam Houston State during the regular season, 63-52 and 80-75. They split with ORU, losing 94-65 in Tulsa and winning Saturday, 86-84 in overtime, at the Farris Center.
The Sugar Bears split with SFA, winning 57-54, in Nacogdoches and losing, 53-45, at Conway. They also split with Lamar, winning 67-62 in overtime at Conway and losing, 76-69, in Conway.
Earlier in the week, the Sugar Bears’ Megan Herbert received her third Player of the Year honor while Courtney Duever was named to the all-conference third team.