With the score tied at almost the same juncture Thursday night, the University of Central Arkansas Sugar Bears stopped a key run and the Bears sustained a major one.
With double victories over Southeastern Louisiana Thursday night, the UCA basketball teams try for a homestand sweep Saturday afternoon against the University of New Orleans. The women’s game begins the action at 2 p.m.
The Bears (5-15, 2-7) mounted an 18-0 run after trailing 59-56 with 12:04 left on the way to a 84-71 victory over the Lions (9-11, 4-5).
During that spurt, the Lions, who led by eight early in the second half, went 6:11 without scoring as the Bears took complete control of the contest.
UCA had 19 assists during the game and were able to get the ball for some inside baskets and get to the free-throw line during the run.
The Bears, a weak free-throw shooting team all season, had a 14-point advantage at the free-throw line as they made 21 of 31 (67.7 percent) while the Lions were seven of 14. UCA had a 36-24 advantage in points in the paint and 36-29 in bench points.
“We got some good assists and got the ball to the basket,” said coach Clarence Finley. “We got into the bonus at a good time and we just kept trying to take the ball to the rack and made some free throws. We were making a lot of them there for awhile, but we ended up at 67 percent. But at least Southeastern took one of our poison pills and shot 50 percent from the line.”
KEY JUNCTURE: With the score tied at 59, DeShone McClure hustled to save a ball from going out of bounds and DuShaun Rice responded with a basket to give UCA the lead for good. Tirrell Brown, 6-foot-5. maneuvered for two straight inside baskets then LaQuentin Miles, who scored 21 points, took over the game with eight straight points.
“We got some stops and set up some cuts that got us some baskets inside,” Finley said.
KEY STATS: Miles hit 11 of 15 free throws as UCA led by 15 at its greatest juncture of the second half.
The Bears’ Jacksonville trio combined for 49 points (Miles, 21, McClure, 15, and Brown, 13. Rice added 12 points for the Bears.
TRYING FOR A STREAK: The UCA men have not won two games in a row all season.
Kelsey McClure, a freshman from Muskogee, Okla., scored only two points against Southeastern, but coach Sandra Rushing said she was a key to the 69-60 victory against the Lady Lions.
“She hit the boards; she attacked when we needed her to,” said Rushing. “When we needed someone to put it on the floor, she took it to the lane. She did a lot of things that don’t show up on the stat sheet.”
The Sugar Bears (14-7, 8-2) led almost wire to wire but held up after the Lady Lions (6-15, 5-4) took a 53-53 with 9:55 left.
“I’m happy we fought through that,” said Rushing. “We could have folded. Every game is going to be a fight for us, at home and on the road.”
KEY JUNCTURES: With the score tied at 58, Courtney Duever turned a putback into a three-point play to give the Sugar Bears the lead for good with 8:29 left, then hit 13 of 17 free throws (six in a row in the final 47.4) to pull away.
The UCA women benefitted from a technical foul on the Southeastern Louisiana bench while leading only 67-63 with 4:01 left. Terai Sadler made one of two free throws, then scored inside after UCA regained possession to put the UCA lead at 70-63.
KEY STATS: Duever, who scored only four points the first half, finished with 20 and 12 rebounds, including eight of 11 from the foul line. Terai Sadler added 17 and six rebounds. Brianna Mullins added 12 points. Maggie Proffitt scored 11 in the first, then saw limited action after suffering a leg injury the second half.
Aja Gibson, 6-foot-1, scored 18 points. Nanna Pool, 6-1 and the leading rebounder in the Southland Conference, added 16 and 13 rebounds. “I think they are probably the best duo of inside players in the conference,” said Rushing.
Even though the Lady Lions shot 50 percent from the field (24 of 48), they managed only 48 shots against the Sugar Bears. UCA shot 63 times and gained an eight-point advantage in made field goals even though they shot 44.4 percent.
The Sugar Bears led, 13-5, in second-chance points.