Bears Basketball Team Can Earn SLC Tourney Berth with Win

Courtesy University of Central Arkansas Athletics Department

BEAUMONT, Texas _ The University of Central Arkansas Bears can punch their ticket for the 2013 Southland Conference basketball tournament with a victory over the Lamar Cardinals on Thursday night on ESPN3. 

UCA (10-16, 4-11) sits in eighth place in the league standings with three games to play. The top eight teams make the tournament field. Lamar is the only team behind UCA that could catch the Bears, but must beat UCA to remain in the hunt. Ninth-place Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is ineligible for postseason play.

The Bears, coming off an 80-78 victory over SIU-Edwardsville in last Saturday’s BracketBusters game, could earn anywhere from the sixth to the eighth berth. UCA plays at seventh-place McNeese State on Saturday and hosts third-place Oral Roberts in the season finale on March 9. 

UCA beat Lamar easily in the first meeting on Feb. 7 at the Farris Center. UCA made eight three-pointers in the first half en route to a 52-29 halftime lead. UCA forced 24 turnovers and got 48 points from its bench in winning 88-59. The win was the third in a three-game winning streak that also saw victories over A&M-Corpus Christi and McNeese State.

The Bears have just a 1-10 career record against the Cardinals and are 0-5 at the Montagne Center. However, Lamar (3-24, 1-13) has struggled this season after earning the Southland Conference’s bid to the NCAA Tournament a year ago. The Cardinals have lost four straight and 14 of their past 15 games.

On Saturday against SIU-E, junior guard LaQuentin Miles scored a team-high 20 points, while seniors Jarvis Garner and Robert Crawford added 19 and 18, respectively. UCA shot 52.8 percent from the field, its third-best outing of the season and best against a Division I team. The Bears also made 20 of 29 from the free-throw line (69 percent), including 8 of 11 down the stretch.


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