Bears Looking to Extend Three-Game Winning Streak

Courtesy University of Central Arkansas Athletics Department

UCA Basketball

CONWAY, Ark. _ There are worse circumstances in which to try to extend a winning streak than on your home court in front of an ESPN3 audience on “Black Out Night.”

That’s what the University of Central Arkansas Bears (8-10, 3-5) will attempt to do on Thursday night when they host the Southeastern Louisiana Lions (7-11, 5-3) in Southland Conference action. UCA has won three consecutive games for the first time since joining the SLC in 2006-07. The Bears hope to keep the momentum going Thursday at the Farris Center.

UCA led SLU 41-33 at halftime in the first meeting on Jan. 5, after shooting 61.5 percent from the field and making 7 of 10 from three-point range. But the Bears went cold in the second half, hitting just 31 percent (9 of 29) as the Lions came back for a 72-68 victory at the University Center.

“We had an opportunity to go in up at the half in the first game, but the second half we just didn’t play well,’ said Williamson. “So I think our guys have a bad taste in our mouth from that game. But we also know Southeastern is not going to come in here and lay down and just give us a win. We know it’s going to be a fight. We have to be prepared to work for it like we have been.’

UCA has beaten Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on the road and McNeese State and Lamar at home during its streak. The McNeese game was a triple overtime affair a week ago. 

The Bears are just 3-10 against the Lions overall, but are 3-3 in games played in Conway, including victories in the past two meetings at the Farris Center. The series has been a close one, score-wise, with the past seven games decided by an average of 5 points, with two games going to overtime. 

UCA made 10 three-pointers for the sixth time in Saturday’s victory over Lamar, and hit nine against McNeese State on Thursday. Senior guard Jarvis Garner tied his career highs with 38 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists against the Cowboys and earned SLC Player of the Week honors on Monday.

The Bears continue to lead the league in three-pointers made with 142 and are second in three-point percentage at 36.4 percent. UCA is second in the SLC in scoring (79.2) while Southeastern is fourth in scoring defense (69.6).

The Lions are coming off wins over Sam Houston State and A&M-Corpus Christi last week and are tied for fourth place in the standings. Guard Brandon Fortenberry leads the Lions in scoring at 13.2 points per game and Roosevelt Johnson is fourth in the league in rebounding at 8.0.

Junior forward Jordan Harks led the Bears with 17 points in the first meeting, while Garner was 4 of 4 from beyond the arc and had 14 points and 9 rebounds. Fortenberry had a game-high 23 points for the Lions.


Tip-off is approximately 7:45 following the Sugar Bears’ game.


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