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Bears Roll To Easy Win Over Ecclesia

Jalen Jackson and Tirrell Brown combined to make 20 of 25 shots from the field to carry the University of Central Arkansas Bears to an easy 121-77 victory over the Ecclesia Royals on Monday at the Farris Center.
CONWAY, AR - Jalen Jackson and Tirrell Brown combined to make 20 of 25 shots from the field to carry the University of Central Arkansas Bears to an easy 121-77 victory over the Ecclesia Royals on Monday at the Farris Center.

The point total was the highest for a UCA team since the Bears scored 142 against Philander Smith in 1990. The Bears (3-8) broke a five-game losing streak to gain some momentum before opening Southland Conference play at home on Thursday night.

Jackson, a freshman from West Memphis, scored 21 points and pulled down 9 rebounds, hitting 10 of 15 shots from the field. He also added a team-high 7 assists and tied for the lead with 4 steals. Brown, a sophomore from Jacksonville playing just his third game of the season, was even sharper, going 10 of 10 from the field for career highs of 20 points and 11 rebounds.

"We've been trying to get Jalen more shot-ready,' said UCA head coach Clarence Finley. "He's similar to Paul Pierce in that he's going to play at certain pace. He was open a couple of times to where he could have shot the three but he passed it up. We've been riding him pretty hard to shoot the ball when he's open.

"But he did have 7 assists, and I think he had 5 in the last game. He's definitely a complete player. He's a very good freshman.'

Ecclesia (3-11), came out ready to play, getting a pair of early three-pointers from Austin Burroughs to take as much as a six-point lead over the opening seven minutes of action. But the Bears got their pressure defense and running game going after that and sprinted out to a 53-27 halftime lead. using a 40-8 scoring run to end the half.

UCA's defense forced 20 turnovers in the first half and 28 for the game.

"We didn't get off to a great start,' said Finley. "We wanted to come out and pressure them, and we did, but we didn't get our rotations down and they hit some threes. No. 32 (Burroughs) got a little hot on us early. We have to get that down better on Thursday night when we start Southland Conference play.

"But we did cause 28 turnovers, which is what we wanted to do. We wanted to be in the 20 range so we accomplished that. And most of our points (40) came off turnovers.'

The Bears never let up in the second half, leading by as much as 47 points and placing five players in double figures for the second time this season. LaQuentin Miles, the reigning SLC Player of the Week, had 14 points, as did freshman Ethan Lee. Senior DeShone McClure added 10 points and 5 assists as UCA finished with a season-high 26 assists.

All 12 UCA players scored, with no one playing more than Jackson's 28 minutes. The Bears outrebounded the Royals 49-33. Burroughs led Ecclesia with 19 points, hitting 5 of 8 from three-point range. Phillip Foster added 17 points, while Devin Goodwin had 10 points and a team-high 7 rebounds.

Ecclesia, located in Springdale, is coached by former UCA player and graduate assistant T.K. Smith. He is assisted by former UCA guard Mike Pouncy.

UCA hosts Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 7:30 Thursday in its SLC opener, and is also at home Saturday afternoon against league newcomer Houston Baptist.
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