HAMMOND, LA – A promising start for the University of Central Arkansas Bears on Tuesday night turned sour quickly in an 83-58 Southland Conference loss to the Southeastern Louisiana Lions at the University Center.
UCA, trying to win its second consecutive game, grabbed an early 11-6 lead, getting three-pointers from freshmen Boo Milligan and Jordan Howard and junior Mike Martin, all in the first 3:30 of the game. But the Lions (7-16, 4-6) turned it up and outscored the Bears 42-14 the remainder of the half and carried a 48-25 lead to the locker room.It never got any closer for the Bears, who were coming off their first victory of the season on Saturday against New Orleans.
SLU shot 70 percent (21 of 30) from the field in the opening half, including 5 of 9 from three-point range, and outscored UCA 26-4 in the paint. Howard had a team-high 11 points at the break, while Justin Lobell had 11 and DeVonte Upson 10 for the Lions.
“I am about as disappointed in our effort as you can possibly be as a coach,’ said UCA head coach Russ Pennell. “I’m absolutely appalled at my team’s effort. I’ll take responsibility for that and we’ll get it corrected.
“We had guys that just didn’t just show up. And that’s unacceptable. I thought they were ready, we had a good shootaround today. I thought our preparation was good. But we really let go of the rope. We’ve got to get better than that.’
The Lions continued to flex their offensive muscle early in the second half, pushing out to a 63-30 lead in the opening five minutes. UCA played much of the second half with mainly freshmen on the court and they held their own. Albert Christensson scored all 10 of his points and pulled down four rebounds in the second half, while Mathieu Kamba finished with 11 points, seven of those in the second half.
Christensson went 4 of 5 from the field 16 minutes of action.
The Lions, who were led by Upson’s 17 points, shot 63.6 percent for the game and connected nine times from beyond the three-point line. Zay Jackson had 8 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds for SLU.
“I just didn’t think we had that fight, that fire,’ said Pennell. “Even at halftime, I challenged them but there was just nothing there. I am extremely disappointed in my team tonight, with their effort, because there is no excuse for not playing hard.’
The Bears (1-20, 1-9) return home to host the Incarnate Word Cardinals at 7 p.m. Friday night at the Farris Center.