Jan. 26, 2013
CONWAY, Ark. - Central Arkansas knocked down 10 3-pointers Saturday afternoon at the Farris Center in handing Lamar University an 88-59 Southland Conference men's basketball defeat and beating the Cardinals for the first time ever.
Lamar, which is now 2-18 overall and 0-8 in Southland Conference play, had been 10-0 all-time against UCA. The Bears, who scored 34 points off 25 Lamar turnovers, improved to 8-10 on the year and 3-5 in league play.
After Amos Wilson scored the opening basket of the game, UCA's pressing defense and outside shooting turned the tide back to the home team. The Bears used a 25-6 run to build a 25-8 lead with 12:22 to play in the first half.
Senior Nikko Acosta slammed home a dunk on a feed from Keilan Blanks to stop the run, but Lamar never got within single digits the rest of the game. After falling behind 35-11, Donley Minor knocked down a 3-pointer to cap an 11-0 LU run that made the score 35-22 with 5:27 to play in the first half.
The Cardinals would get no closer the rest of the way, and a Zach Padgett trey with 11 seconds to play gave UCA a 52-29 halftime lead. UCA, which averaged 7.8 makes from 3-point range on the year, hit eight in the first half.
The Bears also scored 23 points off 14 LU turnovers in the first half as the youthful Cardinal guards had trouble breaking the press.
"They just played harder than us," said LU head coach Pat Knight about the outcome. "The reason they've won three games in a row is because they play harder than everybody. When you play hard, you have a chance. I thought when we started the older guys were playing hard, but the younger guys just went through the motions.
"We just panic and make bad passes. If we don't correct it, we can't beat anybody. We just have made bad decisions with the ball, but the problem is, all of our guards are doing it. We have no one else to go to and we need some guys to grow up and play better."
UCA opened the second half on a 10-3 run to build a 30-point lead at 62-32. The Bears' biggest lead came with 5:44 to play in the game on an Alexander Ridley dunk that made the score 84-48. Lamar outscored the Bears 11-4 over the final five minutes.
Despite their frenetic pace of play, UCA turned it over just 12 times in the game. The Bears outrebounded Lamar just 47-45, but pulled down 17 offensive rebounds and finished the game with 26 more shot attempts than the Cardinals.
Lamar was 18-of-56 (32.1 percent) from the floor, but did hit 3-of-6 from 3-point range and a solid 20-of-26 from the free throw line. UCA shot only 32-of-82 (39.0 percent), but picked up 16 steals and hit 14 of its 18 free throw attempts.
Just one game after scoring a career-high 25 points at Oral Roberts, Blanks struggled to a 1-of-6 shooting effort and five points. The freshman guard did have four assists and three rebounds, but also committed five turnovers in the game.
Freshman Brennan Doty was the only Cardinal to score in double-figures, finishing with a personal-best 10 points in eight minutes off the bench. Doty was 5-of-6 from the free throw line and hit one of Lamar's 3-pointers with 17 seconds to play in the game.
Senior guard Donley Minor finished with nine points and pulled down a career-high seven rebounds. Freshman Rhon Mitchell matched Minor with nine points, adding five rebounds.
Wilson, who turned 23 years old Saturday, scored eight points and led the Cardinals with eight rebounds. He would add two of Lamar's season-high nine blocked shots and had half of LU's four steals.
Four Bears scored in double-figures and 12 different players scored in the game. LaQuentin Miles had 12 points, while Robert Crawford, Ryan Williams and Padgett scored 10 each. Anthony Borden added seven points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots.
DeShone McClure scored just five points off the UCA bench, but added six assists and six steals while committing zero turnovers.
Lamar will return home for its next game when the Cardinals host Northwestern State on Thursday evening at 7:30.