The University of Central Arkansas Bears dominated the second half Sunday afternoon in cruising past the University of the Ozarks Eagles, 99-51, in their home opener at the Farris Center.
UCA (1-1) led just 42-32 at halftime but then outscored Ozarks 57-19 in the second half. The Bears shot 55.3 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes while holding the Eagles to just 14.3 percent (4 of 28).
"You can win games on the defensive end,’ said UCA head coach Russ Pennell. "And the defense will lead to 99 points. I know some people may just look at the score and say boy, the Bears were really hot. They shot 56 percent. Well if you’re shooting layups and dunks, you want to shoot 56 percent. And the whole key to that was our pressure on the wings. They just had trouble getting into their offense.
"And if we can keep building on that, this team has a chance of being really good. Especially now that we have a guy who can protect the rim like (7-foot freshman) Hayden Koval. Hayden is an interesting player. He is 7-foot but he has a lot of guard skills. Passing is one of them, he’s and outstanding passer. And he’s only going to get more and more comfortable. I know tonight he left a couple of jumpers out there he would like to have back, because he’s a really good shooter."
The Bears got 24 points from senior guard Jordan Howard, who made 10 of 13 shots and added three assists and three steals. Koval added 12 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots, while senior Mathieu Kamba and freshman DeAndre Jones had 10 points each. UCA got points from 12 of its 14 players who played.
The Bears return to NCAA Division I action on Wednesday when they take on Top 25 UCLA at storied Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles. Game time is 10 p.m. (CST) on The Bear 91.3 and the Pac-12 Network.
Greenbrier girls basketball
Clinton defeated Greenbrier, 40-36, Friday in girls basketball.
Breleigh Simmons had nine points for the Lady Panthers and Kayla Gilpin added eight.
St. Joseph basketball
St. Joseph’s senior boys defeated South Side of Bee Branch, 59-36, Friday at the Family Activity Center.
Spencer Pope and John McKenna each had 17 points. Caleb Hiegel added nine. McKenna added eight rebounds. Jack Briggler had five assists.
St Joseph won the girls game, 47-35. Piper Mullaney led with 22 points and nine rebounds and Alexis Roach had 12 and nine rebounds.
At Kaufman, Mo., Central Baptist College’s Zach Kearney, wrestling against three NCAA Division I opponents, finished sixth in his weight class at the Maryville Kaufman/Brand Open.
Senior Deqaylon Gray went 2-2 and Jeff Williams avenged his lost against Williams Baptist by beating one of its wrestlers in the 125-pound class. JoeQuan Richardson and Darius Nathan both went 1-2 during the open.