It was a grind-it-out game and the University of Central Arkansas Bears grind.
Caught in a surprising overtime game by the normal high-scoring Northwestern State Demons, the UCA men prevailed at the foul line and on sheer gumption for a 61-58 victory over the Demons (4-25, 1-17) at the Farris Center.
Senior Mathieu Kamba's power baseline drive for a basket with 16.9 left proved to be the difference in a game UCA trailed most of the way.
Jordan Howard, playing his final game on his home court, hit 9 of 9 free throws and finished with 26 points in taking the Bears (16-15, 10-8) on his back late in the game.
"He did a great job of driving and creating shots," said UCA coach Russ Pennell. "If he doesn't get Southland Player of the Year, it's the biggest robbery since the Dalton Gang."
At one point in the fourth quarter, Pennell took his starters out, then put them back in like a hockey line change.
"I didn't like the energy," he said. "I needed to talk to all five at once. I told them I wanted energy. I had to do something to change the tempo."
NSU coach Tom McConathey played a possession game that frustrated the Bears.
"They tried to shorted the game and that confused us," Pennell said. "Combining that with Senior Day was a bad recipe."