Corliss Williamson said his first University of Central Arkansas basketball team lost games on both ends on the spectrum last week — and he wasn’t referring to playing in Conway and Hawaii.
At the Farris Center, the Bears succumbed to a second-half comeback by Missouri-Kansas City. The Bears played better in the second half Friday in an 83-69 loss to the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.
"In the second half against Hawaii, we got within nine points and gave ourselves an opportunity to pull an upset," said Williamson, whose team hosts Champion Baptist at 4 p.m. today, then travels to SMU for a Sunday game.
"In the first half against Hawaii, we had an issue with finding their 3-point shooters, then we lost our composure," said Williamson at Monday’s weekly Bearbacker luncheon. "One good thing is we got 23 points off turnovers the second half."
He added, "This group is starting to play extremely hard, but we are not playing as smart as I’d like us to. If we can keep that effort and energy, and if we can clean up some things, by conference time, I think we can be able to contend for a championship."
The UCA women lost two games (to Morehead State and to Norfolk State in overtime) in a tournament at Morehead, Ky., before routing Houston Baptist on Sunday.
"It (the two losses) were not what we wanted, but maybe they were what we needed," said coach Matt Daniel. "We learned a lot about ourselves, individually and collectively."
The Sugar Bears got put out of it early against Morehead State. It was different against Morehead State.
"We got beat in overtime and I felt we had that game on about six different occasions," Daniel said. "We had the ball with nine seconds left in regulation and all we had to do was keep it and we threw it away. We had the ball with the lead with two seconds left in overtime and we just had to hold it and we turned it over and were called for a foul.
He said he was encouraged by transfer guard Jelessa Williams’ six assists and one turnover after coming off an injury.
"We have a long way to go," Daniel said. "If we grow together, we’ll have a good team, not just good talent."
The Sugar Bears, who play seven of their next eight games at home, host Belmont College at 2 p.m. Saturday and then will host Lipscomb on Monday night.