UCA SPORTS INFORMATION
The University of Central Arkansas Bears did just enough Tuesday night to go to the holiday break with a smile on their face.
UCA (4-7) had four players in double figures to put away a scrappy Lyon College squad 81-67 before a crowd of 1,047 at the Farris Center.
UCA trailed only twice early in the game, but once the Bears got a lead for good at the 14:30 mark of the first half, the outcome was never in doubt. Senior guard Imad Qahwash tied his career high with 21 points, shooting 7 of 12 from the field, and added five assists. Senior center Carlos Dos Santos also had a career high with 19 points, hitting 6 of 9 from the field and 7 of 10 from the free-throw line.
"I’m very happy we pulled off a win heading into the Christmas break," said UCA head coach Corliss Williamson. "It will be nice to have something positive to build on when we get back. I was very proud that we were trying to take our practice to the game. That’s something we’ve struggled with in the past.
"We approached this game a lot better than we have in the past, and that’s a positive sign for us. Of course, we as coaches expect more, so we’re going to continue to push and demand more from our players. But I was very happy that we were able to find a way to win this game.’
UCA’s pressure defense forced 27 Lyon turnovers and disrupted much of the Scots’ offense. Lyon shot just 31 percent from the field in the first half and 42.3 percent for the game.
"It was nice to force some turnovers tonight," said Williamson. "I think we now have an understanding of how we want to attack. But we still need to get better. Hopefully, that 27 number, we can have a lot more times this year.
"We had several good traps out there, good rotations. There were some good things we can go back and see on the film and show our players and hopefully build on it."
The Bears, who led 40-28 at the half, pushed their lead to 20 points on a layup by Mark Rutledge with 4:55 remaining. UCA shot 44.1 percent overall and made 24 of 36 from the line.
"We had some guys that were able to score some points for us tonight," said Williamson. "We had to shorten the rotation in the second half and guys really stepped up and played well, the ones that were in there. They found a way to score."
Sophomore forward Slater Belew led the Scots (6-5) with 20 points, while freshman guard Tyler Sergent made 3 three-pointers and added 17 points.
UCA will take a nine-day holiday break before facing the University of Oklahoma on Thursday, Dec. 30. Tipoff is 7 p.m. in Norman, Okla.