The University of Central Arkansas’ Jordan Harks found another gear Saturday afternoon and gave the Bears a lot of octane at the close of a four-game homestand.

During a 1:46 stretch late in the game, Harks, a 6-foot-8 junior, hit two free throws, got a putback and hit a 3-pointer (the first of his career) to help the Bears to a 79-76 victory over Nicholls State, ending their homestand with a 3-1 mark. Those shots occurred from 5:25 to 3:39. Harks also gave the Bears the lead for good at 9:18 on a rebound basket he turned into a three-point play.

"I think it actually started with Jordan’s defense; that got him going," said UCA coach Corliss Williamson. "He was playing very aggressively on Fred Hunter (the Colonels’ 6-8 post who still had 36 points and 11 rebounds). Jordan gave us energy and aggressiveness. He’s been on us about shooting the 3-pointer because he has been working on it all summer. When it left his hand, you could tell it was going in."

The Bears (8-11, 3-6) trailed by 15 at 11:02 in the first half but cut that lead to 47-43 by halftime.

"We tried to push the tempo the second half and attack the basket," said Williamson. "When we are attacking, we are at our best. When our offense goes stagnant, our defense can produce offense for us."

Harks’ 3-pointer gave UCA a 75-65 lead with 3:39 left. The Colonels (6-13, 4-5) drew within 78-76 with 12.1 seconds left on a power basket by Hunter and a 3-pointer by Amin Torres. The Bears got three free throws by Robert Crawford and withstood a long 3-point attempt by Torres at the buzzer.

"A number of guys stepped up tonight," said Williamson. "Our guys kept fighting and kept fighting. This should give us confidence and momentum going on the road."

The Bears had advantages of 25-11 on second-chance points, 17-6 in points off turnovers and 32-16 in bench points.

Crawford, who hit 11 of 12 free throws, had 19 points and Harks had 13 and six rebounds. Eleven UCA players scored.

The Bears play Thursday night at Stephen F. Austin.

(David McCollum can be reached at 501-505-1235 or