LOG CABIN DEMOCRAT
The University of Central Arkansas men ran into a buzzsaw in Lumberjack Country on Thursday.
The Bears received one of their most thorough defeats in recent history to Southland Conference leader Stephen F. Austin, 72-36, at Nacogdoches, Texas.
The outcomes wasn’t any better for the Sugar Bears, who lost their third straight game and fourth in their last five in falling back in the pack in the SLC race with a 53-48 defeat to the Lady Jacks.
Both teams will try to right themselves Saturday afternoon against Northwestern State in games at Natchitoches, La.
THE MEN: The league-leading Lumberjacks (19-2, 10-1) won their 15th consecutive game at home. The Bears (9-12, 4-7) fell back into seventh place in the SLC race.
SHUTDOWN DEFENSE: UCA entered the game with the ninth-best scoring offense in the nation at 78.7 points per game while SFA was No. 1 in scoring defense, allowing just 49.5. UCA shot just 31.3 percent overall and a mere 15.4 percent (2 of 13) from 3-point range. The Bears scored 69 points against SFA in their first meeting of the season in Conway. It is still the most points scored against the Lumberjacks this season. SFA’s streak of holding opponents under 70 points is now 53 consecutive games.
WHAT HAPPENED: "We didn’t come out and match their intensity, nor their energy,’ said UCA coach Corliss Williamson. "They are very physical here at home and they took us out of everything we wanted to do, offensively and defensively.
It was just an embarrassing performance by our team tonight.
"They got into the passing lanes, they got into our guys defensively, They pushed us back on our heels. We normally try to attack teams, but they were attacking us defensively and we never matched that energy."
STAT LEADERS: Senior forward Jarvis Garner led the Bears with 13 points.
ANOTHER CHALLENGE: Northwestern State (15-6, 9-2) is tied with Oral Roberts for second place in the SLC.
THE WOMEN: Trailing five with 30 seconds to go, the Sugar Bears missed three shots and committed two turnovers down the stretch. The loss made them 0-5 on SFA’s home court.
WHY: "I thought the effort was there, but the only thing I can say is dumb basketball," said UCA coach Sandra Rushing. "We’ve got to make smart decisions down the stretch. We’re not blocking out, we’re giving up second and third shots. We had our chance down the stretch."
The Sugar Bears (13-9, 6-5 Southland), losers of three straight Southland Conference games for the first time since 2009, shot just 27.8 percent (15 of 54) for the game and had six assists to 15 turnovers. They allowed the Ladyjacks (10-12, 5-6) 15 offensive rebounds, including 10 in the second half, and SFA got 21 points off of UCA turnovers.
"I felt like we went in with a great game plan, but some of our shots and decision-making shouldn’t be happening in February," Rushing said. "We say one thing in the huddle, then when we step out on the floor there’s another huddle. I sure would like to be involved in that huddle, I can promise you that. We leave the huddle out of the timeout, step back out on the floor, and there’s something different going on."
THE SITUATION: The UCA women fell into fifth place in the league race, four full games behind league-leader Sam Houston State (9-1), two games behind Lamar (8-3) and one behind McNeese State and ORU (7-4). The Sugar Bears are just a half-game ahead of Nicholls State (5-5).
STATS: he Sugar Bears’ starting five of Courtney Duever, Britney Gowans, Megan Herbert, Julia Mason and Tracey Parsons accounted for all but one of the Sugar Bears’ field goal attempts with none hitting more than four. Leading scorers Herbert and Duever, who had 11 each, were a combined 6 of 25 from the field. Herbert, Gowans and Parsons each had nine rebounds.
(UCA SPORTS INFORMATION CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT)