BEAUMONT — The University of Central Arkansas had to work overtime and hard Thursday night to gain their first berth in the Southland Conference basketball tournament.
UCA (11-16, 5-11) needed 30 points from senior Robert Crawford and a 3-pointer from senior LaQuintin Miles at the buzzer of the first overtime to overtake Lamar (4-25, 1-14), 106-77, in double overtime Thursday night. UCA’s victory eliminated Lamar from tournament contention and clinched at least eighth place for the eight-team tournament.
THE HEROICS: Miles, who was 5 of 23 (21.7 percent) on 3-pointers previously this season, hit one from the top of the key in the final seconds to send the game into a second overtime. Crawford, seven-of-nine from 3-point range, kept the Bears alive most of the game before fouling out with 2:08 left in the first overtime.
"We tried to set up a play for Jarvis Garner," said UCA coach Corliss Williamson about the last-second strategy in the first overtime. "Rob (Crawford) and Jarvis are normally the ones we want taking that shot. We set up a play and, unfortunately, Jarvis wasn’t open. And our next option was Q and he was able to get the basketball, turn and knock down the shot.
"He thinks he’s a 3-point shooter. But I’ll take that one over any other shot he’s hit all year long."
The Bears dominated the second extra period, outscoring the Cardinals 15-8. Sophomore Oliver Wells made a 3-pointer and Miles converted a three-point play to put the game away midway through the period.
QUOTABLE: "It’s a great feeling and it’s an honor for us and this team to be the first one to represent UCA men’s basketball in the Southland Conference Tournament," said Williamson. "I’m very proud of my guys for finding a way to win this game tonight."
STATS: UCA also got 13 points from Garner and 10 points and eight rebounds from senior center Anthony Borden. Rhon Mitchell topped Lamar with 25 points as five other Cardinals also scored in double figures. Amos Wilson had 19, while Stan Brown had 17 points and 13 rebounds.
NEXT: The Bears, two games behind McNeese State in the standings with two to play, take on the Cowboys about 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles, La.
The Lady Cardinals dominated the second half, outscoring the Sugar Bears, 44-30, on the way to a 76-53 victory at the Montagne Center that propelled them into a tie for the lead in the Southland Conference women’s race. They have won seven of their last eight games.
THE SITUATION: The Sugar Bears (14-13, 7-9) are now in a tight battle from the No. 6-8 seeds in the SLC tournament. Northwestern State and Stephen F. Austin, the other teams trying to overtake them in the seeding, are now even with the UCA women in the loss column.
STATS: The Lady Cardinals, leading by nine at halftime, shot 50 percent both from the field and from 3-point range in the second half as they built a lead as large as 31. The Sugar Bears shot 31 percent for the game, including just 29 percent in the second half, and went 0-for-11 from 3-point range.
MILESTONES: Desiree’ Rogers scored 13 points for Central Arkansas to give her 1,000 for her career — making her the 22nd player in school history to reach that milestone. Megan Herbert, despite logging just 22 minutes because of early foul trouble the first half, finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds for her 81st career double-double. She surpassed 1,400 career rebounds and became just the 10th player in Division I history to tally more than 2,200 points and 1,400 rebounds in a career.
NEXT: The Sugar Bears take on McNeese State, which is involved in a torrid four-way scrap for first place in the regular season, at 2 p.m. Saturday at Lake Charles, La. Adding to the challenging situation for the UCA women is it’s Senior Day for the Baggett twins, Ashlyn and Caitlyn, two of the best players in Cowgirl history.