University of Central Arkansas men’s basketball coach Rand Chappell said he is excited about entering the second phase of the season.
The Bears (1-5) have completed the Hall of Fame Showcase that had them playing road games at Kansas, Memphis, Oakland University and hosting Tennessee Tech.
The four-game event netted $150,000 for the basketball program.
"We were well-paid, well-treated, well-entertained and we got to see a lot of the country, top teams, good arenas, NBA arenas; but it was a tough stretch," said Chappell at Monday’s weekly Bearbacker luncheon. "We’re ready to start another phase."
UCA travels to Nacogdoches, Texas, this weekend to play in a classic, hosted by Stephen F. Austin, in which they will play Cal State Fullerton and Southern.
Chappell said he felt the Bears played their best game of the season Saturday in a 83-75 loss to Oakland University, the favorite in the Summit League.
"We got the offense going from multiple players," he said. "There was a more positive feeling in the locker room. Our guys realized they played well and they are ready to do some good.
"You hate to call a trip in which you get beat a good trip, but our enthusiasm is up. We have shot better than 50 percent in the last three halves played, and that makes you feel good."
The bad news was that Mike Pouncy, one of the Bears’ leading scorers who was 7-of-11 against Oakland, is out indefinitely with a foot injury. He missed most of last season with a similar injury. Chappell said Pouncy has been limited in practice all season.
"But when he steps on the floor, nobody on the other team knows he’s hurt," Chappell said.
The UCA women (3-2), who have won three in a row in games against Jackson State, and Eccelsia and Central Methodist of the NAIA, face their toughest test tonight when they take on Tulsa University at 7 p.m. today at the Farris Center.
"Our kids believe they are good, but they don’t know any better," UCA coach Matt Daniel said. "I hope we can do a better job of preparation. I want our confidence to be high, but also we need a dose of reality."
Tulsa (3-1) is led by point guard Taleya Mayberry, a daughter of former Arkansas Razorback star Lee Mayberry. She is coming off a double-double in points and assists.
"Do we have a shot?" Daniels said. "I can tell you the youngest team in the country will give everything we’ve got. I don’t know if it will be tonight, but it’s coming."