THIBODAUX, La. — The good news for the University of Central Arkansas Bears on Wednesday night was holding the Southland Conference’s leading scorer below his average. The bad news was two of his teammates took up enough of the scoring slack to carry the Nicholls Colonels past the Bears 70-51 at Stopher Gym.
Senior forward Anatoly Bose, who leads the SLC at 22.9 points per game, was held to 18 points, including 13 in the first half when he played only eight minutes because of foul trouble. He got more than enough help from junior forward Fred Hunter, who led all scorers with 21 points and made 10 of 14 from the field. Freshman g"You get Bose out of the game in the first half and we just didn’t take advantage of the situation," said UCA head coach Corliss Williamson. "And we let Fred Hunter just come out and have a monster night. We talked about those two being their main scorers, and we did a decent job on Bose. But we let Fred get loose and he made us pay."
The Bears (4-13, 0-4), who held Bose to just six points in a home victory last season, stayed close in the first half, and even took a lead at 18-17 on an inside basket by senior guard Imad Qahwash. UCA shot 50 percent from the field in the first half but made only three of eight from the line. The Bears also turned the ball over 12 times and forced only five.
It began to get away from the Bears early in the second half as the Colonels (8-7, 2-2) quickly pushed their lead to 14 points on a rebound basket by Thomas. The Bears managed only two field goals and three free throws in the first nine minutes of the second half. Nicholls eventually pushed the margin to a game-high of 20 points on Hunter’s fast-break dunk with 1:43 left to play.
"We come out and shoot 27 percent in the second half," said Williamson. "We just couldn’t put the ball in the basket, and against a team that runs their offense as well as they do and has two scorers like that, it’s difficult to do. If we’re not scoring the basketball, it really makes it tough on us."
The Colonels outscored the Bears 52-26 in the paint and 25-9 off turnovers, of which the Bears had 20. UCA shot 38.6 percent from the field, brought down by the 27.3-percent effort in the second half (6 of 22). The Colonels improved to 57.7 in the second half, making 15 of 26.
Qahwash led the Bears with 12 points, while senior forward Tadre Sheppard added 11 points and eight rebounds. Poor free-throw shooting haunted the Bears again as they made only 14 of 24 (58.3 percent).
UCA continues its road trip on Saturday, taking on the Lamar Cardinals in Beaumont, Texas. Tipoff is 7:05 p.m. at the Montagne Center.