The University of Central Arkansas Bears return home to the Farris Center tonight after a 51⁄2 day road trip last week to south Louisiana and southeast Texas.
The Bears (4-14, 0-5) have consecutive home games this week, both in Southland Conference play, beginning with the Southeastern Louisiana Lions at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The Bears will play McNeese State on Saturday (4:30) as part of an SLC doubleheader with the Sugar Bears.
"We’re glad to be back home at the Farris Center after last week’s long road trip," UCA coach Corliss Williamson said. "That will take it out of you. We played well in the first half of both games last week but not very well in the second halves. We have to put those behind us now and try to win a couple in a row at home."
The up-and-down Lions (8-8, 2-2) have lost two of their past three games, including a 66-52 setback on Saturday at Nicholls State. They already own a win over defending SLC champion Stephen F. Austin and another over current second-place McNeese State. Their other loss was to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, a team with a 7-12 overall and 2-3 conference record.
The Bears, in their first year under Williamson, have lost six consecutive games, including one in overtime to Northwestern State at home.
"We need to learn how to finish games," Williamson said. "We have a tendency to play well in the first half, then have a lull in the second half, and that has cost us. And we need to learn to defend our home court."
Southeastern, under former Valdosta State head coach Jim Yarbrough, swept the two-game series with UCA last year, but had to go to overtime to win 65-60 on Feb. 27 at the Farris Center.
UCA has started 12 different lineups this season, mostly due to injuries. Starting point guard Dewan Clayborn, from Little Rock, has missed the past two games with a knee injury. The Bears are ranked in the top six in the SLC in three categories, including fifth in scoring (71.3 ppg), fifth in 3-point percentage (33.9 percent) and sixth in 3-pointers made per game (6.5)
Southeastern enters the game fourth in scoring defense, allowing 68.4 points per game, and third in three-point percentage (34.6).