The University of Central Arkansas’ Clarence Finley got pretty much everything he wanted Tuesday night in his coaching debut with the Bears.
Much to concern of Hendrix coach Thad McCracken, the Bears turned the game between county rivals turned into a transition game of turnovers and dunks in a 109-59 romp over the NCAA Division III Warriors at the Farris Center.
UCA had a 36-3 advantage in points off turnovers, 52-32 on points in the paint and 35-17 in fast-break points.
"Our first key to the game was taking care of the basketball and limit turnovers," said McCracken, whose young Warriors had 26 turnovers. "We handled their pressure in the frontcourt; it was not until the backcourt we got caught. When we executed in the halfcourt, we were successful."
"We tried to defend with our feet. We have speed and we still apply ball pressure," said Finley, referring to the new hand-checking rules. I’m a defense-minded coach and we’re going to hang our hat on defense. We got some turnovers and might have had more but we took the pressure off in the first half and used it only four or five minutes the second half.
"We had a lot of open looks and we knocked them down. I thought we could have finished around the basket a little better with our big people."
Freshman Jalen Jackson, nine of 12 from the field, led the Bears with 22 points. Twelve players scored for UCA and four others beside Jackson were in double figures (Daouda Berete, 14; Lennell Brown, 13; Phabian Glasco, 12; and Aubrey Ball, 10).
Hendrix was 11 of 29 from the foul line.
Luke Vance led the Warriors with 12 points and Colton Primm added 11 and Alec Conard 10. Gearen Litchfield had 11 rebounds.
The game, played before 1,527, counts as an exhibition for Hendrix, meaning it does not count on its record.
UCA will go on the road Saturday to play SIU-Edwardsville. Hendrix will travel to St. Louis this weekend with games against Fontbonne and Washington University, ranked No. 3 in NCAA Division III.