Three-point barrage not enough for Bears

CONWAY — The University of Central Arkansas Bears made a season-high 13 three-pointers Sunday but came up short in a 79-74 loss to the New Orleans Privateers in the final game of the Central Arkansas Classic at the Farris Center.

UCA got five three-pointers from freshman Tucker Anderson and four from graduate Daniel Sofield but it was not enough to overcome a season-high 24 turnovers, 17 of those coming in the first half.

The Bears, down by as much as 16 points in the opening half, fought their way back into the game by hitting 10 of 21 from behind the arc in the second half. That total of 10 would have been a season high by itself. 

UCA used a 10-0 scoring run early in the second half, and a 12-4 run midway through the half to eventually grab a 55-54 lead. Freshman Javion Guy-King scored 10 consecutive points and put the Bears ahead with 13:00 to play. After the Privateers (3-3) re-took the lead four minutes later, Anderson started the second run with a three-pointer and Sofield ended it with another, good for a 72-67 lead with 4:15 remaining.

The Privateers, who lost to North Dakota in overtime on Saturday in the classic, hit two straight three-pointers to grab the lead for good with 2:25 on the clock and ended up finishing the game on a 12-2 run.

Five of UCA’s last six losses have been by an average of just 3.2 points per game.

“I think we had some tired bodies out there,” said UCA head coach Anthony Boone. “Maybe we should have subbed a little more. But that group was doing really well and really got us over the hump there to take the lead. But what really doomed us were the turnovers in the first half, that really got us. And the last so many games now we’ve done a really good job of taking care of the ball.

“But this game was just different. We came out and turned it over quite a bit, especially the first half. The second half was a lot better.”

The Bears shot better from three-point range (46.4 percent) than they did overall (41.8 percent) and also made 15 of 20 (75 percent) at the free-throw line. UCA won the rebound battle 40-34 for the fifth time this season, led by sophomore Glory Etim with nine, and eight players with at least two each.

Anderson finished with 18 points, two short of tying his season high, and added five rebounds. Sofield scored a season-high 17 points along with four rebounds and four assists. Guy-King came off the bench and added 10 points (2 of 3 from three-point range), five rebounds and three assists.

“Tucker was great on both ends,” said Boone of the 6-foot-9 freshman from Centerton, Ark. “It was exciting to see. Hopefully we’ll get some repeat performances from him.”

The Bears were playing their eighth game of the season Saturday and only three players (Elias Cato, Masai Olowokere, Johannes Kirsipuu) have participated in all three games due to injuries and illness.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to put it together with the pieces we do have,” said Boone. “We’re doing some really good things, it’s just a few things here and there. Today was taking care of the ball. Hopefully this is just a blip with the turnovers.” 

UCA hits the road for a long road trip next Wednesday when they face Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, and Hawaii in Honolulu on Sunday, Dec. 3.