No. 7 Bears Upend No. 6 Islanders to Live Another Day

first_imgDefense has been the key to UCA’s revival and it continued on Wednesday as the Bears allowed fewer than 65 points for the fifth time in their six-game run. After watching the Islanders (14-18) connect on three of their first four 3-point attempts in the first 3:02 of the contest, UCA clamped down on A&M-CC’s long-range attack, holding them to just 4-of-24 the remainder of the night. Box Score | Photo GalleryKATY, Texas — After losing seven straight and nearly capsizing their chances to return to the Southland Conference men’s basketball tournament, Central Arkansas’ recent run has its title hopes afloat for at least one more day. UCA put together a key run capped off by a pair of free throws from Hayden Koval (15 points, 11 rebounds) that stretched the lead to 51-41 at the 8:33 mark. A&M-CC would never get closer than nine points. The Islanders relied on the shooting of guard Jashawn Talton in the first half. Talton scored 17 of the team’s 25 first half points, going 6-for-9 from the field while his teammates managed only three field goals in 20 attempts. However, UCA’s locker room adjustments resulted in Talton going scoreless after intermission – a critical blow to A&M-CC’s hopes of closing the deficit. Thatch Unruh scored 21 points while an aggressive Bears defense limited Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to just 33.9 percent from the field on their way to a 73-53 win over the Islanders in an opening round game at Merrell Center on Wednesday night. The victory pushes seventh-seed UCA (14-18) to a 7:30 p.m. date against third-seed Southeastern Louisiana on Thursday.MBB: @UCAMBB Unruh hits one from waaaaaaaay downtown. @islandersmbb Clark counters with jam. Bears up 62-50 w/ 1:35 remaining. Winner gets @SLU_Hoops.?? https://t.co/dZeRYkvDI1???? @espn apps #ShakasUp #BearClawsUp #SouthlandStrong ?? #ChampWeek pic.twitter.com/5j74J5KGmA— #SouthlandStrong (@SouthlandSports) March 14, 2019“I thought our guys really competed hard,” said Bear’s coach Russ Pennell, whose team has won five of their last six. “I thought (Wednesday) was an extension of what we’ve been doing. How long we can do that, I don’t know, but right now with the enthusiasm and the effort that the guys are putting in, I wouldn’t think they’re going to have much of a letdown.” Still, the Islanders were able to pull within 42-38 when South hit a pair of free throws with 12:51 remaining. It would be as close as they would get as the flash of offensive production they showed early in the second half faded away.MBB: @UCAMBB with the exclamation point courtesy of Mondesir. BOOM!Bears win 73-53 over the Islanders. UCA advances to face @SLU_Hoops Thursday. 7:30 start inside @MerrellCenter. #BearClawsUp #SouthlandStrong ?? #ChampWeek pic.twitter.com/GFsAcd85rV— #SouthlandStrong (@SouthlandSports) March 14, 2019 The duo of Kareem South and Emmanuel Toney were unable to get into an offensive groove. Combined, the pair hit on just three of 20 shots, including 1-for-10 from 3-point range.“We weren’t locked in defensively as we needed to be,” said Islanders’ coach Willis Wilson. “There were just situations where the ball just did not bounce our way. We had some shots that went in and out. We had a couple of balls that we struggled to get the handle on. Things just kind of escalated.”last_img

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