A 13-point opening run by the University of New Orleans Privateers was too much for the Bears to overcome in an 87-67 loss Jan. 26 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Freshman guard Thatch Unruh said UNO was more prepared than UCA.
“They came out with more energy and jumped on us, and we didn’t respond hard enough,” he said.
The Privateers (6-11, 2-6 Southland Conference) took an early two-point lead on a layup by senior forward Terrance Syon and didn’t look back.
UCA (0-18, 0-7 SLC) was held scoreless until freshman guard Jordan Howard made a layup three minutes and seven seconds into the game, bringing the score to 13-2.
Syon answered with a layup, bringing the margin back to 13 before UCA freshman guard Mathieu Kamba made one of two shots from the free-throw line.
The two teams traded baskets until the 12-minute-34-second mark when Kamba made a layup, cutting the deficit down to nine points.
This would be the final time in the first half that the UNO lead would be in single digits.
Over the next four minutes and five seconds, the Privateers built their lead up to 15 before taking their largest lead of the half at 19 with five minutes and five seconds left in the half.
Heading into halftime, UNO led 50-33, with Privateers’ senior guard Kevin Brown leading all scorers with 14 points.
Howard led the Bears in scoring at halftime, making three of four shots from the field, giving him seven points.
The Privateers shot 69 percent from the field, while UCA shot 40 percent.
The second half’s start fared better for the Bears, as junior center Jake Zuilhof made a layup, bringing the score to 50-35.
UNO increased its lead to 19 after a pair of free throws by sophomore guard Christavious Gill and a layup on a fast break by Brown.
Howard answered with a 3-pointer off an assist from junior guard Mike Martin, cutting UNO’s lead down to 16.
The Privateers stormed back, bringing the lead to 20 after Brown and Syon hit layups.
UCA struggled to get back in the game, cutting the lead down to 16 again, but the UNO offense was too much to overcome.
The Privateers kept pouring on the points, leading by 26 with two minutes and 40 seconds left in the game.
The Bears managed to get within 20 points by the game’s end, but suffered their 20th straight loss and their 18th for the season.
UNO junior forward Kevin Hill led the Privateers in scoring in the second half, making three of five shots from the field, giving him nine points for the half.
He also grabbed seven rebounds in the half and finished the game with 18 points and nine rebounds.
Howard added nine points in the second half, finishing with 16 for the game.
Brown led all scorers in the game with 21 points.
In addition to Brown and Hill, Syon and Gill reached double figures for UNO, scoring 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The Bears had four players reach double figures, including Howard.
Unruh finished with 11, while freshman small forward Boo Milligan finished with 10 and Kamba finished with 12.
The Privateers shot well in the second half, finishing with a 60.4 shooting percentage, while the Bears finished with a 39.6 shooting percentage.
The Bears played better in the second half, only getting outscored by three.
Howard credited the strong second half play to figuring out the UNO team.
“We broke the press and took care of the ball much better,” he said.
Following a game against the Northwestern State University Demons on Feb. 2, the Bears finish up their two-game homestand against UNO at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 7 as the second part of a double header behind the Sugar Bears’ game.