The UCA men’s basketball team won the season opener against cross-city rival Hendrix College 109-59 on Nov. 19 and lost Nov. 16 to the Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville Cougars 100-93.
The Bears (1-1) shot 45.8 percent from behind the three-point line and 49.4 percent from the field in the first game under Interim Coach Clarence Finley.
UCA had eight returning players, with two sitting for unsatisfactory grades.
Turnovers were an early key for the UCA defense, as it was able to jump to an early lead over the Warriors (1-1).
The Bears led Hendrix at half 57-25, forcing 15 turnovers and scoring 21 points off them.
Finley said the team will put an emphasis on defense this season.
“Last season, we didn’t have much defense so we wanted to focus on that more this season,” he said.
Freshman forward Jalen Jackson scored 16 of his final 22 points and all three of his three-point shots in the first half. He finished the game shooting 75 percent from the field and added three rebounds and four steals.
Sophomore guard Daouda Berete, junior guard Abrey Ball, freshman forward Phabian Glasco and junior guard Lenell Brown recorded double digits in scoring for the Bears.
UCA had a plus-five in rebounds and 15 more steals than Hendrix.
Three Warriors reached the double digit mark, with junior forward Luke Vance leading the way with 12 points.
Senior guard DeShone McClure said the younger players on the team stepped up.
“We played mostly young guys to let them get used to college ball and they played well,” he said.
McClure was the Bears’ lone senior on the court.
The Bears traveled to Edwardsville, Ill. for the second game of the season to play the Cougars (1-2).
Despite outrebounding SIUE 36 to 32, UCA was unable to gain its second win of the season.
Jackson continued his strong play, as he shot 60 percent from the field and led the team in scoring with 23 points. He led the team in rebounds with three offensive and five defensive.
McClure and junior guard Oliver Wells were the other Bears reach in double digits with 22 and 21 respectively.
UCA shot 38.7 percent from the field, while the Cougars shot 53.1 percent.
The Bears’ missed shots caused them to fall behind in the first half trailing 39-47 at half.
UCA corrected its mistakes on shooting and was able to shoot 54.3 percent from the field and outscored the Cougars in the second half but was unable to take the lead.
The Bears had one more turnover than SIUE and made seven more three-pointers than the Cougars.
Field goal percentages differed between the two with UCA shooting 47 percent and SIUE shooting 55.9 percent.
The Cougars shot 10 percent higher than the Bears from the free throw line.
Six SIUE players reached double digits in points and was led by senior guard Tim Johnson’s 21 points.
Senior guard Christian Salecich led the Cougars in assists with eight.
The Bears will host Louisiana Tech at 7 p.m. tonight in the Farris Center and will then travel to Jonesboro to face the Arkansas State Red Wolves on Sunday.
The Bears lost 73-72 to the Red Wolves in the Farris Center last November.