The UCA men’s basketball team lost two straight games against Northwestern State University 129-102 March 6 and Stephen F. Austin State University 85-61 March 8 to finish the season.
Senior guard LaQuentin Miles scored a career-high 34 points and added 12 rebounds for the Bears (8-21, 5-13 SLC) during Thursday night’s basketball game against the Demons (15-13, 11-60).
Miles’ efforts weren’t enough, however, as NSU pulled away in the second half and ended UCA’s two-game winning streak.
It marked the second game in a row in which Miles scored a new career high. He had 30 points in the 76-69 win over Lamar on March 1 and is the reigning SLC Player of the Week.
Thursday’s high-scoring game saw four different players score in double figures for UCA.
Freshman forward Ethan Lee had 16 points and six rebounds, freshman forward Jalen Jackson had 13 points and junior guard Aubrey Ball had 10.
Senior guard DeShone McClure was held to nine points on 4-11 shooting.
He came into the game averaging 12.9 points per game.One hundred two points is the most UCA has scored since beating Hendrix College 109-59 in the opening game of the season Nov. 12, 2013.
NSU sophomore guard Jalan West led the Demons with 26 points and five assists.
Freshman guard Zikiteran Woodley had 24 points and seven rebounds while senior forward DeQuan Hicks added 12 points.
The Bears took a 52-47 lead into the half, but the Demons got a pair of free throws from senior forward Patrick Robinson to make it 53-52 early in the second half, and never trailed the rest of the game.
NSU shot a better percentage than the Bears from the field, three-pointers and free throws.
The Demons out-rebounded UCA by two rebounds, with a 38-36 advantage.
The Demons had two more steals than the Bears, and each team had four blocks.
UCA committed more turnovers with 18 compared to 15 for Northwestern State
Southland Conference champion Stephen F. Austin (29-2, 18-0 SLC) had to win one more game to finish an undefeated regular season in the SLC, and they did just that with an 85-61 win over the Bears Saturday in Nacogdoches, Texas. Heading into the game, SFA was riding a 25-game winning streak.
McClure and Miles played in their final game for UCA and will no longer be able to call the Farris Center home.
McClure had 21 points against the Lumberjacks, while Miles had 18 points and seven rebounds.
Miles is the more highly regarded of the two, and he talked about what his experience at UCA meant to him along with his future plans.
“It was a blessing the entire time, no matter if things were up or down I’m thankful for everything,” he said. “My next step is the NBA.”
SFA led by 12 at the half, 42-30, and increased their lead throughout the second half, making it was 73-44 game with eight minutes left.
The 29-point lead would be its largest of the game, however, as they would hang on to win by 24.
Sophomore guard Thomas Walkup led the Lumberjacks with 24 points and eight rebounds.
Senior guard Desmond Haymon had 20 points and eight rebounds, while senior guard Deshaunt Walker had 16 points and junior forward Jacob Parker had 12.
SFA held only a one percent advantage in field goals, but they had more rebounds and assists with fewer turnovers than UCA.
They out-rebounded the Bears by 19 and had 10 more assists.
The Lumberjacks will be the No. 1 seed in the Southland Conference tournament, which begins March 12. UCA failed to qualify for the tournament after finishing 11th out of 14 teams in the conference.