Senior point guard Jordan Howard became UCA’s all-time leading scorer in a home loss to Abilene Christian University (13-8, 5-3 SLC) and a road win at New Orleans University (9-10, 6-2 SLC).
His 28 points against ACU on Jan. 20 brought his career point total to 2,158 points, one more than previous leader Clifton Bush, who set the record 25 years before.
Howard said he was upset with the loss, but thankful for how blessed he is to have reached this achievement.
“When I look back on how far I’ve come and how blessed I am to be in this position with all these other great names, it’s amazing,” Howard said. “I definitely appreciate everyone who has helped me get here to this record in any way.”
UCA started the game with field goals from Howard and freshman point guard Deandre Jones to tie the score 5-5.
A three-pointer from ACU gave them a 17-11 advantage at the 12:58 mark of the first half, but UCA clawed back with 7 points and 2 blocks from freshman center Hayden Koval in the first half and 12 points from Howard.
UCA went into halftime only down by 1, 38-37.
The Bears shot 52 percent in the first half, but struggled with 31 percent in the second half.
UCA’s defense allowed 42 points on 55 percent shooting from ACU in the second half.
ACU made a three-pointer to start the second half, and increased their lead 52-44 at the 15:27 mark.
UCA got within two but wouldn’t score for the next 4:41 as ACU increased its lead.
A three-pointer from ACU at 4:40 gave the Wildcats their biggest lead of the game, 68-57.
The Wildcats only increased their lead late, as UCA couldn’t stop the fast-break scoring of ACU. ACU rode momentum to a 80-63 win.
“We were not as locked in on defense last night as we were on Wednesday, and that was the difference,” junior guard Thatch Unruh said.
Howard was the only UCA player to score in double-digits against ACU, putting up 28 points on 10-18 shooting.
UCA had success on the road behind its senior guards Howard and Mathieu Kamba on Jan. 17 as the Bears beat the UNO Privateers 81-57.
Howard led the Bears with 24 points, making 8 of 17 shots while Kamba shot 70% (7-10) and added 23 points for the Bears.
Both Howard and Kamba had 6 rebounds, and freshman point guard DeAndre Jones led the team with 9 rebounds.
UCA controlled the paint, scoring 41 points in the paint, and held the Privateers to a 34.4 shooting percentage, including 18.2 percent from beyond the arc.
“We can be a really good defensive team when we are committed to it and locked in for all 40 minutes of the game,” Unruh said.
The Bears had 10 steals, including 5 from Jones, and had 19 points off of turnovers.
Five early points from Jones gave the Bears an 8-2 lead. UCA continued to attack, and took a 12-4 lead before Howard scored UCA’s next 10 points to go up 22-6 with 12:30 left in the first half.
UNO failed to gain ground, and a dunk from Koval gave UCA its biggest lead of the first half at 36-17.
Both teams traded points and UCA took a 40-23 lead into halftime.
As UNO tried to lower the deficit, the Bears’ free throw percentage sustained the gap.
For the game, the Bears shot 87.5 percent from the free throw line (21-24).
The Privateers never came within 16 points of the Bears, and UCA won the game 81-57.
With UCA’s inconsistent performances from one game to the next, Howard said future success for the team depends on its defense.
“Once we lock in and play defense the way we know we’re capable of, we can be an elite team that can win a conference title,” Howard said.
Photo by Travis Gupton.