The UCA men’s basketball team (18-16, 10-8 SLC) won their first NCAA Division I postseason tournament game on March 14, in the College Basketball Invitational, 92-90, against Seattle University (20-14, 8-6 WAC) at the Connolly Complex.
This wasn’t the only history made on this night as freshman center Hayden Koval finished the game with six blocks, increasing his season total in blocks to 103. This broke the school’s single season record held by Durrell Nevels since 2007 and also ranks top five in the nation.
Despite coming out on top, the Bears shot only 39 percent from the field and 27 percent from deep in the opening half.
However, UCA was able to stay within one point of the Redhawks by forcing them into nine turnovers in the half.
In the second half, senior guard Jordan Howard scored 18 of his game high 30 points to lead the Bears and take the game into overtime.
In overtime, the Bears shot 71 percent from the field and knocked down big free throws to seal the victory.
The free throw disparity worked in the Bears’ favor in the contests making 16 of their 22 attempts, while the Redhawks made only 12 of 21.
The Bears also created an advantage with their reserves as they led the Redhawks in bench points 16-6.
Along with Howard, the Bears were led by Koval, scoring 17 points and six rebounds to go along with in six blocks. Freshman guard Matthew Mondesir also added 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Seattle University was led by junior guard Richaud Gitttens with 25 points and 11 rebounds, sophomore guard Matej Kavas with 21 points and junior guard Jordan Hill and freshman guard Aaron Menzies both added 19. Hill also tallied 10 assists while coming up one rebound short of a triple double.
This win granted UCA the opportunity to host their first postseason game in the Farris Center, as they will face Jacksonville State University on March 19.
Photo from UCA Sports.