Despite matching the Nicholls State University Colonels in turnovers, the Bears could not pull a win in the 71-61 loss Jan. 24 at home.
Following a couple of stagnant possessions by both teams, UCA (0-17, 0-6 Southland Conference) jumped to a 2-0 lead with 18 minutes and 58 seconds left in the first half after freshman guard Jordan Howard made a layup off an assist by freshman guard Thatch Unruh.
NSU (5-11, 2-4 SLC) sophomore forward Ja’Dante Frye hit a layup to tie the game at 2 on an assist by junior guard TJ Carpenter.
The Colonels took the lead on a layup from junior forward Sam McBeath.
Howard missed a 3-pointer for UCA, and Frye made a layup on a fast break off Howard’s miss, bringing the score to 6-2.
NSU’s lead never exceeded four points, as the Bears matched the Colonels bucket-for-bucket.
UCA held the lead for the last time when junior guard Mike Martin hit a 3-pointer with two minutes and 20 seconds left in the first half, bringing the score to 28-25.
Frye hit a layup following Martin’s 3-pointer, bringing the Colonels within one.
The two teams traded baskets for the remainder of the half.
Frye hit a buzzer-beating layup, tying the score at 32 heading into halftime.
Howard led the way for the Bears in the first half, scoring 11 points on three of five shooting from the field.
Freshman guard Mathieu Kamba provided a spark off the bench for UCA, leading all players in rebounds with eight and scoring seven points.
Fyre led the way for the Colonels at the half, scoring 11 points on five of five shooting from the field.
He hit his lone free throw on an and-one attempt.
NSU outshot the Bears from the field, shooting 51.9 percent, while UCA shot 32 percent.
However, the Bears held the advantage at the free-throw line, hitting 14 of 19 shots, which is good for 73.7 percent shooting.
The Colonels hit three of five shots, which is good for 60 percent.
The second half didn’t start well for the Bears, as they quickly fell into a five-point hole after Carpenter and McBeath hit a layup and 3-pointer, respectively.
UCA kept the lead under 10 points for most of the second half, but the Nicholls offense proved to be too much, as it built a 15-point lead, its largest of the game, with 34 seconds left in the game.
The Bears cut the lead down to 10, following a 3-pointer by Howard and a dunk on a fast break by Kamba, bringing the final score to 71-61.
Frye had another strong half, hitting four of six shots and scoring eight points in the half.
He finished the game with 19 points and led all scorers.
NSU freshman guard Quinton Thomas led all scorers in the second half with 12 points, hitting eight of nine shots at the free-throw line.
He finished the game with 17 points and five rebounds.
Carpenter was the final Colonel in double figures, finishing the game with 12 points.
Kamba finished the second half with eight points, shooting three of five from the field.
He finished the game with a double-double, scoring 15 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.
Unruh said he was glad to see Kamba playing great.
“[Kamba] played a great game,” he said. “I was happy to him play as well as he did.”
Howard scored seven points in the second half, bringing his game-total to 18 points.
The Bears and Colonels tied in turnovers with 19, which has been an area of concern.
UCA has also had problems with fouling its opponents, but UCA was fouled more than NSU.
Where the Bears fell behind was their shooting.
They shot 34 percent from the field and 17. 6 percent from behind the 3-point line for the game, while the Colonels shot 54 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3-point land.
Howard said the team couldn’t hit shots when it needed to.
“We haven’t had many nights where shooting was a problem, but some games shots just don’t fall,” Howard said. “That’s when the defense needs to be really good and that’s where we lacked in the second half.”
The Bears will host the Northwestern State University Demons (9-9, 4-3 SLC) at 7 p.m. Feb. 3.