Sugar Bears conference title hopes on hold with loss to Lamar

The Sugar Bears basketball team (18-9, 12-4 SLC) picked up a win against the Sam Houston State University Bearkats (11-16, 6-10 SLC) on Feb. 27, but lost to the Lamar University Cardinals (16-11, 11-5) on March 1.

UCA started out slow against SHSU, but hit its stride when it tied up the game 16-16 with 9:32 left in the first half.

After tying the game, it went on a 9-0 run before the Bearkats scored again after a five-minute scoring drought for SHSU.

The Bearkats came back and never let the Sugar Bears force the game to double digits.

The Sugar Bears shot 44 percent from the floor in the first half compared to SHSU shooting 36 percent.

The Bearkats crashed the boards harder, grabbing 16 rebounds, six of them offensive rebounds.

UCA had 14 rebounds and four offensive rebounds.

The score at halftime was 28-21, with the Sugar Bears in the lead.

The second half was a different game and neither team had control until eight seconds left in the game.

SHSU took control with 13:58 left and it was back and forth for the rest of the game.

Senior guard Micah Rice got a layup to go with eight seconds left in the game.

That bucket put UCA up by five points.

A couple of clutch three-pointers by freshman guard Maggie Proffitt also contributed.

The Sugar Bears won 54-49.

There were five ties in the second half of the game as well as seven lead changes throughout the game.

The Bearkats held UCA senior center Courtney Duever to seven points and no points in the second half.

Freshman guard Brianna Mullins scored a game-high 16 points, making six of her nine shots from the field.

Proffitt also made an impact with two three-pointers late in the game, but made all her shots from behind the arc.

Senior night at the Farris Center was March 1 when the Sugar Bears took on the Lamar University Cardinals.

The Cardinals came into the Farris Center off of a recent loss still trying to get the No. 1 for the Southland Conference Tournament.

After scoring the game’s first points, UCA couldn’t get anything going.

With 18:14 left in the first half, Lamar went on an 8-0 run.

The run was stopped by Duever and Proffitt, who made a couple of shots and drained a three-pointer, to bring the Cardinals’ lead down to one.

After a jumper and free throw by Mullins, the Sugar Bears took the lead and kept it the rest of the half.

The score was 25-24 at halftime with UCA leading.

Duever was on pace for a double-double with 12 points and seven rebounds.

Cardinal senior guard Gia Ayers had 12 points, with three being three-pointers.

The Sugar Bears shot 36 percent from the field in the first half but only 14.3 percent from three-point range.

Lamar shot 30 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three-point range.

Both teams pulled down 16 rebounds, but UCA had only 10 turnovers compared to the Cardinals’ 12 turnovers.

The second half went like the first, with neither team gaining much ground on the other.

Then with 13:57 left in the game, the Sugar Bears started to pull ahead.

UCA went on a 7-0 run to get a 41-34 lead. The Sugar Bears took the lead by eight points at one time, and even had a six-point lead with 2:50 left in the game when Lamar started a comeback.

The Cardinals sophomore guard JaMeisha Edwards scored six points with Ayers adding another three to beat UCA 56-53.

The Sugar Bears shot 32.1 percent in the second half while Lamar shot 32.3 percent.

UCA couldn’t get the three-pointers to drop, shooting 12.5 percent from three-point range in the second half and 13.3 percent for the game.

The Sugar Bears got out rebounded by seven rebounds, 45 to 38.

Rice talked about being at the top of the conference, with two games left in the season.

“Nothing changes with us being number one,” she said. “We still have to go out and play hard and smart basketball every night for 40 minutes.”

The last two road games could determine a lot for the top three seeds heading into the Southland Conference Tournament in Katy, Texas.

UCA (12-4) is the No. 1 seed with Stephen F. Austin (17-11, 11-5 SLC) and the Cardinals (11-5 SLC) the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds.

The UCA Sugar Bears play two more games with the first coming against Northwestern State University at 5:30 p.m. on March 6 and the second against SFA in the last game of the regular season at 4 p.m. March 8 in Nacogdoches, Texas.

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