UCA Dominates Pac-12’s California

first_imgBERKELEY, Calif. — The University of Central Arkansas Bears surprised many in the basketball world last month by losing in overtime at No. 20 UCLA . On Wednesday night those same Bears made an even bigger statement with a convincing 96-69 victory over another Pac-12 team, the California Bears at Haas Pavilion.UCA (5-5) completely dominated Cal (3-6) by shooting 22 of 24 at the free-throw line (91.7 percent), 12 of 24 from three-point range and overall 49.2 percent shooting. Defensively, UCA held the home Bears to 38.2 percent shooting and just 23.1 percent from three-point range (3 of 13).Our Bears are better.#BearClawsUp #SouthlandStrong @UCAMBB pic.twitter.com/W0QyUrOzUW— UCAsports.com (@ucasports) December 7, 2017The Bears stunned Cal by running out to a 20-point halftime lead and never looked back.”I really thought the first five minutes of the second half were vital,’ said UCA head coach Russ Pennell. “I told the guys at halftime that the hardest thing to do is to play with a big lead. If you don’t watch it, you’ll play too casual, try things you can’t do, or you’ll play too tight and won’t take advantage of mistakes the other team makes. I told them to make sure you play to what we were doing.”You didn’t have any idea when we started off this game that we’d have a 20-point lead at halftime. So just keep playing the way you’re playing. And I thought they did a really good job of that, showed maturity, did a nice job.’After a slow start _ and a dressing down by Pennell at an early time out _ the Bears dominated the first half, shooting 48.4 percent from the field, holding Cal to just 25.8 percent and took a 45-25 lead to the locker room. UCA was 5 of 10 from three-point range and 10 of 11 from the free-throw line in the opening 20 minutes. Cal was just 1 of 6 from three-point range. Freshman guard DeAndre Jones fed fellow freshman Hayden Koval for an alley-oop dunk with 1:20 remaining, then Jones turned a steal into a layup on the other end with 25 second sleft as UCA closed the half on a 33-13 run.”I felt (early) we weren’t competing and playing hard,’ Pennell said. “And I told them flat out, if you didn’t compete and play hard, you weren’t going to play. And I thought after that, for the most part, when you get that kind of effort, good things are going to happen. And I thought our effort was pretty good at San Francisco, but we went above and beyond tonight. I thought the effort overall was good. And as skilled as we are, when we play hard, we’re going to make a lot of shots.’Cal started quickly in the second half but UCA got three straight baskets by junior Tanner Schmit and the rout was on. The UCA lead reached as much as 35 points before the Bears settled for the 27-point victory.”Tanner Schmit hit a couple of big jumpers and kind of got on a roll their for a second,’ said Pennell. “I think that kind of defeated Cal a little bit and gave our guys confidence. Those baskets were really big early in the second half.’Central Arkansas pummels Cal 96-69 https://t.co/wmXhQxYf8m pic.twitter.com/nmH5aIxcOX— Mercury News (@mercnews) December 7, 2017UCA, which dropped a two-point decision at San Francisco two nights ago, put Cal away by winning the second half 51-44, connecting on seven more three pointers. Senior guard Jordan Howard led the Bears with 26 points, hitting 5 of 10 threes and handing out six assists. Senior Mathieu Kamba had 23 points, was 3 of 4 from three-point range and was a perfect 10 of 10 at the free-throw line. Freshman guard DeAndre Jones added 13 points and six assists. Freshman center Hayden Koval had 7 points, 6 rebounds 3 blocked shots 2 steals and 2 assists. The Bears have now scored 101 and 96 points against its first two Pac-12 opponents, with a trip to Oregon comiing up on Dec. 20.”That’s the way we kind of envision this team,’ said Pennell. “Our depth ought to be one of the best assets we have. A lot of people can’t match that, they can’t go down 10, 11 or 12 guys. I love it when they all assume their role and go in and do what they did, because they can all feel good about the win. You don’t look at the stats, it’s just the exuberance. “I told Coach (Boone), the best sound for a coach is the locker room after a win. That is the best sound in sports, and those guys are pretty happy down there right now.’UCA returns home Saturday for a rematch against the Little Rock Trojans at 7 p.m. at the Farris Center. The Trojans beat the Bears 71-65 last Wednesday in Little Rock.last_img read more

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