Lions avenge loss to Rattlers, remain in second
FORT SMITH — UAFS kept pace in its quest to win its second consecutive Heartland Conference regular-season title and exacted a little revenge in the process on Saturday at the Stubblefield Center.
Four players scored in double-figures to lead the Lions to an 82-71 conference win against St. Mary’s in front of an announced crowd of 1,268.
It was the second win in a row for the Lions (17-4, 10-3), who opened the two-game homestand with a win against league leader Texas A&M International on Thursday. UAFS avenged its earlier 96-89 loss to St. Mary’s on Dec. 19 at Bill Greehey Arena in San Antonio, Texas.
The win kept UAFS one game behind Texas A&M International (18-5, 11-2), which beat Rogers State 80-73 on Saturday, and added a little cushion to its second-place standing. St. Mary’s (15-6, 8-5) remained in third place and is now two games behind UAFS.
Freshman guard Seth Youngblood made five of UAFS’ seven 3-pointers and finished with 19 points to lead the Lions, who led 39-37 at halftime. Senior guard Jake Toupal made the other two 3-pointers and finished with 17 points. Senior guard Xavier McClish had 12 points – he was 10-for-10 shooting from the free-throw line – and had a team-high four assists. Freshman guard Alex Cooper had 10 points – he was 8-for-9 shooting from the free-throw line.
Friedel, Hatchett set career highs in Wonder Boys’ win
RUSSELLVILLE — Tyler Friedel scored 21 points on a career-high seven three-point baskets, Bobby Hatchett added 20 points with a career-high 14 free-throws, Darrick Little had 18 points with five rebounds, and Kendell Pinkney just missed the double-double with 10 points and nine assists as the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys (13-7, 9-4 GAC) basketball team defeated the Northwestern Oklahoma State Rangers (8-12, 5-9 GAC) 80-68 on Saturday evening in Tucker Coliseum.
Friedel’s seven three-pointers gave him a new career high while Hatchett’s 14-of-15 night at the line broke his previous free-throw record by five.
Tech concluded their three-game home stand with three victories over conference opponents and will hit the road to face Ouachita Baptist on Feb. 13. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Harding hits 15 threes; Johnson scores 36 in win
SEARCY - Harding (11-9, 8-6) made 15 3-pointers and senior Hayden Johnson scored a career-high 36 points as the Bisons defeated Southwestern Oklahoma 89-71 on Saturday in Great American Conference action at Rhodes Field House.
The Bisons swept the season series with Southwestern, who fell to 12-8 overall and 9-5 in the GAC.
Weston Jameson entered the game ranked third in Division II in assist-to-turnover ratio. He scored 14 points, his second-highest total of the season, and added eight rebounds and eight assists with no turnovers. In his last four games, Jameson has 30 assists and two turnovers.
Will Francis and Blake McNair both added 14 points for Harding. Francis led the team with nine rebounds.
The game ended a three-game home stand for Harding, who travels to Arkadelphia to take on Henderson State on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
ECU shoots past Weevils
ADA, Okla. – The East Central Tigers shot 80 percent from the field in the second half and 67 percent overall in the game to hand University of Arkansas at Monticello (15-8, 8-7 GAC) its worst loss of the season in a 78-60 outcome on Saturday.
The Tigers (14-7, 11-4 GAC) made 16-of-20 shots in the second half after making 10-of-19 in the first half. On the other side, UAM shot 35 percent from the field overall to tie its season low.
Senior Brandon Wilson led UAM with 16 points, followed by junio Kenric McCants and junior Sharif Hudson with 10 points each. ECU’s Brandon Lucas led all scorers with 17 points.
The Weevils return to the state of Arkansas for their final five games of the regular season, four of which at Steelman Field House in Monticello. Next up for UAM is Southern Nazarene at home on Feb. 15.
Bears drop home game to Privateers
CONWAY — Despite shooting nearly 54 percent in the second half, the University of Central Arkansas Bears (6-16, 3-8) dropped an 88-79 decision to the New Orleans Privateers(9-10, 6-5 in front of a crowd of 1,646 on Saturday at the Farris Center.
Upcoming for the Bears are road games at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Thursday and Houston Baptist on Saturday.
Late shot lifts WKU past UALR
LITTLE ROCK – A smothering 15-0 run midway through the second half seemed like it was going to be more than enough for the UALR men’s basketball team to defeat WKU at the Jack Stephens Center on Saturday evening. However, the Hilltoppers closed the game on an 18-5 run that was capped by a Trency Jackson 3-pointer as time expired to lift WKU to a 79-78 victory.
With seven minutes to play and a 13-point lead, UALR cooled off as WKU heated up and eventually claimed the win. Jackson’s buzzer-beater capped the Hilltoppers’ comeback that was aided by UALR making just three field goals in the final eight minutes and missing five of eight free throws in the final 44 seconds.
UALR (12-12, 7-5 Sun Belt Conference) had five players score in double figures including Josh Hagins (20), James White (14), Leroy Isler (13), Ben Dillard (11) and Mareik Isom (11), but WKU (16-7, 8-3) made 12 3-point baskets to help narrow the gap.
The Trojans return to action on Thursday at Louisiana, playing the Ragin’ Cajuns at 7:05 p.m.