Bears an­tic­i­pat­ing hun­grier Tro­jans

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - Sports - CHRIS­TIAN BOUTWELL

The Univer­sity of Cen­tral Arkansas is ex­pect­ing the Univer­sity of Arkansas at Lit­tle Rock’s best shots to­day.

On Nov.

28, the Bears han­dled the Tro­jans 78-65 in Con­way in the schools’ first meet­ing of the sea­son. Lead­ing 33-32 at half­time, UCA (3-5) scored 15 of the sec­ond half’s first 17 points, while UALR (4-5) did it­self no fa­vors, mak­ing 4 of 21 free throws in the loss. “It was prob­a­bly a lit­tle closer game than the fi­nal score,” said UCA Coach Russ Pen­nell. “We had a lit­tle stretch there at the start of the sec­ond half where we ex­tended the game and it kind of helped us get to the fin­ish line. They shot free throws rather poorly. They think they prob­a­bly should’ve cashed in on those.”

To­day’s sec­ond round at 5:30 p.m. at the Jack Stephens Cen­ter in Lit­tle Rock will fea­ture dif­fer­ent line­ups than Game 1.

UALR guard Markquis Now­ell has missed three con­sec­u­tive games with a high an­kle sprain, dat­ing back to the Nov. 28 loss. The 5-8 point guard has re­turned to prac­tice in re­cent days and could re­turn against the Bears.

Now­ell av­er­aged 12 points in six games be­fore his in­jury, the sec­ond-high­est mark on the Tro­jans be­hind red­shirt junior guard Rayjon Tucker’s 20 points per game.

Now­ell or not, the Bears ex­pect UALR to be hun­gry

for re­venge.

“You play some­one a sec­ond time, es­pe­cially when you’re this close to each other, there will be ad­just­ments made on both sides,” Pen­nell said. “But the team that lost comes out the ag­gres­sor. You have to be re­ally mind­ful of that and try to not get knocked out early in the game.”

Bears 6-7 for­ward Eddy Kay­ouloud, who has started three games and had 9

points, 3 re­bounds and 3 as­sists against UALR, is out for to­day’s game be­cause of a vi­o­la­tion of team rules, Pen­nell said.

Kay­ouloud is UCA’s lead­ing scorer with 13.6 points in seven games. The fresh­man’s sus­pen­sion also held him out of UCA’s 86-41 loss at Louisville on Wed­nes­day.

“That sets you back a lit­tle bit,” Pen­nell said. “He’s do­ing what he’s sup­posed to do to get back on the floor.

But young men some­times have to learn that it’s a priv­i­lege to play this game and it’s not a right. When you don’t do what you’re sup­posed to do, there has to be a con­se­quence.”

At Louisville, UCA had no play­ers score 10 or more points in a game for the first time since Dec. 6, 2015. Wed­nes­day was UCA’s low­est-scor­ing game since a 7947 loss at Wis­con­sin on Nov. 11, 2016.

“We prob­a­bly need a lit­tle more of­fense, whether it’s [se­nior guard] Thatch Un­ruh or [sopho­more Mon­de­sir or guard] some­one Matthew like that,” Pen­nell added in Kay­ouloud’s ab­sence. “[Fresh­man guard] Khaleem Ben­nett’s been a pretty good player. He’s still a fresh­man and try­ing to fig­ure it out.”


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