After going undefeated in last week’s matchups, the UCA Bears (8-16, 7-6 SLC) started off the week slow after falling to the Lamar Cardinals (12-12, 6-7 SLC) 74-67 in what was a hard fought battle until the final buzzer. The Bears were able to learn from that matchup though, as they were able to defeat the McNeese State Cowboys (12-12, 7-6 SLC) in their home territory after taking them to overtime to win 82-76.
The UCA Bears faced the Lamar Cardinals at the Montagne Center in Beaumont, Texas on Feb. 5 with the Bears on a hot streak of three wins.
Even with all five of UCA’s starters finishing in double digit points, led by junior guard Rylan Bergersen’s 14 points, the Lamar Cardinals were able to defeat the Bears in what was a close game throughout.
The Bears led the game in three point attempts with 26 compared to Lamar’s 17, but unfortunately for the Bears, theirs were unable to fall, only hitting 7 of them. The Cardinals were able to take advantage of those missed shots by driving to the basket and getting foul calls, shooting 17-25 on their free throws for the game while UCA struggled to get to the line, only shooting eight free throws the whole game
Along with a lack of scoring coming from off the bench and leading the game in turnovers, the Bears were unable to overcome the odds despite fighting hard down the stretch.
Coming off of the tough loss to the Cardinals, the Bears were able to rebound and come back harder with a gritty win in overtime over the McNeese State Cowboys at the H&HP Center in Lake Charles, Louisiana on Feb. 8.
The Bears started this game off hot, shooting 17-33, and went into halftime with a
42-37 lead. The McNeese State Cowboys weren’t going to go down without a fight though as they battled back and played tough defense against the Bears, only allowing them to hit 8 out of their 30 shots in the half.
Like the game against Lamar, the Bears allowed the Cowboys to get to the free throw line often as well, which helped aid them in their comeback to take the game into overtime with the score tied at 70 a piece.
Sophomore guard Eddy Kayouloud got the scoring started off in overtime, hitting two three’s within the first two minutes, and the rest of the team was able to get it going from there, scoring 12 points in the overtime period and securing the win for the Bears 82-76.
Kayouloud thought that neither himself nor the team were able to play to their standard in the game against Lamar, so going into the McNeese State game, he wanted to prove to himself and others that they were a much better team than what they had shown.
“Our standard is play hard, play smart, and play together. Our standards are high because we want to win and be the first seed of the Southland Conference which is going to be tough because of SFA,” Kayouloud said. “There was a tough period with the transition from Coach Pennell to Coach Boone and I wasn’t there mentally. I was there physically but not mentally...we’ve kept building that brotherhood and kept fighting as a family because at the end of the day we’re just playing for each other and fighting for the same goal.”
The UCA Bears hope to continue playing to that standard this week as they play at home against the New Orleans Privateers on Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. and then they will go back on the road to face the Sam Houston State Bearkats on Feb. 15 at 3:30 p.m.