Before Saturday's 85-82 victory, University of Central Arkansas Coach Russ Pennell knew he would need help.
With their leading scorer, freshman forward Eddy Kayouloud, suspended for a second consecutive game for violating team rules, a chunk of the Bears' offense needed to come from elsewhere against the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Sophomore point guard DeAndre Jones scored career-high 26 points, bumping his season average to a team-high 14.5 points per game and surpassing Kayouloud's 13.6 points per game. It was Jones' running three-pointer as time expired that clinched UCA's three-point victory over the Trojans at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.
"It just shows a lot about our team," said Jones, who also had a team-high seven assists and was 6-of-10 shooting on three-pointers. "Through the ups, downs, all of that, this was a very intense game. It shows we can grit it out and pull it out."
Jones scored 23 points in UCA's 78-65 victory against the Trojans on Nov. 28 at the Farris Center in Conway. The play of UCA's 5-11, 160-pound point guard has been pivotal against UALR (4-6).
"He's just a good little player," Pennell said. "He's just solid. He doesn't make very many mistakes. He takes advantage of how you play him."
Without Kayouloud, the Bears were without their strongest interior offensive presence.
Sophomore 7-0 center Hayden Koval followed Jones with a season-high 19 points and made 3 of 6 three-pointers. Sophomore guard Matthew Mondesir, who started in place of Kayouloud, added 12 points, one shy of his career high.
Reserve sophomore forward Jared Chatham led all Bears with 6 offensive rebounds and contributed 9 of UCA's 21 bench points.
Pennell said those three made the victory possible.
"They did," Pennell said. "And Jared Chatham off the bench really gave us some good offensive rebounds. He had at least two putbacks. But, yeah, Matthew and Hayden stepped up and pulled up the stuff we were missing with Eddy."
UCA made 12 of 32 three-point attempts, both season-highs.
The Bears (4-5) outrebounded the Trojans 31-25 and scored 23 second-chance points from 16 offensive rebounds.
UCA's aggressive pursuit of offensive rebounds was payback for UALR tagging the Bears with 15 of its own at the Farris Center nearly two weeks ago.
"We really made an effort to rebound the ball in this game," Pennell said. "They hurt us on the glass in Conway. We really wanted to make amends for that."
Sports on 12/10/2018
Print Headline: Sophomore Jones fills void for UCA