Oklahoma State 82, Central Arkansas 73
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Curtis Jones waited a full year, watching his teammates compete but unable to help them out, so he was thrilled to finally play his first home game.
Jones scored a career-high 23 points and Cam McGriff had 17 points and seven rebounds to lead Oklahoma State to an 82-73 victory over Central Arkansas on Friday.
Jones, who also had six rebounds, made just his second appearance for the Cowboys after becoming eligible last week, following his transfer from Indiana last year.
"I felt great," said Jones, who scored two points on 1-of-5 shooting in 17 minutes in his Oklahoma State debut on Sunday. "I've been practicing here for a long time, so finally getting out there and getting to play at home, it was great."
Oklahoma State (5-6) snapped a four-game losing streak.
"Winning is really hard," said Cowboys Coach Mike Boynton. "It doesn't matter the opponent or the margin, we enjoy and celebrate wins. But we know we didn't play as well as we need to, with the rest of the season and the teams that are on our schedule, to be able to have continued success."
McGriff scored 2 points on 1-of-8 shooting in Oklahoma State's previous game, a 79-56 loss to Nebraska on Sunday. McGriff, who averaged 16.8 points per game in the team's first 6 games, had scored a combined 16 in the Cowboys' 3 prior games.
"Cam had a great sense of maturity the last two weeks," Boynton said. "Even though he was struggling, had 10 rebounds the other day, and continues to do little things to help his teammates get better."
Hayden Koval scored 21 points and added eight rebounds for UCA (4-8). The Bears, who were playing their fifth consecutive road game, lost their third in a row.
"The thing I wanted to get out of this game was the fight -- I wanted us to fight until the end," said UCA Coach Russ Pennell. "We had a bad lapse in the last two minutes of the first half that put us in a hole. That was a little bit discouraging, but the challenge was to play the second half with everything we had. I thought we did that. I thought we really competed hard, we didn't give in."
Khaleem Bennett's free throw with 4:46 left in the first half gave the Bears a 27-23 lead. After limiting Oklahoma State to 1-of-9 shooting over the previous 8 minutes, UCA was outscored 20-6 the remainder of the half and trailed 43-33 at intermission. It took the Bears more than nine minutes of the second half before they were able to slice the deficit to fewer than eight points.
The Bears pulled to within 67-64 after Thatch Unruh made two free throws to cap a 14-6 run with 5:56 remaining. That was as close as UCA would get. Oklahoma State scored the next eight points over 2 1/2-minute span to restore a double-digit lead and seal the victory.
Unruh and Matthew Mondesir added 10 points apiece for the Bears.
SUN BELT WOMEN
UALR 63, MEMPHIS 60
Kyra Collier led the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with 15 points as the Trojans held off a late Memphis comeback Friday to leave with a seventh consecutive victory over the Tigers and fourth playing in Memphis.
The Trojans started slowly but used their defense to gain control of the game in the first quarter. UALR grabbed six defensive rebounds in the quarter and forced six steals. Sydney Chastain scored 6 of her 9 points in the first quarter on 2 three-pointers.
Collier scored six points in the first four minutes of the second quarter on a fast-break basket, a floater and two free throws. The Trojans scored 19 points in the third quarter before the Tigers outscored them 23-12 in the fourth.
Ronjanae DeGray had 11 points for UALR and Teal Battle added 10. Collier also led UALR with five rebounds, while Chastain and Terrion Moore each had five assists.
BELMONT 74, ARKANSAS STATE 55
Arkansas State University (5-5) saw its four-game winning streak come to an end Friday with a loss to Belmont (7-3) at the Curb Event Center in Nashville, Tenn.
Already leading 33-26 at halftime, Belmont pushed its lead to 40-28 with 6:35 left in the third quarter after a three-pointer by Darby Maggard. ASU got a three-pointer from Starr Taylor to get within 42-33, then got consecutive three-pointers from Payton Tennison and Jada Ford to trail 45-41 with 3:43 left in the quarter.
Akasha Westbrook, who finished with a team-high 17 points, converted a three-point play to cut the lead to 47-44 with 2:40 left in the third, but Belmont responded with a 9-0 run to take control.
Maggard, Ellie Harmeyer and Jenny Roy scored 17 points each to lead Belmont.
Sports on 12/22/2018
Print Headline: Bears can't handle Cowboys on road