CONWAY -- One University of Central Arkansas fan bellowed a loud warning.
"Don't let him shoot from right there," she shouted repeatedly while sitting near the court.
"Him" was University of New Orleans junior guard Bryson Robinson. "From right there" was where Robinson did plenty of damage Wednesday: from the three-point line.
Robinson burned the Bears for 28 points on nine made three-pointer, but one man wasn't enough to topple the red-hot Bears, who defeated New Orleans 76-71 on Wednesday night at the Farris Center.
"They had to hit some incredible shots just to stay in the game," UCA Coach Russ Pennell said. "They had 19 offensive rebounds. If we had rebounded better it should've been a double-digit win. But we didn't."
The Bears (10-10, 5-2 Southland Conference) have won four games in a row, and joined Sam Houston State and Abilene Christian as the third Southland team with five league victories.
"We're kind of rolling," UCA sophomore center Hayden Koval said.
Other than Robinson, who finished with 15 first-half points by making 5 of 8 three-pointers, New Orleans was ice cold early Wednesday.
The Privateers (9-9, 4-3) started 0 of 10 from the field, and UCA darted off to a superb start.
The Bears opened on a 5-0 run, then nurtured it into a 17-6 lead before the Privateers called a timeout with 13:24 on the clock because nothing was working against the Bears.
On one end, UCA converted on 3 of 6 three-point attempts during its blazing start.
On the other, Robinson caught fire. He cut UCA's lead to 32-28 after hitting a deep three-pointer from the left wing with 4:53 to go in the half.
The Bears, which once led by 11, held a lead for 18:35 of the first half.
New Orleans senior guard Ezekiel Charles made a free throw with 2:27 remaining in the half to tie the game 34-34. UCA held a 38-34 lead at halftime after senior guard Thatch Unruh connected on two buckets in the final 1:47.
"We felt like it should be 10 or 12 [points]," Koval said. "We had to step on it."
If Robinson wasn't scorching the Bears from outside, the rest of New Orleans' offense typically fell flat.
The Privateers struggled finding opportunities near the rim because Koval, a 7-footer, was a problem. He tied his career high with 22 points and tallied a season-high seven blocks.
"When you've got the big fellow batting stuff out of the sky, that gives you a lot of confidence, too," Pennell said.
New Orleans' only offensive threat was the deep ball, although no player other than Robinson made a single one. Robinson finished 9 of 15 from beyond the arc while his teammates missed all 6 of their attempts.
The Privateers made 27 for 74 from the floor (36.5 percent) and shot 13 for 37 (35.1 percent) in the second half.
"If it's in the 30-35 [percent] range, that's really good," Koval said.
UCA held a lead for the entirety of Wednesday's second half, but Robinson never cooled off.
He buried a deep three-pointer with 39 seconds remaining to begin New Orleans' last-chance surge. In the final 10 seconds, he made two more three-pointers, with the last one cutting UCA's lead to 74-71 with two seconds remaining.
Sophomore point guard DeAndre Jones, Koval and Unruh combined to make 5 of 6 free throws in the final 15 seconds to keep New Orleans at a distance.
Unruh scored 15, Jones chipped in 13 and freshman forward Eddy Kayouloud had 10 for the Bears.
CENTRAL ARKANSAS 62, NEW ORLEANS 60
Kamry Orr scored a team-high 20 points, and Hannah Langhi added 11 points and 10 rebounds as the University of Central Arkansas (7-10, 2-5 Southland Conference) held on for a victory over the New Orleans Privateers in New Orleans.
The Sugar Bears used a 7-0 run over a 3:10 span in the first quarter to build a 16-8 lead after Orr hit a three-pointer with 1:33 left in the quarter. Kayla Thomas hit a three-pointer with 5:55 left in the first half to cut the lead to 20-19, but UCA maintained its lead and took a 33-28 lead into the halftime break after a three-pointer by Antonija Bozic.
After Vaquela Pimpton hit one of two free throws to tie the game at 37-37 with 5:29 left in the third quarter, UCA went on another 7-0 run later in the quarter to take a 48-40 lead with 1:38 remaining. Orr's layup with 7:38 left in the game gave the Sugar Bears a 54-45 lead, but the Privateers cut the lead to 54-50 with 4:46 remaining after a Thomas layup.
Orr scored on an old-fashioned three-point play to push the lead to 57-50, but the Privateers fought back to trail 59-58 with 1:36 remaining after an Alyssa Quixley three-pointer. Orr hit a jumper with 49 seconds left to give UCA a 61-58 lead before the game was decided at the free-throw line.
Thomas scored 20 points to lead the Privateers (5-11, 1-6), while Shania Woods had 13 and Quixley finished with 11.
Sports on 01/24/2019
Print Headline: Bears thwart red-hot shooter